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    Infant Gas Relief: How to Treat and Prevent a Bloated Baby Belly

    Updated 26 November 2021 |
    Published 10 May 2019
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Marina Savchenko, MD, Pediatric Neurologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    On average, babies pass gas about 13 to 21 times every day. A bloated baby belly due to gas is therefore quite common and usually doesn’t require any special treatments.

    Gas is particularly common in infants between one and four months, as their digestive systems are still developing. Read on to learn more about infant gas relief and effective ways to relieve gas.

    Why do babies get bloated bellies?

    Many things can result in a gassy baby. Infants often swallow air when they’re crying, sucking a pacifier, and eating (whether milk comes from a bottle or a breast).

    Babies can become gassy if they swallow excessive air in the wrong feeding position, if they eat too much, or if they’re constipated. Newborn babies may also have allergies or intolerances to ingredients in formula or breast milk, leading to gas. Furthermore, infants’ digestive systems are still developing and learning to effectively process food, stool, and gas. 

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    Foods that make breastfed babies gassy

    If you’re breastfeeding, certain gas-inducing foods that you eat may also make your baby gassy. Some foods that can make breastfed babies gassy include: 

    • Foods rich in fiber, particularly any food that contains bran
    • Fruits such as apricots, peaches, prunes, pears, and plums
    • Citrus fruits
    • Green vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, and cabbage
    • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and cauliflower
    • Other starchy foods such as corn and pasta
    • Dairy products
    • Chocolate, carbonated beverages, and caffeine

    Effective positions to relieve gas

    One of the ways to relieve infant gas is to try holding your baby in different positions. Burping babies helps remove some of the air that babies swallow when eating. Try to use different positions while burping that feel comfortable for both of you. Try one of these three positions to relieve gas:

    • Sit upright and hold your infant against your chest. In this position, your baby’s chin will be on your shoulder while you support them with your hand. Gently pat your baby on the back.
    • Hold your infant sitting up across your knee or in your lap. In this position, you will be gently supporting your baby’s head and chest by holding their chin. With the heel of your hand on your baby’s chest, be careful to hold your baby’s chin and not their throat. With your other hand, pat your baby’s back gently.
    • Lay your baby face down on your lap. In this position, support your baby’s head and ensure that it’s higher than their chest. Pat their back gently.

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    Tips to help your gassy baby feel better

    Gas can affect both bottle-fed and breastfed babies equally. A frequently gassy baby is usually no cause for concern and quite normal. You can follow certain tips to help relieve your infant’s gas and make them feel better. 

    1. Change your equipment

    If your baby is gassy from bottle-feeding, it might help to try a different kind of nipple and bottle combination. Soft nipples, which contour along your baby’s lips and mouth, can help prevent the accident flow of excess air when your baby is drinking.

    Furthermore, the milk should be able to flow slowly and gradually so the baby has enough time to drink without gulping it excessively. While bottle-feeding, it’s best for babies to take between 20 minutes and one hour to finish eating.

    If they finish in five minutes, they are gulping too quickly and swallowing excess air. In cases like these, the nipple flow is probably too large for their age. Try switching to a nipple with a slower flow. 

    2. Adjust the feeding position

    While bottle-feeding or nursing your infant, adjust their feeding position to prevent a bloated baby belly. Keep their head higher than their stomach.

    This position helps the milk move to the bottom of the stomach and the air to the top, which helps the baby burp. You can also use a nursing pillow to provide support and tip the nursing bottle slightly up so that there are no air bubbles in the nipple. 

    3. Burp your baby

    One of the best ways to provide gas relief is to burp your baby as they nurse and after. Instead of burping them while they are feeding, though, wait for them to take a break or slow down.

    Otherwise, they may get upset, cry, and swallow more air in the process. Use the burping position that is most comfortable for them.  

    Massage might also be helpful in relieving gas in your baby.

    4. Be careful about foods

    To provide your infant with gas relief, talk to their doctor about foods that may cause extra gas. Some fruit juices contain sorbitols or sugar alcohols that babies can’t absorb, causing gas. The doctor will also make sure your baby is getting all the essential nutrients they need. 

    If you are breastfeeding, foods you’ve eaten can also cause your baby to be gassy. If you give your baby formula, you can try switching brands. Some brands claim to prevent gas.

    Reasons to call a doctor

    Most of the time, it’s normal for an infant to have gas and it’s treatable. In rare instances, more serious problems of the digestive tract can also cause gas. You should contact the doctor immediately if your infant exhibits any of the following:

    • They are vomiting, aren’t passing stools, or have blood in their stools.
    • They are extremely fussy. If you aren’t able to calm your baby, a doctor can check to rule out any problems.
    • They have a high temperature. If the rectal temperature of your baby is 100.4 F ( 38 °C) or more, make sure a doctor rules out an infection. If your baby is younger than three months and has a fever, take them to a doctor immediately.

    It is very common for babies to become gassy, and there are a number of reasons for that. Babies swallow air while crying, sucking a pacifier, and eating. Furthermore, babies’ digestive systems are still developing, which can sometimes lead to gas and a bloated belly. A gassy baby may belch, burp, pass gas, and have a hard distended tummy. You can follow certain tips to help relieve gas and make your baby feel better. In rare instances, certain symptoms may indicate a more serious problem. If your baby is experiencing gas along with other, more serious symptoms, get them checked by a doctor.

    History of updates

    Current version (26 November 2021)

    Reviewed by Marina Savchenko, MD, Pediatric Neurologist, Medical Consultant at Flo

    Published (10 May 2019)

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