Updated: Aug 12
Gas can be a common problem for little ones, especially newborns. Their digestive systems need some extra time outside the womb to fully develop. Some babies may be very gassy, others may be constipated. Some may spit up a lot, and others may have all of the above.
Gas can cause general fussiness, discomfort, and sleep issues. Don't you have trouble sleeping with an upset stomach? Yep, so do babies. Young babies often need help relieving their gas. Here are my tried and true remedies for helping a little one with tummy troubles.
Lay your baby on his back on a flat, firm surface. The couch, bed, or changing table works well. Sit/stand near his feet. Hold his lower legs gently, one in each hand. Then, push one leg up so that his knee bends and touches his belly, while the other leg is stretched out straight. Repeat with the opposite leg. Alternate legs one at a time, as if he's peddling a bicycle.
Again, lay your baby on his back on a flat, firm surface. Lay your pointer and middle finger on his tummy, just above his belly button. With medium pressure, rub in a clockwise circular motion. Your fingers should make a circle around baby's belly button. For even more relief, you can try doing this tummy massage during or right after a warm bath. The mix of the warmth and the massage will really help get things going!
Babies can take in air while feeding. If that air doesn't come out, it can cause gas pain. Bottle-fed babies are more likely to take in air while sucking, although breastfed babies definitely can as well. To help get the air out, stop feeding periodically and try to do a quick burp before continuing. Your baby may also tell you that he needs a burp by squirming, pulling his legs up, or becoming disinterested in feeding.
Here are a few products I recommend that can help relieve stubborn gas.
The first is the FridaBaby Windi. It deserves all the praise it gets! The Windi is a little hollow tube that you stick into baby's bum. It helps him open up the muscles needed to let the gas (and sometimes more) come out. They work great for baby constipation too. Some pediatricians recommend using the end of a rectal thermometer for the same result. However, what sets the Windi apart is that it has a stopper so you can be sure you aren't inserting it too far. It also has gripping spots to make it a much easier process.
We also used infant gas drops, particularly when it seemed to be affecting sleep and nothing else was working. There are a wide variety of brands out there. We personally wanted something organic and natural, especially for a brand new baby. I used both Wellements Organic Gripe Water and Mommy's Bliss Night Time Gripe Water. Both of these are suitable for newborns. It's a safe way to help them relieve tummy troubles in those first few months when the digestive system is still developing.
If your baby's gas is a persistent problem, you may want to try using a probiotic regularly. Babies have a very young gut and may need some help getting the good stuff in there needed for good digestion. My favorite probiotic is Mary Ruth's Liquid Probiotic for Infants. All Mary Ruth's products are made with only natural ingredients.
Tummy troubles are an unfortunate, but completely normal part of the newborn and young baby phase. Which of the remedies is your favorite to use, or do you have other ones? Comment below to share with other parents!
~Ashley Bell, your pediatric sleep consultant