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How to relieve infant gas Ask the Experts

How to relieve infant gas

When my little guy gets fussy, it’s usually because he’s gassy. What are some easy ways to relieve the issue?

A: There are a few things you can try to bring your son relief:

Avoid overfeeding (too frequently or too much). Watch for cues from your baby to indicate if he is hungry or has had enough to eat, and try to wait at least 2 to 21⁄2 hours between feedings. (This interval is typically longer for formula-fed infants.)

Pause to burp. Generally, you should break to burp halfway through a feeding. If you find your kiddo gets very gassy, you may want to burp even more frequently. The gassiness is usually caused by taking in air as he sucks, which often happens to a greater degree when bottle-feeding.

Pedal baby’s legs. Place your baby on his back, bend his legs at the knees, and bring them close to his tummy. Move his legs as though pedaling a bicycle, which can help break up any gas.

Change positions. Positioning him on his left side and gently patting his back will help with digestion. If he falls asleep, be sure to place him on his back when you move him to the crib.

Adjust your diet. If you are nursing, try to eliminate foods from your diet that are known to be potentially irritating to infants. Avoid milk products, caffeine (coffee, soda and tea), spicy foods, or dishes with onions or cabbage, as these foods may cause your baby discomfort. Notice if fussiness decreases within a few days of staying away from these foods.

Give it time. If your little one is formula-fed and you are using a powdered option, try
to let the prepared formula settle before serving, which will reduce the amount of air in the mixture. Make sure the nipple provides a slow flow of formula from the bottle to help reduce the amount of air he swallows.

Be aware of allergies. There is a chance your child could have a food sensitivity or allergy. Be sure to discuss concerns with your pediatrician or nurse practitioner, who might recommend a different formula or medication to alleviate gas. If you decide to use natural remedies or complementary or alternative therapies, involve your care provider as well. 

—Kathy Van Allen, MSN, RN, CPN, board member of the Society of Pediatric Nurses 

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