Intestinal gas is a common problem in babies due to their immature digestive systems. It is also one of the leading causes of colic in infants (1). Excessive and uncontrollable crying, especially at night, is one of the prominent symptoms that indicate your baby is suffering from a gas problem.
Gas drops are liquid medication used to relieve excess gas and abdominal discomfort in babies. How safe and how effective are these gas drops? Read this post to know all about the use of gas drops for babies.
What Are Gas Drops?
Gas drops are over-the-counter (OTC) liquid medications useful in relieving the excess gas in babies. It contains simethicone, a silicone latex that disperses and prevents gas bubbles from forming in the gastrointestinal tract (2).
How Safe Are Gas Drops For Babies?
As gas drops are available as OTC medication, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review and approve them. However, they are marketed if they comply with applicable regulations and policies (3).
Simethicone, the active ingredient in most gas drops, is non-toxic and is not absorbed by the body. So, it is considered safe for infants and newborns (4). However, it may cause loose stools in some babies (5).
If your baby suffers from severe gas that makes them fussy and irritable, consult your pediatrician promptly.
What Is The Recommended Dose For Babies?
It is best to follow the dosage prescribed by your pediatrician. The standard dosage for children and infants less than two years is 20mg orally four times daily (6).
Here is the dosage chart (3)
|Age (yr)||Weight (lb)||Dose (ml)|
|Infants under two||Under 24||0.3|
|Children over two||Over 24||0.6|
How To Administer Gas Drops For Babies?
Gas drops containing simethicone work best when they are taken after meals or at bedtime. Always use the measuring spoon provided with the medicine to get an accurate measurement.
You can administer the medication orally, with the help of either a spoon or a dropper. Pour the liquid slowly, and aim for the sides of the mouth to prevent choking or spitting.
How Effective Are Gas Drops?
A study conducted on 51 healthy infants aged between two and 12 weeks to prove the efficacy of simethicone in infant colic treatment found that 78% of the infants showed improved or resolved symptoms after one day of treatment using simethicone. In 85%, the same results were obtained after seven days (8).
What Are The Side Effects Of Gas Drops?
Although the side effects are rare, some babies may exhibit the following symptoms when they are allergic to the medication.
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
- Difficulty in breathing (7)
If you notice any of these reactions in your baby, stop using the medicine and seek medical advice.
What Are The Precautions To Be Taken?
It is advisable to take the following precautions while administering gas drops to your baby.
- Always use the measuring spoon provided to ensure you measure the correct dosage.
- If you have mixed the medication with water or baby formula, use it immediately.
- Ensure you do not exceed the standard dose.
- Although it is relatively safe, use the medication only for a limited time as prescribed by your doctor.
- Some gas drop formulations may have harmful additives or flavor agents, which might cause allergic reactions in babies. So, always read the labels carefully before administering the medication.
Are There Any Alternatives To Gas Drops?
If your baby is in the initial stages of gas and colic problems, you could consider trying some alternative remedies to relieve the discomfort.
Probiotics are good bacteria that can help your baby digest food better. A study on 589 infants found that oral supplementation of Lactobacillus reuteri during the first three months of life reduced the onset of colic, gas, and functional constipation (9).
Gently massaging your baby’s tummy or bicycling their legs may help in releasing the trapped gas.
This could be a good way to release any trapped gas in your baby’s tummy while feeding. Make sure to burp your baby after each feeding.
Excess gas and abdominal discomfort can make your baby irritable and cry excessively. If the conventional methods do not provide relief to your baby, it is best to contact your pediatrician and use gas drops.
2. Alex L. Rogovik and Ran D. Goldman; Treating infants’ colic; Canadian Family Physician (2005).
3. Infants Gas Relief Drops – simethicone emulsion; National Institutes of Health
4. Colic and crying – self-care; MedlinePlus – National Institutes of Health
5. Mayo Clinic Q and A: Gas Drops for Fussiness; Mayo Clinic
6. Simethicone; Stat Pearls
7. simethicone; Regents of the University of Michigan
8. Becker et al.; Mylicon drops in the treatment of infant colic; Clinical Therapeutics (1988).
9. Flavia Indrio et al.; Prophylactic Use of a Probiotic in the Prevention of Colic, Regurgitation, and Functional Constipation – A Randomized Clinical Trial; JAMA Pediatrics (2014).