Gas bubbles are very uncomfortable and often lead to crying and crankiness when your baby burps. Painful burps and gas are not uncommon in babies. In fact, the BabiesToday website notes that more than half of babies experience gas within the first months of life. Although painful gas is not typically dangerous, it interrupts daily activities and affects your baby’s behavior. Check with your pediatrician for the best methods of soothing your baby.
A baby’s crying spells while burping range anywhere from mild to extreme. Besides crying, your baby may also experience crankiness, irritability, coughing and wheezing when trying to burp. Additional symptoms often include curling up, pulling his legs toward his abdomen and spitting up fluid or milk when burping. If symptoms are severe, your baby will sometimes refuse to eat. Symptoms often worsen after a feeding and when you baby lies on his back.
Air sometimes becomes trapped when your baby attempts to burp, causing discomfort and crying. Gas often develops as the bacteria in the large intestine digest food and sugars. Fussiness and crying cause your baby to swallow air, resulting in painful burps. If breastfeeding, gas-producing foods, such as broccoli, cabbage and onions, can contribute to gas and discomfort. Feeding your baby fruit juices also triggers bloating and painful gas. In addition, conditions such as acid reflux, where the acid and stomach contents travel back up into your baby’s throat, result in painful burps.
Burp your baby often, especially while feeding, to release any trapped air bubbles. To soothe painful gas, hold your baby face down over your forearm with his chin resting in your hand and his legs around your elbow. Pat his back to expel gas easier. Alternatively, position your baby on your knees belly-side down. Gently bounce your knees to jostle his tummy around. If you suspect a condition such as acid reflux, keep your baby upright after he eats and thicken his milk with rice cereal if your doctor approves.
Prevent painful burps from reoccurring by feeding your baby smaller meals more frequently. If you are bottle-feeding, check that the nipple isn’t too big, which causes your baby to swallow too quickly. Alternatively, a nipple that is too small contributes to the gulping of air during feedings. Try not to jostle or play with your baby immediately after a feeding to give her stomach time to properly digest food. Do not give your baby cow’s milk until your doctor approves — this can also trigger painful burping and gas.