Babies swallow a lot of air during the day and this can lead up to symptoms like appetite loss, constipation, constant spit-ups, and a hollow-sounding tummy; the sure signs of bloating.
Sometimes, bloating can also be caused by certain foods in their diets, such as starchy potatoes and dairy products. Here’s a fun fact: Babies burp and fart up to 20 times per day to expel excess gas, and they’re usually a lot happier right after they’ve released a mighty blast of tummy wind.
Why does my baby get bloated?
When crying, suckling, or feeding, air often gets trapped easily inside your baby’s stomach. One of the causes is nursing babies who are improperly latched. For bottle-fed babies, they get bloated easily if they’re feeding too quickly.
Food allergies and intolerances may also cause bloating and discomfort. Due to the absence of gut flora, smaller babies are unable to digest certain groups of food such as dairy products, fruits, and certain green veggies, resulting in uncomfortable bloating and constipation.
Foods to avoid for gassy babies
- Fibre-rich foods like bran and brown rice
- Citrus fruits like lemon, orange, and grapefruit
- Sorbitol-rich fruits like peaches, plums, and berries
- Green veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts
- Starchy foods like potatoes and pasta
- Dairy products like cheese, yoghurt, and cream
- Carbonated and caffeinated beverages like soft drinks, coffee, and chocolate
How do I relieve my baby’s bloating?
1. Make sure your baby latches on properly
The next time you breastfeed your baby, try adjusting their latch so that they don’t swallow as much air when they’re nursing. If your baby needs help latching on properly, you can chat with our experts for some guidance or contact your hospital/confinement centre for assistance.
2. Change your feeding equipment
Generally, your baby should feed for about 20 minutes to an hour before finishing. If you see your baby hastily gulping milk, there’s a high chance that the nipple flow is too large for their age. Swap out the large nipple for a smaller and slower one with soft contours to help prevent your baby from accidentally swallowing excess air.
3. Adjust your feeding position
Don’t feed your baby at a level position because it may actually induce spit-ups and cause your baby to choke. Instead, feed them at an angle. Make sure that your baby’s head is positioned above their stomach to encourage milk flow to the stomach, allowing the gas to rise up to the top.
4. Nurse them before they’re too hungry
By the time your baby cries in hunger, their stomachs are probably already filled with gas, and the crying isn’t going to make it any better. Newborn babies should be fed once every 2-3 hours. Learn to read their early signs of hunger: looking at the nipple with their mouth (rooting), sucking on their fingers, waving or putting their fist in their mouth, smacking their lips, and making sucking motions with their mouth.
5. Burp your baby
One of the best ways for a quick gas relief is to burp your baby after feeding. Don’t burp them in the middle of feeding, however — wait for them to slow down so that the milk can settle in their stomachs. Find a comfortable and suitable position and gently pat on the back until they let out the gas.
There are a few positions for burping your baby: the upright position with your baby against your chest and their chin on your shoulder; the sitting position with your baby in your lap as you support their chin and chest; and the lying position where your baby lies facedown across your knees with you holding their head higher than the stomach.
6. Give them a nice, warm bath
Warm, soothing baths are also effective for relieving gas in babies. With the right mix of herbal ingredients like Schizonepeta and Peppermint, your baby will soon be splashing happily in the water instead of fussing over their gas discomfort.
7. Give your baby a loving massage
Another quick and effective tip for relieving bloating is giving your baby a massage, especially after a warm herbal bath. Lay your baby on their back and gently move their legs in a ‘bicycling’ movement. After that, hold their feet and legs together before gently pressing them towards the abdomen to expel gas.
When should I consult the doctor?
If your baby is bloated and you see blood in their stool, it could be due to an anal fissure (anal tear) or food allergies.
If your baby is extremely fussy and refuses to calm down, it could be colic.
High body temperature
If your baby experiences a high fever along with the bloating, they could be signs of an infection.
All information provided above is for informational purposes only, not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.