Who knew that a tiny tummy could have so many problems? You want your little one to feel comfortable, so here are a number of expert recommended tips for soothing your baby’s upset stomach.
Your baby’s digestive system is still very immature, but you can help move things along in the right direction. Baby massage is an exceptional and natural way to resolve abdominal discomfort. For example, a 15 minute protocol of moderate pressure massage, moving the skin, used several times on the face, abdomen, and limbs seems to be quite helpful in soothing stomach discomfort. Massage is beneficial in infants that otherwise appear to be healthy, are growing, and in whom massage is not contraindicated by the pediatrician.
Another external technique to try is baby leg exercises. Maneuvers you can do to help them pass gas include bending their legs and bringing their knees to their tummy, and bicycling the baby’s legs around in circles.
Choose an easy to digest formula to ensure it will not upset your baby’s tummy. For babies with gassy tummies, hard or pasty stools, or digestive upset with formula, it may be helpful to try a formula that has the milk proteins partially broken down already, which for some babies can make them easier to digest. These are often labeled as gentle, and often also contain less lactose than regular formulas. HiPP Comfort, baby formula for sensitive stomachs is an ideal formula to feed to a baby that has problems with digestion. For some babies, it may also be useful to look for a formula that contains probiotics, as some recent research suggests that probiotics can be helpful to aid in digestion for fussy infants and are generally considered safe in this context. Before you make these changes, however, it’s important to discuss the matter with your baby’s pediatrician.
If you are breastfeeding, make sure your latch is tight enough to avoid air getting in. Contact a lactation consultant to adjust latch and determine if tongue tie is an issue for your baby.
Having too much breast milk could also trigger gassiness. Oversupply can cause the baby to overfeed or swallow too much air, causing an upset tummy. Make sure you are emptying one breast fully before switching sides so the baby gets all of the stomach soothing hindmilk. A lactation consultant can help you get your supply under control.
Do not overfeed
Babies unlatch when they are done breastfeeding, but with a bottle, it is harder for them to tell. Your baby’s stomach is as big as their fist, so only give them small amounts at a time. You may need to wait until their next normal session before feeding them more.
Do not distract your baby during feeding
Keeping your baby focused can help prevent tummy troubles. Avoid interruptions, sudden noises, bright lights, and other distractions, and make each feeding a calm, quiet, and leisurely experience for both yourself and your baby.
Burp your baby in different positions
If one burping position does not get the air out, try another. Laying Baby on their tummy on your legs and patting Baby’s back, holding Baby with your hand on their chest just under their neck and leaning baby forward while sitting up, and hugging them with their head over your shoulder are a few different options.
Taking frequent burping breaks while eating can help digestion. Burping your bottle fed baby at least every three to five minutes, or after every two to three ounces of formula, will slow your baby’s gulping and reduce the amount of air they take in. If they are nursing, burp them when they switch breasts.
A bit of warmth can ease your baby’s upset stomach. A warm towel is not a bad idea, or a warm bath can help babies relax and move their bowels as well. Just make sure they are not too hot. Also, keep your baby comfy by avoiding tight diapers.
When you are nursing, your baby is getting what you eat, and dairy is a common culprit for a baby’s upset stomach. Fruits, green vegetables, especially broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and garlic can also make a baby feel uncomfortable. But do not eliminate healthy foods unless you are sure they are a problem as they are able to feed off the goodness in them.
Hold the bottle so the milk or formula completely fills the nipple to reduce excess air. Also, try switching to a bottle that limits how much air the baby gets, such as a Dr. Brown’s bottle.
Besides strengthening Baby’s head and neck muscles, spending time on their tummy puts pressure on the stomach. Tummy time has a lot of benefits for babies and one of them is helping to move gas along.
Babies’ gut bacteria have not fully developed yet, which could cause a baby upset stomach. Add a probiotic approved for children, especially in breastfed infants, some formulas contain a prebiotic or probiotic already. Studies have shown occasionally babies have a predominance of one bacterium in their guts as opposed to a more diverse bioflora. Infant probiotics come in drops or powder form. Ask your baby’s pediatrician before trying this option.
If these simple solutions for a baby upset stomach are not working, then you should call a doctor. Colic, which is inconsolable crying, might not really have a known cause and a pooping problem called dyschezia usually works itself out on its own over time. However, watch out for symptoms such as pain during or after feeding, persistent food refusal, vomiting blood or green or yellow fluid, poor growth, breathing problems, or choking.
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