What to do for a gassy baby?
A really common question for mamas is, “My baby is crying with gas pains. What can I do?” And it’s one my favorite things to talk about because there’s so much you CAN do!
These are my top tips/tricks. And not all of them are herbal but easy things you can do right away!
First thing I like to start with is lightly massage the belly rubbing in a clockwise motion. You start at the bottom right corner of the belly working around to the bottom left corner of the belly. If you look at the anatomy you’re following the large intestine. You go almost to the ribs and finish down below the belly button toward the diaper. Wiggling your fingers while you go can help move little bubbles too!
Another super easy one is bicycle legs! Move baby’s legs as though they’re riding a bike. Bring the knees up to meet the ribs one at a time then stretch them out over and over. This can encourage stuck gas to move through the digestive tract easily allowing them to get it to where they can fart it out!
Non nutritive sucking! You can allow baby to suck at the breast even if they’re not “eating” still. They won’t be actively retrieving milk. A lot of babies do this after they fall asleep at the breast. This encourages gastric juices to flow and allows their bellies to break down milk or food.
A cool one I’ve gotten to try with my second baby is reflexology. There’s some really great YouTube videos to show you how to use reflexology for baby. It’s so gentle and easy to do with tapping or pressure points on their legs and feet. If you mix this in with the stomach massage it also can be a great bonding experience.
One that we think of for adults but not as much for babies is positioning. As seen in the picture below lay baby on their right side with their left knee bent up into their tummy. Support their leg with your body or hand. This is especially great if they can nurse like that in the side lying position. If they’ve been too fussy with gas pain to nurse I have found this position to really help. This position gently applies pressure to the descending colon which can help with the pain as gas moves through.
One thing I always like to mention is if baby chronically has gas you may want to check in with a lactation consultant to make sure the latch is good and there’s no air sneaking in during feedings. Tongue ties, positioning, distracted feeding, shallow latch and more can easily cause air to get into baby’s stomach which causes gas for baby.
Finally a herbal recommendation! Brew a cup of chamomile or fennel tea. You can either give it directly to baby or indirectly through breast milk. To give it directly to baby you can give the baby a few drops either cooled and then in their mouth or put a few drops on your nipple before baby nurses. To give it indirectly to baby through breast milk (the safest way, as then baby isn’t getting anything besides breast milk) have mama drink a few very strong cups of either fennel or chamomile tea. A very small amount of the herbs will come through the breast milk allowing baby to reap the benefits. Fennel tea is also a galactagogue (which means it increases breast milk supply!)so if you were worried about breast milk supply mama may notice an increase a few hours later or the next day! Both herbs are carminatives and help move the gas along the digestive tract painlessly. They’re also gentle nervines meaning they calm the nervous system which can be so great if you’ve been dealing with big crying jags and everyone’s nerves are fried.
Give these a try and let me know what worked for you!