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In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg describes gas symptoms and gives ideas on how to treat it. Here are good points from the book as well as some of my own (pages 110-111).
WHAT IS GAS?
Gas is air. It will come out either through burping or passing gas. For some babies, gas can be very painful, just like it can for some adults.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF GAS IS A PROBLEM?
Look for these signs:
- Baby brings legs up to his chest.
- Baby scrunches up his face.
- High pitch to his crying. This was the biggest sign to us that McKenna had gas. It was a shrill cry of pain.
- Baby will look like he is panting.
- Baby might roll his eyes.
- I have also noticed that baby will squirm around a lot.
HOW DO YOU TREAT GAS?
- Burp. When burping, gently rub upward on his back on the left side using the heel of your palm.
- Burp. Try having his arms over your shoulder, dangling down. Then have his feet straight down. If baby is still in the curled up newborn stage, you might have to straighten his legs for him.
- Bicylcle. Lay him on his back and bicycle his legs.
- Pat. Hold him against you and pat his bottom.
- Pressure. Lay him on your forearm, face down, and put gentle pressure on his tummy with your palm.
- Burp. I know, how many times can burp be mentioned? I am sure to burp McKenna efficiently and often. I also give her one final burp right before I put her down for a nap. She has always burped the easiest while she is swaddled.
- Towle Method. There is a colic/gas management method for relieving gas. The description is long. See the files in the Chronicles Yahoo! Group (link to group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/chroniclesofababywisemom/) link to group’s files: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/chroniclesofababywisemom/files/).
- Gas Drops. Simethicone drops can help. I have found them to help immensely. Both Brayden and McKenna had/have gas, and these drops were/are a life saver. Here is a definition from wikipedia.org: “Simethicone is an anti-foaming agent that decreases the surface tension of gas bubbles, causing them to combine into larger bubbles in the stomach that can be passed more easily by burping. Simethicone does not reduce the quantity of gas in the digestive tract, it only increases the rate at which it exits the body, but does not prevent gas formation in the intestine. However, simethicone can relieve pain caused by gas in the intestines by decreasing foaming which then allows for passing of flatus. Simethicone is not absorbed by the body into the bloodstream, and is therefore considered relatively safe.” My belief, based on observing my kids, is that simethicone drops work well over time. I think they are best applied consistently and help prevent gas pains. I use the store brand from Walmart (Equate Gas Drops) and find they work very well, and they are a lot less expensive than name brand (Mylicon Drops).
- Gripe Water. Gripe water is great for alleviating pain immediately. Here is the definition from Wikipedia.org: “Gripe Water is a home remedy for infants with colic, gastrointestinal discomfort, teething pain, reflux, and other stomach ailments. Its ingredients vary, and may include alcohol, bicarbonate, ginger, dill, fennel and chamomile. It is typically given to an infant with a dropper in liquid form, and adults may also take gripe water for soothing intestinal pains, gas or other stomach ailments.” Notice that some contain alcohol, but not all do. If you don’t want your baby having alcohol, be sure to read ingredients before purchasing it. I have been really happy with the Baby Bliss gripe water. It works really well and has no alcohol in it. I don’t even administer a full dose.
If your baby has gas, do what you can to alleviate the pain. You will have a different, happier baby if you do!
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