Does your newborn baby have gas? Probably! We all do, right? Even me, your favorite Fort Collins postpartum doula, get gassy every once and a while (TMI, sorry, not sorry!). Gas is part of life.
As a Fort Collins postpartum doula, one of the things I hear often is about a gassy baby. Gassy babies have a way of freaking out new parents, but I’m here to tell you most of the time it’s just a phase and it’ll get better as your baby grows!
First of all, know this – your gassy baby is completely normal. There is nothing wrong with them practicing their resting bitch face or the grunts they’re probably making. Babies just have to learn how to deal with their gas and quite frankly, they have to learn how to fart.
Gas is very common among babies two weeks to four months old. Their bellies are still developing during this period and their muscles must learn to expel the gas. At around four months, babies’ bellies develop fully and their muscles get strong enough to push out farts and poop, no problem. Soon, this will all be in the distant past.
This learning to be outside of the womb is all part of the 4th trimester. The first three months after your baby is born is the period of time where they still have a lot of growing and developing to do. It’s a hard adjustment period for everyone, and gas is just one part of it. But know this, gas is normal and so are these 4th-trimester pains.
To help you get through this phase, I’ve written this very practical blog just for you – for new parents who are dealing with a gassy baby. Here’s what you need to know:
A note about fussiness
Some babies are just fussy. Sure, gas might make babies uncomfortable but they’re fine. Babies – especially at two and seven weeks – are just fussy. They’re going through big changes at those stages and their fussiness might not even be related to gas.
While it can be hard to listen to, sometimes babies just cry.
What to do if your baby is gassy
If you suspect your baby is dealing with a gassy stomach or a little bit of constipation, here are a few things you can do to help them move things through their little stomachs:
- Bicycle Movements: Lay your baby flat on their backs and rotate their legs as if they are riding a bike. You can also gently push their legs into their stomach, with bent knees. This will help break up the bubbles and help your baby work the gas out.
- Belly Massage: Gently massage your baby’s belly area to help loosen the gas and make their bellies feel better.
- I Love You Baby Massage: Another baby massage technique that works really well is the I Love You Baby Massage. This massage technique can help calm them down and it feels really good for the baby. Watch this video here to learn more.
- Gripe Water: Some parents find gripe water helpful for their babies. It’s worth a try, if your pediatrician gives you the a-okay!
- IYoga Hold and Football Hold – If you’ve tried what feels like everything, try the yoga or football. It will naturally help relieve the gas and your baby will feel so much better. Watch this video.
Gas Prevention Methods
While gas is a very real part of growing babies, there are a few things you can do to try to prevent it. No matter if you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, make sure you do these things:
- Burp, burp, burp that baby! Make sure to be very vigilant about burping the baby, even stopping in the middle of feedings to add an extra burp session in the middle. And if you have a baby that isn’t easy to burp, which can be common with a newborn, try handing them to someone else to burp. Sometimes just the movement of passing baby backing forth can help them burp and move that air out.
- Slow down! If your baby is eating really fast, try to slow the feeding process down by taking breaks and feeding them when they show early feeding cues. If babies are starving or crying that’s when they tend to take in the most air! Pace feed. Adjust the angle if you’re using the bottle. Hold baby upright with the head and neck supported. Hold bottle at a horizontal angle allowing baby to transfer the milk instead of letting the milk just drip into their mouth. Switch sides half way through the bottle with a burp or two in between.
- Eat whatever you want while breastfeeding. In the old school, we limited certain foods that we thought were more likely to cause gas, but there really isn’t a lot of evidence to support cutting out foods from our diets helps with gas. It’s rare, but some babies do have a reaction to dairy which you can work with your doctor to determine, but even then a dairy allergy typically affects baby poo/spit-up more than being a gas issue.
While you can’t prevent all gas, doing your best to prevent it can be helpful.
What to know about colic and constipation
Parents are on high alert these days about colicky babies, rightfully so. It is hard and very real for the families going through it. But know this – not many babies actually have colic. It’s very rare, so there’s a good chance what you’re dealing with isn’t that.
Similarly, it’s very uncommon for babies who have not started solids to get constipated. In fact, their poops are quite runny at this stage. So the grunting and fussiness is not likely to be from constipation, just rather working their package out.
Of course, if you think your child may have colic, constipation, or reflux don’t hesitate to ask your pediatrician about it.
A note from your Fort Collins postpartum doula
As a mom who can relate and your Fort Collins postpartum doula, I’ve been through it all with many babies. You will get through this period. Babies will grow out of this and you’ll be on to new and different things. Just hang in there!!
And as your Fort Collins postpartum doula, I’m always here for you. If you have questions or need help with the fourth-trimester stuff like this, please don’t hesitate to reach out.