It’s the middle of the night, your baby has been upset for longer than you can count and there isn’t enough coffee in the world to keep up with the lack of sleep. Breastfeeding difficulties can be challenging to figure out. Could all of this discomfort be from gas? Let’s take a deeper look.
Aerophagia (eh row fay jee uh) is defined as swallowed air. When your baby swallows too much air, this can lead to an upset stomach.
5 Tips to Help With Your Baby's Gas
01. Change your breastfeeding position
When babies feel supported their ability to feed improves. Humor me... have a seat close to the edge of a chair or couch, grab your favorite beverage (no judgement here), now lift your feet. What happens? Were you as efficient? Did your ability to focus on drinking change? As you lifted your feet, your support changed. This is what can happen with babies while breastfeeding, thus increasing the likelihood of swallowing too much air.
Latching your baby in a laid-back position (baby on their belly), provides great stability. In this position, your baby will be calm and focused now that their body is stable.
02. Check the latch at the breast or bottle
Have you ever noticed milk dribbling out of your baby's mouth? Well, if milk is coming out, there is a possibility that air is also going in. To get milk from the breast or out of the bottle, a good seal is needed. This tight seal creates a vacuum that allows the milk to enter the baby's mouth. If the seal is broken, it leaves an opportunity for air to be sucked in. Difficulty latching could be a red flag for a greater problem. If that is the case, you may consider reaching out to a lactation support person.
03. Encourage Tummy Time to Relieve Gas
Tummy Time is not only beneficial for breastfeeding and infant development, it is also an option to release extra air on your baby's belly. Placing babies on their bellies creates gentle pressure to move the excess air out. A thin blanket on a harder surface is better than a soft or fluffy surface. If they become fussy or upset, roll out of Tummy Time and maybe try at another time.
04. Bicycle Legs
When your baby is lying on their back, move the legs back and forth (as if riding a bicycle). You may also try bringing both legs towards the belly, then stretch out. Try this a few times to see if this gets things moving.
05. Baby Massage
Let's be honest, who doesn't love a good massage? This can be relaxing for babies as well. You, however, know your baby better than anyone. If they are showing signs of distress, listen to their cues. As your baby is lying on their back, gently massage their belly from left to right. Imagine the face on a clock. You will start around 7 and move up the clock.
Seeing our loved ones in distress can be incredibly difficult. When your baby has extra air on their belly it can make them uncomfortable. These tips aim to help move the belly in a way that may help release the trapped air. If you are still having concerns with your baby, reach out to your doctor or lactation specialist.
About the author: Kellie Green is a certified and licensed Speech Pathologist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), who specializes in infant feeding. She operates a private practice in Columbus, OH, Green Living & Wellness.