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Reasons for a Gassy Stomach When Breastfeeding

by
author image Jessica Lietz
Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.
Reasons for a Gassy Stomach When Breastfeeding
Woman breast feeding baby. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Healthy people pass gas as many as 23 times every day, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Breastfeeding mothers who make healthy dietary changes or who use supplements to increase their milk supply sometimes suffer from a gassy stomach as a result of their efforts. Most of the time, flatulence and a gassy stomach are not signs of a serious medical problem and resolve with minor dietary changes.

Supplements

Using certain types of supplements to increase your milk supply, also referred to as galactagogues, can cause you to experience a gassy stomach. Fenugreek taken in tea, capsule or tincture can cause you to experience more flatulence than is typical for you. Fenugreek is commonly taken along with other galactagogues such as blessed thistle to boost the effects on milk production, compared with taking either supplement alone. According to the Kellymom website, these galactagogues are also used as digestive aids to speed digestion; their effects on the digestive system can lead to increased flatulence. Check with your physician before taking any dietary supplements, and ask about any effects the supplements could have on breastfeeding.

Fiber

In your efforts to eat a healthy diet while breastfeeding, increased intake of fiber can lead to a gassy stomach. Many healthy foods, including fruits such as pears, plums and prunes; vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower; legumes; and whole grains such as oats and barley, can cause gas to build up in your stomach as a side effect of the way your digestive system processes all that fiber. You might also notice that your baby passes gas after you nurse him after eating those foods. Slowly increasing your fiber intake and drinking plenty of water can help decrease some of the unpleasant side effects of transitioning to a healthier diet.

Swallowed Air

Sucking on hard candies or chewing gum during a nursing session can lead to excessive amounts of swallowed air, which can pass into your digestive system, leading to a gassy stomach. In addition, consuming carbonated beverages while you nurse can add to the air in your digestive tract, some of which passes in the form of flatulence. Eating or drinking your food quickly, as busy breastfeeding mothers sometimes need to do when caring for their babies, can also cause gas due to extra swallowed air.

Digestive Problems

Certain disorders of the digestive system cause gas pain and excessive flatulence, reports the MayoClinic.com. These conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease and lactose intolerance. Your doctor might suggest dietary changes to eliminate foods that trigger or worsen your intestinal gas, although your doctor should take your nutritional needs while breastfeeding into consideration when recommending significant dietary changes.

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