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Like adults, babies also suffer from a problem of wind or gas. Although most of the times the gas expels on its own, sometimes it may get trapped, and can cause extreme discomfort and pain to your little one. But, is it okay for your munchkin to experience something like this at such an early stage? No, it’s not! Your baby will be in trouble, and you need to help him. Here is what you can do to help your baby if he is facing a gas problem.
What Are the Causes of Wind in Infants?
Before we discuss how you can help your baby, it is important to understand why babies suffer from wind. Here are some common causes of wind in babies:
1. Immature Digestive System
Babies have an immature digestive system, which makes it difficult for them to digest the milk they consume and thus it may cause digestive problems like wind, bloating, etc. However, this improves as they grow up.
2. Imbalance of Healthy Bacteria
In babies, the microbiota (bacteria in the gut) is just being established. This microbiota helps in proper digestion. In babies, it is not yet “taken up”, as is in adults, and it undergoes gradual change every couple of months till it sets. As a result, babies are unable to digest milk properly, and hence digestive issues like gas may occur.
3. Overfeeding or Underfeeding
Sometimes, babies may overfeed and sometimes, they may not feed up to their capacity. Both of these conditions may cause excessive wind in babies.
4. A Mother’s Diet
Sometimes, a mother’s diet can cause wind in babies, too. If you eat certain foods that are “gassy”, then your baby also may feel gaseous or bloated. If you consume dairy products, citrus fruits, or certain vegetables, they may make your baby gassy.
5. Infrequent Burping and Aerophagia
If your baby is unable to expel the gas ingested during his feeds, it can cause wind. If the baby is very hungry, and suckles on the breast rapidly without properly latching, a lot of air may enter the stomach. This is call aerophagia, and it can trouble babies at times.
6. Medical Issues
Some medical or surgical issues may be responsible for chronic constipation and difficulty in passing stool and gas. However, such issues rarely take place, and a doctor’s opinion needs to be sought for that.
7. Introduction to Solid Foods
As you make the transition from breast milk to solid foods, sometimes your baby may not adjust well to the changes. These dietary changes in young babies may cause wind.
8. Excessive Crying
Some babies may cry more than others. There are many reasons for the same. However, more crying means taking more air inside, which may cause wind.
Signs and Symptoms of Wind in Babies
Crying is the only resort that babies have to express themselves. But, how will you know if your baby is crying because of trapped wind? Here are some symptoms of trapped wind in babies that may help you understand:
- Your baby is still crying after being fed and changed.
- Your baby’s cries will be more high-pitched than usual.
- Your baby may not feel calm or relaxed after all your efforts.
- Your baby may bend his legs and arms towards his tummy.
- Your baby may clench his fists.
- Your baby’s tummy may appear bloated.
- Your baby may have a flushed or red face when he cries.
- Your baby may pass gas as he cries.
- Your baby may tighten his tummy muscles.
These are some of the symptoms or signs that you can look for in your baby to establish whether he is crying because of gas or not.
How to Help Your Windy Baby
Here are some ways in which you can help your baby suffering from trapped gas or wind:
1. Hold Your Baby in an Upright Position
Hold your baby in an upright position to help him release gas. You can make use of a baby sling, or hold your baby up by supporting his neck and back with your hands. Gentle strokes on the back may help in expelling the gas.
2. Bathe Your Baby with Warm Water
Warm water baths will help ease your baby’s pain and discomfort. A warm water bath may also help in soothing stomach cramps.
3. Burp In-Between the Feeds
One of the most effective tips that work is making your baby burp in-between the feeds. The ideal time to get your baby to burp would be when you switch from one breast to another.
4. Massage the Trouble Spot
Massage a particular spot on your baby’s tummy to help him relieve gas and feel better. Try to massage below your baby’s ribcage in small, circular motions.
5. Try the Frog-Kick Technique
This wind-expelling technique works really well for babies. Help your baby lie down on his back. Now, hold both his legs, and move them in a motion as if he is practicing the breaststroke in a pool. This will help put a little pressure on the tummy area, and help release the trapped gas.
6. Make Your Baby Sit
You can make your baby sit on your lap with his back facing you. Hold your baby from under the chin, while you stroke your baby’s back with the other hand. This is a great technique for wind treatment in babies.
7. Make Your Baby Lie on His Tummy
A little tummy time in a day is also a great way of getting rid of excessive wind. You can make your baby lie on your lap or on the bed. The idea is to put some pressure on the abdominal region for the wind to be expelled.
8. Try the Bicycle Movement
Make your baby lie down on the bed, hold his legs, and move his legs in a way that seems as if he is riding a bicycle. This is a great way of relieving wind. However, do not do this immediately after feeding him.
9. The Bum Sinks
Take your baby in your lap in a sitting position. Take both his feet, and move them up, just a little higher than his bum. This will put some pressure on the abdominal region, and thus help in expelling the gas.
When to Seek a Doctor’s Advice
Colic is defined as episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, and at least 3 weeks in an otherwise healthy child. Although wind in babies seldom becomes troublesome, if your baby seems to be in extreme discomfort or does not calm down after all your attempts, does not feed properly, or experiences trouble in breathing, it is suggested that you seek a doctor’s advice, who will be able to suggest some ways of easing your baby’s pain and discomfort.
1. Do All Babies Suffer from Wind?
It is very normal for babies to suffer from wind. However, it is more common in bottle-fed than in breastfed babies, because bottle feeding babies ingest more air while sucking. Also, breastfed babies are in better control of the flow of milk than the bottle-fed.
2. When Does a Baby Need Burping?
You should ideally burp your baby after every feeding session to let go of any trapped air bubbles. Some people believe that burping in-between the feeds is a great way of preventing a gas problem in babies. However, there are some studies that suggest that moms should wait until the feeding session is over.
3. Which Burping Positions Are the Best?
Some parents swear by burping their babies by taking them in their arms with the baby’s head on their shoulders, and patting their back. There are some parents who believe in burping the baby in a sitting position. You can also put your baby on his tummy to help him burp.
4. Why Does Wind in Babies Cause Pain & Discomfort?
The reason for colic is not fully understood, but it may cause wind or gas build up in a baby’s tummy. The trapped wind causes pressure, bloating, and swelling in the tummy. All of this may lead to extreme discomfort and pain. However, as your baby grows, his digestive system will start functioning effectively, thereby avoiding the problem of trapped gas or wind.
Wind in babies is a very common problem, and you can control it by following some of our above-mentioned suggestions, and talking to your paediatrician when required.