Most babies between around 1-4 months suffer from gas, reflux and a smaller percentage, colic. If you are reading this you likely have a baby with it and my heart goes out to you. We’ve been there and it’s not fun! Have faith though, there are ways to help.
Babies immature and still developing digestive tracts are not digesting well yet, whether they are on breast-milk or formula. Tiny tummies seem oh-so-sensitive to even the tiniest of air pockets!
So here are my top 5 gems, which helped us immensely:
- Manual help – ie. Massage, shoulder rides, and bicycles.
Massage can work well, and is an opportunity to soothe and bond with your baby, and also to use some lovely calming pure essential oils.
Weleda do an excellent Baby Tummy Oil, 100% pure essential oils especially for gas & colic.
Try the I Love You massage technique.
In the very early days the only thing that seemed to help our baby was up on a shoulder with his upper stomach pressed on the top of the shoulder, so Zyah spent lots of time riding around on his Daddy’s shoulders! You can also lie baby over your knee, a similar way, to have the same effect.
We also found bicycles really helpful. Firmly but gently cycling the legs can help to release trapped air pockets.
Regular tummy time can also assist in moving gas out naturally.
2. Burp burp burp!!! At that age, you cannot burp your baby too much. I initially thought that just after a feed is fine but soon learned that several mid-feed burps are essential, or anytime your baby makes an ‘eh eh’ sound.
This is a particular cry a baby will make when they have wind, and the sound is caused by a tightness in their diaphragm. See the Dunston Baby Language method for more about this. Downloading the app is handy too.
Reflux & posseting (baby spews) are usually caused by continuing to feed on top of trapped wind so eventually, the wind pocket comes up pushing the milk up with it.
Far better to help the wind pocket out first, then continue feeding. Take your baby off to burp when they start to slow down, NOT when they are still feeding hungrily since the frustration of being taken off can cause them to gulp and swallow more air.
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3. Consider your feeding technique. I noticed a difference when Zyah’s latch improved after a phrenectomy for a lip-tie. He wasn’t taking in so much air as his mouth was sealing better.
It may be beneficial to see or speak to a lactation consultant to ensure that your baby isn’t feeding too fast, plus it can help to feed them in a more inclined position, with mouth above the belly.
The LUX Nature Anti Colic Baby Bottle was a favorite for us as it also mimics breastfeeding. We had a short period where we were supplementing with formula, (until Zyah’s lip tie was treated, his latch improved and my milk supply went back up), so it was essential to have a bottle which didn’t create nipple confusion
4.Gripe Water – Be very discerning when choosing gripe water or other remedies for gas, as many contain questionable ingredients (even the so called ‘natural’ ones).
Wellements Organic Gripe Water is a good one. Just be mindful that because it contains no preservatives (a good thing!) you need to keep it in the fridge and it only keeps for around 4 weeks.
5.Colic Calm – was a Godsend for us. I have recommended it to others who have found it extremely helpful too. It is the best formula I have come across, and made a big difference from Day 1. It contains activated charcoal (and homeopathics), so is black in color – not so great for the laundry! – but we found this wasn’t a problem when we added it to Zyah’s bottle.
We found that once Zyah was around 3 months his gas pain & reflux settled a lot, so we were using the Colicalm rarely, and just used the gripe water as a maintenance.
- One last thing I will add is to notice how you are feeling when your baby is particularly uncomfortable. I found it was worse for Zyah if I was anxious. Babies are very sensitive when we are holding onto unresolved fear! It can help to simply talk about what we are afraid of or worried about. Owning the fear, with the intention of resolving it makes the difference!
- See here for tips on naps & sleeping.
I truly hope this was helpful and that your little one finds sweet relief!