Having a gassy breastfed baby is THE. WORST.
The problem is that your baby doesn’t know how to pass it. Your baby doesn’t even know what gas pains are! He just knows that it’s uncomfortable, and maybe even painful!
My first baby had horrible gas problems. Because of her gas, I was stressed out and sleep deprived (her gas was so much worse at night).
I’m sure you might be feeling the same, as well as feeling extremely helpless because there’s nothing worse than your baby screaming in pain from gas.
There are so many causes of gas in babies (and we’ll talk about that later).
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For my first baby, it was four things:
- A milk allergy/MSPI (Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance)
I was breastfeeding her, and her body was unable to breakdown the milk and soy proteins that were passing through her tiny body. This equalled horrible, painful gas and a whole bunch of other symptoms including blood in stool.
- An overabundant milk supply
My poor baby was constantly fighting to keep with with my fast flow.
- The introduction of solids
Even though i waited until she was 6 months old to introduce solids because I knew she already had some digestive issues, it was still a horrible experience.
You’ve probably never heard of gas as a symptom of teething, and it’s hard to find evidence of it anywhere other than baby forums, where desperate moms are asking whether or not their baby’s gas could be because of teething. I’m telling you that yes, yes it can. My baby never, NEVER drooled, she literally swallowed all of her extra saliva, which I believe irritated her tummy and gave her excess gas.
So as you can see, I’ve dealt with gas from many different avenues, and for a large part of my child’s babyhood.
So let’s try to figure out the cause of your baby’s gas.
Why Is My Baby So Gassy?
1. Babies have immature digestive systems
Unfortunately, some baby gas is completely normal and inevitable due to your baby’s developing digestive tract which is adjusting to digesting and processing food.
2. Your baby has a milk allergy/MSPI
As I mentioned above, my baby’s main gas issue was caused by the milk and soy proteins in my breastfeeding diet.
If you are concerned that your baby might be dealing with the same intolerance, read all about milk protein allergy in breastfed babies.
3. Excessive crying can lead to more gas
Sometimes baby’s cry, apparently for no reason. When your baby cries, he inevitably swallows a large amount of air simultaneously, therefore becoming more gassy.
My advice: You know your baby. When I told a pediatric gastroenterologist about my baby’s extreme gas and how she screamed because of it, he said, “How do you know it’s not the crying that’s causing the gas?”
I did not agree with him and knew that her excessive fussiness was due to MSPI.
4. Your baby might take in extra air when bottle feeding or breastfeeding
While you are breastfeeding, there are a few things that could cause excess gas.
- A poor latch
If your baby has a poor latch, he will be sucking in air along with breast milk.
A good latch will not allow excessive air to be ingested.
Related: Top Breastfeeding Latch Tips
- Overactive Letdown or Oversupply
If your baby is choking or coughing, especially at the beginning of a feed, you might be dealing with an overactive letdown. Your baby might be struggling to keep up with the fast flow of milk and in turn, is taking in so much air.
An oversupply can cause gas because it causes your baby is getting too much watery foremilk and not enough fatty hindmilk. Make sure that your baby is sufficiently emptying the breast before switching to the other side, or consider block feeding.
5. You’re not burping your baby enough
I know this might sound ridiculous, but it’s not. I remember reading somewhere that breastfed babies don’t need to be burped.
Ha! Due to all of the above reasons, it’s possible that your breastfed baby has inhaled a LOT of air and therefore needs to be burped, and burped well.
Holding your baby in an upright position after feeding can help decrease the amount of burping needed also.
6. You are eating a food that is causing gas in your breastfed baby
Want to know what foods to avoid when breastfeeding for gas?
While it’s not common, there is always the possibility that certain foods in a breastfeeding mother’s diet can be bothersome to baby. The top offenders are:
- dairy products
- cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli
- cabbage and cauliflower
I wouldn’t recommend altering your diet too dramatically unless you are quite sure that a particular food is the culprit.
I clearly remember my baby screaming in a way that she had never screamed before for hours on end right after I ate a large amount of broccoli. I know that the broccoli was the cause, even though I’m sure medical professionals would say that it was unlikely.
Remember, you know your baby better than anyone else!
Check out this post for more an what you should include in your breastfeeding diet in order to maintain your supply, lose weight and alleviate your baby’s gas or colic.
7. You have recently introduced solids
When introducing solids, your baby might again go through a period of adjustment. Alternately, your baby’s system simply might not be ready for solids yet. Don’t worry, the saying “solids before one are just for fun” is true. There’s no need to stress if your baby isn’t ready for solids when he’s “supposed” to be.
According to the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should wait until your baby is 6 months old in order to start with solids.
Once you do start, I could tell you to avoid starting certain solids with your baby because they are “gassier foods”, but the truth is that every baby is different. Butternut squash is supposed to be one of the ideal first foods for baby, but my baby reacted horribly to it.
What I can say is that if your baby seems to have a sensitive digestive system, skip the oatmeal and cereal (it’s not nutritionally necessary anyway!) and start with veggies or fruits.
Dealing With A Gassy Breastfed Baby At Night
Does your baby seem to be gassier at night?
When a baby lays down and is still for such a long period of time, the gas kind of builds up.
The best way to deal with gas at night is to figure out the reason from above, and work on eliminating the issue.
Best sleeping position for gassy baby
If your baby is older (able to roll from belly to back and back to belly), he will probably find it more comfortable to sleep on his tummy.
Gas can more easily escape the body if your baby is on his stomach. However, for younger babies this is of course not recommended.
If you cannot yet put your baby to sleep on his stomach, try holding your baby upright for a while after he falls asleep to see if this will help.
How To Soothe A Gassy Breastfed Baby
There are many breastfed baby gas relief methods and baby gas home remedies. Once again, know that all babies are different, and that what works for one baby might not work for another.
Unfortunately, there is not one best way.
Here are my top suggestions for baby gas relief:
1. The Windii
How creepy/ingenius is this?! But guess what? IT WORKS. I only wish that I had thought of it first. Check out the Windii for a completely natural (and extremely effective) way to relieve your baby’s gas.
2. Baby Probiotics
Your baby’s gut flora can be negatively affected by your amniotic fluid and by passage through the birth canal. If our gut flora isn’t great, then it’s affecting our babies. Probiotics are live bacteria that help to provide a good balance of organisms within our digestive systems.
There are many benefits to probiotics, even for babies.
For my babies, I used Biogaia.
3. Gripe Water For Gas Or Infant Gas Drops
There are many types of gripe water and gas drops out there.
For my first baby, Colic Calm was a miracle. It’s super messy, but I didn’t care. It WORKED. As soon as I gave it to her, I audibly heard the gas bubbles moving through her body and then she would pass it. It was seriously amazing.
For some reason, Colic Calm didn’t seem to work as well for my second child (who also had a milk allergy). For her, Little Remedies Gas Drops worked well.
It might take some trial and error to figure out what will work best for your baby.
4. A Warm Bath, Baby Massage For Gas And Bicycling Baby’s Legs
We employed this nightly routine in order to try to alleviate gas before bed. A warm bath will help to relax your baby, then if can be followed up by a massage on your baby’s tummy and bicycling of your baby’s legs.
This video shows the correct way to massage your baby’s stomach for gas relief:
5. Give Your Baby Extra Tummy Time
Extra tummy time during the day (or right before bed) can provide just the right amount of pressure for gassy babies to get those gas bubbles moving.
I hope this post was helpful! The good news is that as your baby gets older and his digestive system matures, you will have to deal with these gas issues less and less.
If you’re still having issues, a visit with a lactation consultant might be helpful.
Check out the Ultimate Gassy Baby Relief Idea List on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should breastfed babies be gassy?
Due to the immature digestive system of all babies, both formula fed and breastfed, gas is a common issue. Excessive gas in breastfed babies may be caused by many things that can be solved, therefore learning about the causes and solutions is helpful for new parents dealing with this issue.
Can mother’s milk cause gas in baby?
Unfortunately, a mother’s milk can cause gassiness in babies. The most common causes are: food intolerances, overactive letdown and oversupply. The good news is that these issues can be resolved and that babies will outgrow excessive gassiness as their digestive systems mature.
Does swaddling help with gas?
There is no evidence that swaddling helps with gas, but it’s always worth a try. If it seems to help your baby, that’s great! It is likely that swaddling will calm your baby and cause less crying. Less crying could possibly lead to less gas.
Does tummy time help with gas?
Tummy time can be a great gas reliever. The pressure that is caused when your baby is on his tummy just might be enough to get those gas bubbles and trapped air to escape. However, if your baby doesn’t like tummy time, there are other gassy baby solutions.
Do onions cause gas in breastfed babies?
It is probably not likely that onions will cause gas in your breastfed baby, but it is possible. Some pediatricians recommend that nursing mothers limit gas-causing foods such as cruciferous vegetables. If you notice that your baby is exceptionally fussy after you eat onions, they could be the cause.
Does caffeine cause gas in breastfed babies?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), up to 2 cups of coffee is fine while breastfeeding. However, it might be wise to greatly limit your caffeine intake until your baby is around 6 months old and his digestive system has had a chance to mature.