Gas is something which affects all human beings, but it seems to be an especially large part of the lives of many infants and newborns. Because the gastrointestinal system of babies is not fully prepared for food of any kind, many infants experience side effects of milk, solids, or formula. Infants may pull their legs to their chest and grunt until they are red in the face for hours, trying to pass the gas which is causing them pain and as a parent, you may feel helpless. However, there are some things that can be done to alleviate the painful gas felt by some infants.

Dietary Changes
Both what the mother and infant consume can affect the child's digestive system, so paying close attention to the diets of both mother and child can act as a preventative measure against painful gas.

If breastfeeding:

  • Good! Breast milk was made just for babies and their stomachs can handle this better than anything else you could feed them.
  • However, what the mother eats can have an effect on babies. Limit the dairy products such as milk, cheese, ice cream, and sour cream. The mother's milk is flavored and influenced by what she eats, so eating milk products will pass some lactose onto your child, whose tummy is unable to handle that as a newborn.
  • Also limit any spicy foods, unless it's specifically part of the mother's diet and she ate that kind of food all throughout pregnancy. Major changes in the diet of the mother can have a huge effect on the baby; anything the mom eats, the baby must digest it as well.
If bottle-feeding:
  • If possible (and it's not always possible), feed the child the mother's breast milk, as this was tailor-made for the baby and can be nearly 100% consumed by the infant's body with very little byproducts or waste.
If doing anything else:
  • Yikes! You should stop that right away. The little tummies aren't made to handle solids, or anything that's not mommy's milk.
The steps listed above are not hard and fast rules, but rather guidelines on what steps to take to eliminate the gas. Some infants can handle lactose just fine, but it is a common cause of gas in babies. The number one thing you can do is to be aware of what the mother is eating and how it affects your child.

The Bicycle: Grab hold of your babies calves or lower legs and move the legs in a circular pumping motion toward the baby's chest, then away, with legs alternating. So when one leg is up near the child's chest, the other is extended in a natural position. Doing this for a red-faced, pushing baby may immediately cause them to feel better and smile at you, even if only temporarily. To see this exercise in action, please view the video below:

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I Love U: To do this exercise lay the baby flat on his or her back and use your right hand. First, place your hand on the upper right side of the stomach, just below the ribs and apply light pressure, moving straight down toward the lower abdomen. That's the "I".

Then, put your hand on the upper left corner of the stomach, straight across from where it was for the previous stroke, and move across the top of the stomach, to the position of the previous stroke, then move straight down, mimicking the "I" stroke. This is the "L" in Love.

Now, place your hand on the bottom left part of your baby's stomach and move it straight upward, applying gentle pressure until you reach just below the ribs, where you started the previous stroke. From, there, you continue across and then down, just like the "L" stroke. What you just completed was the "U".

Continue doing this exercise several times to aid your baby's digestive system. For an example, see the video below:

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The Drop: Stand up and hold your baby with 1 hand under the bottom and another across his or her abdomen, gently applying pressure there. The baby should be upright and facing outward. Now right up on your toes then drop straight down to your heels, causing your baby to drop down as well.

Laying Child on Stomach: Sometimes the simple act of putting the baby on his or her stomach is enough to help lessen the pains of gas and help it come out. Nothing special needs to be done here, just don't leave the baby there too long, or he or she will begin fussing.