While gas bubbles in your stomach are nothing more than an annoyance, gas bubbles in your infant's stomach can be painful and upsetting to her. When your baby is fussy after a feeding, gas bubbles due to swallowed air could be the culprit. While you can purchase over-the-counter and completely safe simethicone drops to help relieve bubbles in your baby's digestive tract, natural methods of relief can work as effectively without the need for medication.
Gripe water is a completely natural mixture of herbs, such as fennel and ginger, that are known to settle an upset stomach. Gripe water can be purchased at a drugstore and is typically found near the simethicone drops. While the actual ingredients in gripe water are used to settle an upset stomach, gripe water in and of itself has not been proven as a reliable colic and gas remedy. Still, since it's a natural alternative to simethicone drops, you may be more comfortable trying it to see if it makes a difference in your baby's gas pains.
Your baby's immature digestive system is affected by swallowed air, which becomes trapped in bubble form in your baby's belly. By applying gentle pressure to your baby's abdomen, you can help release some of the bubbles while providing relief from the pain. Place two fingers below your baby's belly button and gently press downward. Avoid pushing so hard that your baby shows obvious discomfort. Hold for three to five seconds and release. Massaging your baby's belly in a downward motion can also help relieve gas pain.
Giving your baby time to burp after a feeding can help remove excess air through the mouth before it's trapped in the digestive system. If your baby is particularly gassy, you may need to burp her several times during one feeding, taking frequent breaks to pat your baby gently on her back until she burps and then restarting feeding. Otherwise, one burping at the end of the meal should be sufficient to help your baby digest formula or breast milk more easily and without pain.
Some of the best ways to get rid of gas pain in babies is to prevent them in the first place. Your feeding methods could be causing excess gas. Anytime your baby cries before or during a feeding, he's swallowing excess air which could cause pains later. Feed when your baby is calm. Babies can also become gassy if the enzymes from gassy foods are transferred through breast milk. Cut gas-inducing foods such as beans and cauliflower from your diet to see if it makes a difference in your baby's comfort after eating.
- "L.A. Times"; Gripe Water is Safe for Babies with Colic, but No Studies Show that it Works; By Chris Woolston; June 20, 2011
- AskDrSears.com: Abdominal Pain
- "Parents"; Baby Gas Pains; Alan Greene
- Pediatrics: Simethicone in the Treatment of Infant Colic: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Trial
- HealthyChildren.org: Abdominal Pains in Infants