Are you worried about your infant’s tummy troubles? Learn from pediatricians about how to calm your infant’s upset stomach from gas to constipation and everything in between. Find out helpful tips on how to ease your baby’s discomfort and promote a happy, healthy tummy.
Who knew that a small stomach could cause so much trouble? You want your kid to be healthy and happy, so here are some expert-recommended measures for calming your baby’s upset stomach.
1. Give your child a massage.
Your baby’s digestive system isn’t very developed yet, but you can help it grow. Massaging an infant is a great and natural way to ease abdominal pain.
A 15-minute massage with moderate pressure that moves the skin on the face, abdomen, and limbs several times seems very helpful. Massage is good for babies who look healthy otherwise, are growing, and whose pediatrician hasn’t told them not to get a massage.
2. Make them pedal their legs to get rid of gas.
Baby leg exercises are another outside method to try. To help them pass gas, you can bend their legs and bring their knees to their tummies or bicycle their legs.
The simple movement can help gas that’s stuck in your child’s intestines get out, which should settle their stomach.
3. Figure out the right formula.
If you feed your baby formula, try a food that is easy to digest to ensure it won’t upset their stomach. Infants who experience gas, constipation, or diarrhea after drinking formula may benefit from switching to one that has milk proteins that have been partially digested. This can make them easier to digest for some babies.
“These are often called “gentle,” and they often have less lactose than regular formulas as well. Some fussy babies may also benefit from a formula with probiotics. According to some research, probiotics can help babies digest their food and are generally safe to use in this situation.” 1 Before you make these changes, though, you should talk to your baby’s pediatrician about it.
4. Look at their latch.
Whether you are breastfeeding or giving your baby a bottle, make sure the latch is tight so that air doesn’t get in. Call a lactation consultant to fix the latch and find out if the baby has a tongue tie.
How to Tell if a Latch Works
- You feel like someone is pulling on your nose.
- After sucking, your baby lets out air.
- Your baby is clearly taking in air.
- The lips of your baby are flaky and not tucked in.
5. Also, look for oversupply.
Gas can also be caused by having too much breast milk or a too-rapid bowel movement. “Oversupply can make the baby eat too much or swallow too much air, which can upset the baby’s stomach,” says Dr. Montague. Make sure to empty one breast completely before switching sides so that your baby can get all of the soothing hindmilk. A lactation consultant can help you control how much milk you make.
6. Don’t overfeed.
When babies are done nursing, they pull away from the breast. One may not always be able to know from a bottle. Dr. Montague says, “Your baby’s stomach is about the size of their fist, so only give small amounts at a time.” “I’d rather a baby eat a little bit every two hours than a lot every four.” Dr. Loizides says that if your baby spits up, you may need to wait until their next normal feeding to give them more.
7. Don’t do anything else while your baby eats.
Dr. Loizides says that keeping your baby’s attention during feedings can help keep stomach problems at bay. Each feeding should be conducted in a serene, quiet, and slow environment free from interruptions, abrupt noises, bright lights, and other distractions.
Setting up a schedule for when your baby eats can help him, or her stay focused on nursing. Some studies show that babies’ well-being scores are better when they eat at the same time every day.
8. Burp in different positions.
If one way of burping doesn’t work, try something else. You can stroke your baby on the back when they’re lying on their tummy between your legs. While sitting up, you can also support your child’s neck by placing one hand on his or her chest right below the baby’s neck. You can also hug their head over your shoulder.
9. Burp in the middle of a feeding.
Taking breaks to burp often while eating can help your body digest the food. Bottle-fed babies can minimize the quantity of air they take in by gulping by burping them every three to five minutes, or after every two to three ounces. If your infant is nursing, give them a burp when you transfer breasts. Burp your baby when they switch breasts if they are nursing.
10. Try a hot bath or a warm towel.
When your baby’s stomach hurts, a little warmth can help. “A warm towel isn’t a bad idea, and a warm bath can sometimes help your baby relax and move their bowels as well,” says Dr. Alt. “Just make sure they’re not too hot!” Also, Dr. Loizides says to make sure your baby is comfortable and avoid diapers and waistbands that are too tight.
11. Keep your baby standing up.
Let gravity do its job by feeding at an angle. “Don’t feed the baby while he or she is lying down,” says Dr. Loizides. If you are breastfeeding, try a football hold or a relaxed hold. Don’t tuck your newborn in bed soon after mealtime. “It’s best to have the baby sit up straight for 20 to 30 minutes,” says Dr. Montague.
12. Take care of what you eat.
When you breastfeed, your baby gets what you eat, and dairy is often the cause of an upset stomach in babies. Dr. Alt says that fruits, green vegetables, especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and garlic can also make a baby feel sick. To relieve your symptoms, you could try giving up one suspected food at a time for a week to see if that helps.
13. Pick the right container.
To get rid of extra air, hold the bottle so that the milk or formula fills the nipple all the way. Dr. Alt also suggests switching to a bottle that limits how much air the baby gets.
You could also change the bottler nipple for one that lets the liquid out more slowly. If the milk comes out of the bottle too quickly, your baby might have to gulp and take in too much air while feeding.
14. Work on your stomach.
Your baby’s head and neck muscles will get stronger, and their stomach will feel the pressure. Dr. Alt says that tummy time has many benefits for babies, and one of them is that it helps move gas along. Keep in mind, though, that you should never put a baby to sleep on their stomach because it raises the risk of SIDS (SIDS).
15. Change solids.
When your baby starts eating solids, it can be a bit of a shock to their stomach. “Some babies will have a little trouble going to the bathroom,” says Dr. Alt. “If this happens, don’t eat rice cereal (try oatmeal instead) or bananas, which can make you have trouble going to the bathroom. Pureed fruits can help keep things moving, especially prune puree.”
16. Add probiotics.
The bacteria in an infant’s gut aren’t fully grown yet, which could make them feel sick. “I often give an approved probiotic for children, especially to breastfed babies. Some formulas already have a prebiotic or probiotic in them,” says Dr. Montague. “Studies have shown that sometimes babies have a lot of one kind of bacteria in their guts instead of a more varied bioflora.”
Probiotics for babies come in the form of drops or powder. Before you try this, talk to your baby’s pediatrician.
17. Know when to call a doctor.
Call the doctor if these easy things don’t help your baby’s upset stomach. Dr. Loizides says that colic, which is marked by a lot of crying that won’t stop, might not have a known cause, and some constipation might go away on its own.
Watch out for worrying signs like pain during or after feeding, refusing food for a long time, throwing up blood or green or yellow fluid, slow growth, trouble breathing, or choking.