Baby Symptoms & Conditions

Gas In Babies

Baby’s suffering from gas? Here’s what to do.

What is gas like for a baby?

All of us have gas in one form or another, and we deal with it either publicly or privately in different ways. Babies, though, aren’t quite as used to handling the buildup of bubbles, and gas can make them pretty uncomfortable.

What could be causing my baby’s gas?

Most of the time, gas buildup is just a normal part of the digestive process. Think of it this way: When your baby is born, his gut is virtually a sterile place. The more he eats, the more he needs to colonize some healthy bacteria in his intestines. And a natural by-product of this is gas. But sometimes gassiness can be the signal of something bigger, whether that’s a food allergy or acid reflux.

When should I take my baby to see the doctor with gas?

If he seems truly uncomfortable (and it’s preventing him from eating or sleeping), talk with your doctor about whether something else might be going on.

What should I do to treat my baby’s gas?

To keep gas from building up in the first place, try feeding your baby in a more upright position (head higher than tummy) and make sure you’re taking the time to burp him regularly. You can also try bicycling his legs (gently move them up and down while he’s lying on his back). Some parents say gripe water (an herbal mixture thought to be antispasmodic) can help ease gas pains, as can over-the-counter gas drops.

By Anita Chandra-Puri, MD, pediatrician with Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group and instructor of clinical pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine