As a parent your number one concern is to keep your child healthy and happy. But this is easier said than done when you have a little one with an underdeveloped digestive system and a bad case of gas. Sometimes, it can get hard to distinguish between the two. Most parents often mistake a bad case of gas for colic. This is when a baby cries for a frequent, prolonged and intense period of time which can be particularly frustrating for parents when they cannot figure out what is wrong. But why do babies do this? It’s often due to their digestive system being underdeveloped. Maybe they are overfed or underfed. It could also be due to an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the digestive tract or food allergies that the parents were not aware of (1). Colic also begins suddenly, with a loud cry that doesn’t seem to end. And although these babies can be fussy, gassy and usually don’t sleep as well as their non-colic counterparts, they grow and gain weight normally (2). But how can you tell if your baby is truly colic or if they are just gassy that day? If you’d like to know more, read on!
How To Tell If Your Baby Is Gassy And What Causes It?
If your baby is arching their back, tooting, and crying sporadically, your little one may have a common case of baby gas. It’s no fun, but thankfully, there are remedies to ease their discomfort rather easily and instantaneously. But the best remedy is prevention so let’s take a look at why your baby is gassy in the first place. You must keep in mind that baby gas is fairly common and can plague even the healthiest of infants. Part of the problem is that babies have a tendency to swallow excess amounts of air while crying, eating and sucking, which happens to be all they do for the first few months. This can cause them to retain gas in their system. Baby gas can also be caused by a lack of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which results in digestion problems. That can happen after a round of antibiotics, or from having a C-section, which limits your baby’s exposure to lactobacillus, the digestion-friendly bacteria that resides in the vaginal canal (3).
How To Differentiate Between Baby Gas And Colic?
While baby colic is linked to digestive issues and baby gas, the difference is linked to the frequency of the formation of gas. If your baby cries for more than three hours at a time for more than three days and doesn’t respond to common baby gas remedies, then they are most probably colic. But if they only cry for a short period of time and stop once the gas has been expelled they are not.
How To Relieve Baby Gas?
1. Pick The Right Foods
This one is so important, especially when you are trying to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet. Be on the lookout for foods that can aggravate baby gas. If your little one doesn’t have enough good bacteria in his gut, he might have a hard time digesting high-fructose fruits or starchy vegetables—like apples, pears, yams, and carrots and that’s something to make a note of (4). You can opt for fruits that are lower in fructose instead. For example, apricots, bananas and peaches. Or less starchy vegetables like baby corn, squash, and spinach.
2. Breastfeed Your Baby
Breast Milk is so integral for the development of your baby. But that is not the only reason why you should opt to breastfeed your baby instead of relying on formulas (unless you have to of course). The proteins in breast milk are easier for your baby to digest compared to the proteins in formula, helping to minimize baby gas. You can take this precautionary measure a step further by avoiding potentially gas-producing foods in your own diet, like dairy products containing lactose. However, if you absolutely have to rely on formula, pick one that is gentle on your baby’s stomach.
Another factor to consider is bottle feeding. Irrespective of whether you use breastmilk or formula, bottle feeding can lead to your baby drinking milk much faster and swallowing more air in the process than they would have if they were breastfeeding. By using a bottle that mimics breastfeeding actions, you’ll eliminate those problems and could reduce baby gas. You can also make sure to burp your baby after every feed to ensure that they have digested their meal.
Making sure your baby is healthy and active at all times can be a taxing and tireless job. After all, anything can set them off and cause issues that keep you and your baby up throughout the night. Baby gas, however, does not have to be one of these things. Now that you know how to avoid it and help your baby through it, they will be right as rain in no time. Happy parenting!