How To Relieve Infant Gas
Simple ways to help alleviate your baby’s gas.
If you’ve ever tried to calm a fussy baby, you likely know there could be a multitude of potential causes for their discomfort—and understand how uncomfortable seeing them in distress can be for you, too. One of the most common causes of fussiness in babies is infant gas. Just like children and adults, our little humans can get baby gas for a range of reasons. Sometimes they swallow too much air while eating or crying, have dietary sensitivities or allergies, or simply still have immature digestive tracts, which are therefore still learning how to process food; just like any learning journey, the road can be bumpy (or, in this case, gassy!) along the way.
Fortunately, chronic infant digestive issues that require serious medical intervention are rare. And many times, you can provide effective infant gas relief from the comfort of your own home. Ahead, we’re sharing how to recognize, treat, and comfort your gassy baby.
How Do You Know If Your Baby Has Gas Pains?
It’s best to start simple when trying to determine if your baby has gas pains. First, try to identify patterns and body language that can help clue you in to the cause of your baby’s fussiness. What may seem like gas may actually be hunger, and vice versa. Crying while passing gas or soon after is a pretty surefire sign they’re having gas pains. If they’re breaking wind or burping excessively, there’s clearly an overabundance of gas. Ditto if they arch their back and look like they’re straining, and/or have a swollen-looking belly long after their last feeding.
Hungry babies, on the other hand, don’t always cry for food. Early cues your baby is hungry may include bringing their hands to their face, puckering their mouth and looking for a nipple (a.k.a. “rooting”), or making sucking sounds and motions. They may also put their fingers or fist in their mouth, flex their hands and limbs, clench their fists over their tummy, or breathe faster.
Once you know what your baby is communicating, it’s easier to take the right plan of action. After all, you wouldn’t want to overfeed a gassy baby, just as you wouldn’t want to deny a hungry baby.
Finally, if you think you can rule out gassiness, hunger, or even an errant environmental discomfort, such as a bunched up piece of clothing, try taking note of the time the fussiness occurs. Oftentimes, babies simply have a fussy time of day (their own little “witching hour”). Once you’re aware of this, it should become easier to prepare for and manage it.
How Do You Get Rid of Gas In a Newborn?
So, you’ve made the determination that you need to provide baby gas relief STAT. Now, how to treat infant gas? Though gas is not a medical condition, most babies experience it temporarily, albeit, sometimes painfully. In most cases, you can give your infant gas relief yourself; however, it’s important to discuss your baby’s symptoms at their next pediatrician appointment. In the meantime, we’re answering some common questions about treating infant gas below.
Does burping help with gas pains?
In short: Yes, burping may help relieve your baby’s gas discomfort. We already know to burp our babies after we feed them. But it may help to up your burping game. Try preemptively burping your baby before feeding them. This ensures you can dislodge any gas that would otherwise become trapped in your baby’s belly as food goes down. Then, give mid-feeding burping a shot, in addition to your post-meal pats. (We should note, however, to be prepared: some babies don’t appreciate the mid-meal interruption.)
Are there any exercises that can help infant gas?
Your baby may not be walking yet, or even crawling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do exercises with them—and help relieve some of that uncomfortable gas in the process. Enter: “The Bicycle” technique. Simply lay your baby down flat on their back, then pump their legs in circular motions, similar to how one would move while bicycling. This simple movement can get gas moving, helping your baby to expel it.
Likewise, a little “tummy time” has been known to help promote infant gas relief. By laying your baby down on their stomach, you're using their weight to put pressure on stubborn gas. As your baby inevitably starts floor-wiggling, the pressure and motion may help move the gas around enough to get it out. Bonus: Tummy time also helps strengthen your baby’s neck and upper body muscles while helping to keep their head from getting flat from laying predominantly on their back.
Do infant gas drops help with gas pain?
This one is our specialty: For generations, Mylicon has been the #1 brand trusted by both parents and pediatricians to safely relieve gas for all infants—even newborns. Our Infants’ Mylicon Gas Relief Dye-Free Formula, the same formula (sans dye) as our time-tested Infants’ Mylicon Gas Drops Original Formula, gently breaks down gas and helps promote your baby’s natural ability to expel it. By relieving the associated pain and discomfort, our infant gas drops may help quell cries and fussiness. They are gentle and effective enough to be used after every feeding, up to 12 times a day. Be sure to keep some on hand so you’re prepared to tackle your baby’s gas as soon as it starts to arise.
Are there any probiotics’ benefits for babies with gas?
Of course, there’s no reason you have to wait until your baby’s belly starts filling with gas to do something about it. If your infant tends to get gassy, be proactive and try introducing daily probiotics, like the new Infant’s Mylicon Daily Probiotic Drops. They promote digestive health and functioning by helping to balance good bacteria in your baby’s gut. Plus, if your infant is colicky, Mylicon’s probiotic drops have been clinically shown to help reduce crying and fussiness associated with colic. Not only could they help with your infant’s gas relief, you may end up with a quieter baby in your arms, too.
How Do You Comfort a Baby With Gas In Other Ways?
Many of us with kids can attest to the power of distraction, especially if your little one is feeling a bit cranky. By using the same techniques experts recommend for calming a fussy baby, you can also help calm a gassy baby.I Here are five of our favorites.
1. Embrace a quiet space: If your baby’s emotions are already running high due to a gassy belly, refocusing or moving them from a busy or loud environment to a quieter space may help. Calm begets calm, after all.
2. Herald in playtime: To both distract and entertain your baby at the same time, try engaging them in play. Be sure to make eye contact when you talk to them, then reach for a favorite rattle or toy. Bright colors, things with black-and-white contrasts, or even showing them their own reflection can all be good distractions from gassiness, too.
3. Repeat, repeat, repeat: Babies are creatures of habit, making a routine a welcomed comfort. Find one that works for your infant, like playing, sleeping, eating, and repeating. In the same vein, repetitive motions can be hypnotically soothing to your baby: rocking or bouncing them gently as you speak or sing softly can be a lullaby in and of itself.
4. Pacify their innate urges: Sucking is one of the first natural instincts infants have—and it’s especially soothing to them—so a pacifier or teething ring may help do the trick.
5. Massage away stress (and gas!): We love simple techniques with multiple benefits. According to the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), massaging has numerous benefits that help promote social, emotional, biological, and behavioral development in babies. It’s been shown to foster baby-parent bonding, boost digestion and circulation, improve mind and body awareness, and promote relaxation and sleep.II Pay attention to cues from your baby to determine how long and how often you can massage your baby’s belly and back. You may even find that giving your baby a massage helps your stress levels and feelings of wellbeing as well.
Next: Learn more about infant massage in our article How To Give Your Baby a Belly Massage.