The gas pains seen in most babies are not a disease, but a physiological event that your baby has experienced during the adaptation process for the outside world. Although it is not a treatable disease with medical aids, it is one of the most common causes for parents to consult a doctor. Babies are born with a digestive system that is not fully developed. Many enzymes used during digestion cannot function properly in infants. This situation causes cramps as abdominal pain after feeding in infants. If these gas pains, which we have seen in the first months of life, last at least 3 days a week, for at least 3 hours and more than 3 weeks, this is called as infantile colic.
Abdominal swelling and stiffness are signs of gas pains
Typically, crying is started 2-3 weeks after birth. Crying seizures often happens in the evenings. These crying periods go up to peak when the baby is 4-6 weeks old and usually disappears when the baby is three months old. During gas pain, babies pull their legs towards the abdomen, their faces blush and they squeeze their fists. Their abdomen is swollen and stiff. In the meantime, the baby wants to suck to relax. However, shortly after sucking, he/she leaves the breast and starts screaming. In this process, the baby constantly fights with the nipple.
Frequent breastfeeding increases gas pain in infants
At the end of the crying periods the baby calms down and falls asleep. In order to connect the crying seizures to gas pain, the baby’s weight gain should be sufficient and it should be known that he is healthy. For this reason, it is necessary to examine the infants who are thought to have gas problems by pediatricians and ensure that there is no other health problem. Such as urinary tract infection, otitis media, cow’s milk allergy, hernia also cause excessive crying and can be confused with infantile colic. Even if many methods and drugs have been tried so far to reduce gas pain in babies, none has been scientifically proven.
What can be done to reduce gas pain?
- Breastfed babies suffer less gas pain than those fed with food. Care should be taken to ensure that the baby does not swallow any gas during feeding with breast or bottle. The baby’s gas should be removed after every feed time.
- During a seizure of gas pain, parents should try to silence his baby without worry. It can be useful to walk around on lap or in a baby carriage, gently shake, hug, wrap in a soft blanket, sing a lullaby, walk around with a car, and a pacifier.
- To put a warm towel on the baby’s belly, massage her belly with warm oil, bathing with warm water can be effective to reduce gas pain.
- Fennel containing herbal teas may reduce gas pain. However, frequent use of these teas may have a negative impact on nutrition, so care must be taken, and most importantly, consult a doctor.
- There is no proven drug to reduce gas pain. It is difficult to know which drug will benefit which baby. Drug treatment should be continued if the family thinks it is beneficial.