Is your baby crying uncontrollably because of gassy pain? Are you worried if your baby has colic?
You are not alone. In fact, experts say that colic happens in all babies. But, the only difference is that some babies are diagnosed with “colic” based on to which degree they cry.
About 20% to 25% of babies meet the criteria to be dubbed as colic or gassy newborn.
Though having a gassy baby is common, the exact cause of colic is still unknown. Gas buildup in babies can be annoying, uncomfortable, and painful. Sometimes, it may cause sleepless nights and disrupted feeding schedules.
It is then important to know how to spot a colic baby.
Everyone has experienced having tummy gas and, you know it’s infuriating and irritable. Can you imagine how it feels for babies? Well, here are the signs of a gassy infant and how to provide comfort.
Baby gas is painful and irritable. You will note that your baby has colic if he or she cries more than three hours each day, more than three days a week, for about three weeks or more.
If your baby has intense crying bouts, it is a baby gas pain. Sometimes, the crying happens at the same time every day. It usually occurs in the late afternoon or early in the evening, but can occur around the clock.
The crying seems to happen for no reason at all, not due to hunger or a soiled diaper. For most new parents, the inconsolable crying is one thing that makes them worry about their babies. Often, they end up screaming in pain.
But take note, baby gas isn’t the cause of colic, but it’s a symptom, which is due to excessive crying.
Pull Up Legs Toward the Tummy
One distinct sign of babies’ gas pain is when they pull up their legs toward the tummy. At the same time, they may frequently pass gas.
It is normal for infants to pass gas for the first three months of life as their intestines are maturing. For normal babies, they can pass gas around 13 to 21 times per day.
Gas can enter their digestive system through various sources. These include swallowing air while crying and the normal digestion of milk nutrients.
But, an excessive amount of gas may be due to certain factors such as reflux or colic. Thus, it’s important to note if your baby is passing excessive amounts of gas for prolonged periods.
Most colicky or gassy babies experience frequent hiccups. Usually, hiccups occur when the diaphragm becomes irritated. This is the muscle located above the stomach.
There are many factors that may cause irritation of the diaphragm. These include drinking excessive amounts of formula or breast milk without burping and sucking too fast during feedings. Both situations may cause gas to form in the stomach, causing it to expand and push up.
Colicky babies may appear to be in distress during their bouts. Hence, they may clench their fists because of discomfort.
Excessive fussiness is also a sign of colic. If you notice your child be irritable most of the time, he or she has colic pain.
The good thing is, colic is not that serious, as its severity may decrease as the baby’s digestive system matures. In fact, colic ends at around 3 months for 50% of cases and at 9 months for 90% of cases.
Aside from clenched fists, your baby may have a red face and may squirm after feeding. Most babies with colic may manifest bodily tension, including stiffened arms and legs, arched back and a tense abdomen.
Distended and Bloated Abdomen
A bloated abdomen is due to the buildup of gas in the abdomen. When the baby has distended abdomen, gas is trapped in the intestines, leading to pressure accumulation.
The baby’s digestive system is still immature, and it’s unable to cope effectively with feeding and digestion. As a result, they may have gas buildup and painful cramps.
How to Deal with a Gassy Baby?
The gas buildup is painful and annoying. You can help prevent gas formation by feeding the baby before he or she cries. It’s a cue that your baby is too hungry to wait any longer.
Feeding your baby properly can make the difference. Do not let the baby feed to quickly because rapid feeding boosts the intake of air.
When you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, keep the infant’s head higher than the stomach. This way, the milk goes to the bottom of the stomach as air is pushed to the top. Remember to burp your baby every after feeding.
In some cases, if the baby already has gas buildup, provide baby gas relief. Massage your baby by pumping his or her legs back and forth. The motion mimics that of riding a bike. You can also let your baby lie on his or her stomach.
While there currently seems to be no inherent harm of having baby gas, some cases may give your baby a hard time. You can break the gas by giving baby gas drops.
These are orally administered liquid medication intended to relieve gas discomfort. It works by breaking up the gas in the gut, making it easier for the baby to pass it. The gas drops can also provide relief and reduce pain.
Lastly, calming a fussy baby is also important. You can carry your baby and console him or her during a crying bout. This way, the baby will feel calm and comfortable.
Baby Gas is Normal but Can Cause Discomfort
Baby gas is normal since the baby’s gut is still developing. Though it may not cause long-term health problems, having a gassy baby means sleepless nights, endless crying, and pain.
For new parents, baby gas can be worrisome, especially since their babies may cry intensely throughout the day. But, you can help your baby prevent gas formation by good and proper feeding practices.
If you want to learn more about babies and how to deal with discomforts, read our blog.