Burp more often
- If nursing, burp the baby between breasts or more often. If the baby seems to be swallowing a lot of milk quickly, consider taking a break to burp after the first 5 minutes or so.
- If bottle feeding, take a break to burp every ounce or so.
- Little hint: if your baby screams every time you take the breast away and try to burp him, try burping him with a pacifier in a forward leaning position, holding the pacifier in his mouth.
Baby Body Movement
- Gas often doesn’t seem like a problem until afternoon, evening, or– worst of all–middle of the night. Gas builds up throughout the day, but the baby is happy, wiggly, and distracted and it may not seem to bother them. You don’t notice little grunts and groans because you’re awake and happy to help your baby with the bubble. As night begins to fall, baby and parents become exhausted and desperate for sleep. Baby is trying to sleep and the gas is waking him up. How horrible must that be to be awoken from a much needed sleep with a stabbing gas pain?
The problem is, when the gas attacks occur, this is often the worst time to try to help the baby get the gas bubbles out. Baby is crying and bearing down, so he becomes rigid and tense. It can sometimes be helpful to preemptively move the gas before the gas attacks occur.
Early to mid-afternoon is a great time to:
- Give baby a warm bath.
- Massage his belly with coconut oil or lotion (clockwise).
- Do the knee-to-belly maneuver, pushing his bent legs up so that his knees reach his torso. This works really well to make baby fart but doesn’t work well if baby is upset or has recently eaten.
- Allow the baby to stretch out wide in your hands. Try not to restrict your baby’s movement as they wiggle around in space, but safely support them in whatever they are trying to do.
- Give baby tummy pressure with tummy time or skin-to-skin tummy time on your chest, laying on his tummy across your knees or across your forearm.
Consider that baby may be overeating themselves a little.
Sometimes babies are gassy because they are simply stuffed. This is confusing, because babies seem to want to eat more when they are gassy, but then pop on and off and cry. This is often because baby wants to suck but doesn’t want milk. Non-nutritive sucking time is usually a part of breastfeeding, but babies who nurse on boobs who make a lot of milk may not get the opportunity to have non-nutritive sucking time. If this is the case, a pacifier is a great tool to use intermittently throughout and after nursing. Babies can overstuff themselves with milk, especially if they’re drinking faster than their brains can register that their stomachs are full.
- Mylicon, Gripe Water, Probiotics, Happy Tummies, The Windy, etc., etc. Since all babies are gassy, baby gas treatment is a big business. Maybe they work and maybe they don’t. Most of them are benign enough that they are worth a try.
I will mention that if your baby has had any antibiotics since birth, probiotics are helpful to build baby’s good intestinal gut flora that was interrupted by antibiotic treatment.
Maybe adjust the lactating parent’s diet.
And I do mean at the end of the list after you have tried everything else–you can consider removing things from your diet. Food elimination diets fall at the top of most breastfeeding troubleshooting lists, which frustrates me to no end. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that cutting certain foods out of your diet isn’t sometimes necessary.
For some babies, it can be exactly what they need. But undergoing a major diet change during a very exhausting and frustrating time in your life can be excessively stressful for the breastfeeding family, especially the lactating parent and deserves specialized education and support.