What is gas, how is it caused?
Here comes a new chapter in your life; although not really romantic, it’s definitely a part of your incredible journey. Therefore it’s time to learn some useful information about it. Gas is a part of the digestion process and all babies experience gas problem, some more some less. The food itself is the main cause of gas pain. Especially when solids are introduced to babies and when they are trying new foods, they may react as their intestines haven't matured yet and this causes gas pain. As babies grow, their intestines mature and their mobility improves, the gas problem goes away.
Another side of the issue relates to breastfeeding. Breastfed babies swallow air rapidly while being breastfed and bottle-fed and it leads to tummy problems. This is observed more frequently in case of bottle-feeding. While feeding your baby with a bottle, ensure that you use a bottle nipple that is suitable for your baby. Hold your baby at 45 degree angle and when tilting the bottle make sure there is no air left on the nipple. Don't let your baby to swallow from an empty bottle and if you think she gulps air, burp her more often in between feedings.
According to some experts, babies who walk around with foods, babies who eat while playing or watching TV have more gas problems. According to this theory, children who eat and swallow rapidly in the excitement of the game may be gulping more air and this may lead to digestion problems. It is better to try to convince your child to sit on the feeding chair or at the table with you while eating.
What foods could be causing gas?
Babies can be extra gassy after eating certain vegetables that are at the same time healthy like chickpeas, dried beans, leek, broccoli, cauliflower and dry foods. Putting the gas issue aside, it is great that your baby eats these! You should be thankful but just make sure that you don't overload your baby with too many gas-inducing veggies meal after meal. Always throw away the water you use to soak these legumes and wash them with plenty of water afterwards. Here comes a very simple but useful tip to make life easier for you and your baby: Adding one spoon of cumin or nut meg to your food will help degassing. Just remember that there is a simple solution for almost everything in life; you just have to learn about it! This little advice of wisdom may also become your motto for life. See how a beauty is born from the harsh world of gas?
Let’s continue with handy tips and clues to make the day even brighter… Please note that drinking more than glass of fruit juice a day may bring on gas because some babies may have difficulty in digesting high amounts of fructose and sucrose existing in juices. This is also bad for the teeth. Therefore it is important that your little gourmet does not drink more than 120 ml fruit juice a day.
Modern approach states that the diet of breastfeeding mother will not affect the baby. However if you suspect that any food you eat affects your child, just do not hesitate to eliminate it from your diet. Your baby may be more sensitive to foods than others and doctor opinions on this issue vary as well like it does in all matters.
What should I do to ease gas pain?
If your baby has gas pain, try to remember what he had eaten during the last few hours. Most probably the reason for the gas pain is related to the meal that she has eaten. Some babies may be more sensitive to pulpy and oily foods. In such cases it may be useful to make a list of the foods she eats and track the gas condition by limiting the suspicious foods. Don't forget that “time” is the most effective treatment for the gas pain. As your baby grows older, her digestive system will mature and the problem will finally go away.
A lot of mothers believe that some herbal teas like fennel, aniseed tea relieve the gas pain. Herbal medicines like Simeticon drops and gripe water are used for gas pain in babies for many years. However there is no serious data supporting these. It is also said regarding breastfed babies less than 6 months that any food other than milk may spoil intestine flora and create an environment that is susceptible to more diseases in the future. Thus consult your doctor before trying any treatment method. And don't forget that eliminating the causes of gas is much more important than resolving symptoms.
Also it is known that laying the baby on her back and gently moving her feet in a bicycling motion and rubbing the baby's tummy in clockwise direction definitely helps to release gas.
When should I consult the doctor?
Don't neglect to consult your doctor in following cases;
If your baby lets out gas more intensely, releasing odor that is worse than normal and if the baby's intestinal movements, in other words baby's poop is less, you may consider constipation. Ensure that your baby is drinking enough water.
If your baby has gas pain and tummy ache, you may consider food allergy or lactose intolerance. If there is any accompanying symptom like vomiting, you must let you doctor know about it as well.
What is gas, how is it caused?