Gassy Baby? Symptoms And Remedies For Relief

Gassy Baby? Symptoms And Remedies For Relief

Worried About Your Gassy Baby?

It’s not uncommon for a mother to worry about her baby being gassy or windy.

She might be concerned that she’s eaten something that has upset her baby.

Or perhaps, she might think her baby has a food sensitivity, a tongue and/or lip tie, reflux, lactose overload or lactose intolerance.

The good news is that most of the time, a baby’s gassiness usually doesn’t indicate a problem.

It typically passes as his digestive system matures and he’s able to move better.

So, what are the symptoms which can make a mother worry about her baby being gassy, and what are some remedies for gassiness?

Symptoms Of Gassiness

There are various signs and symptoms commonly attributed to a gassy or windy baby. For example, gassy babies might have periods where they:

  • Bring their legs up to their chest
  • Arch their back
  • Make facial grimaces
  • Go red in the face
  • Hiccup
  • Pass wind
  • Cry a lot
  • Not settle to sleep (at least on their own)
  • Make grunting noises
  • Spit up breastmilk/formula

Often, when babies show many of the above signs they can be quite unsettled and such unsettled periods can be a stressful and exhausting time.

For young babies, one or two unsettled periods every 24 hours are common. Provided there is no apparent cause for the signs (see below), your baby is content most of the time and is growing well, these signs will likely disappear as your baby matures – often around the 3-4 month mark.

Possible Causes Of Gassiness

If you feel your baby is very gassy, you may have heard about the following being possible causes:

  • If you have an abundant milk supply, it’s possible your baby may be drinking very large volumes of breastmilk and this might cause him to be extra gassy. You can read more about oversupply and ways to help. Quite often, if you have an abundant supply, you may also have an overactive let-down reflex which could contribute too. Find out more about an overactive let-down reflex.
  • Food sensitivity. Most babies don’t have a food sensitivity but a baby who does may be very gassy. You can read more about a common food sensitivity here.
  • Reflux – It’s quite common for reflux to be blamed for gassy babies. You can read more about reflux here.
  • Lactose intolerance. Sometimes, it might be said that a gassy baby has lactose intolerance. You can read more about lactose intolerance here.
  • Tongue and/or lip tie. A relatively new idea called Aerophagia Induced Reflux (AIR) has been suggested to occur due to a baby with a tongue and/or lip tie swallowing excess air while feeding. The theory is that intestinal bloating due to AIR may contribute to signs commonly attributed to a gassy baby. A couple of case studies and a retrospective study by providers of tongue and lip tie release are currently the best available evidence there is for AIR. In terms of the hierarchy of evidence, case studies and retrospective studies are low quality.
  • Gassy foods. Anecdotally, some mothers feel that when they eat certain foods, it causes their baby to be gassier. While certain foods may occasionally bother individual babies, there is no list of foods that every breastfeeding mother should avoid. Most babies are just fine with any food their mother eats. So, there’s no reason you need to avoid any food unless you notice it causes an obvious reaction in your baby every time you consume it.
  • Formula feeding. Formula feeding tends to contribute to more gassiness and digestive troubles for babies because it’s not specific to human babies.

So, what are some simple remedies that can help your baby’s gassiness?

Remedies For Gassiness

Caring for a gassy baby can be stressful and exhausting. Here are some remedies that can help:

  • Wear your baby. The gentle movement and closeness to you mean that wearing your baby can help reduce or even cease your baby’s gassiness signs. Wearing your baby in a sling or baby carrier reduces crying. Research has shown that carrying babies reduces their crying.
  • For the majority of babies, time is the most effective treatment for gassiness. If you cannot find an apparent cause for your baby’s gassiness, time is probably all that is needed.
  • Co-sleeping. Many mothers find that sharing a bed with their baby helps them both get more sleep and settle their baby’s gassiness signs. Some mothers worry if co-sleeping is safe though. You can read more about co-sleeping here and here.

It may be suggested to try various herbal remedies or give water to your gassy baby. Before you do this however, you may like to read our articles, 7 Things To Avoid Putting In Your Baby’s Bottle and Does My Baby Need Water? What You Need To Know.

If you are worried about your baby’s gassiness, it’s a good idea to seek help and advice from a qualified health care professional.

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Renee Kam is a mother of two daughters, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a physiotherapist, author of 'The Newborn Baby Manual' and an Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor. In her spare time, Renee enjoys spending time with family and friends, horse riding, running and reading.

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