Gas is uncomfortable for babies and adults alike. However, babies do not understand the problem and are often incapable of eliminating the problem on their own. Babies' bodies are so small, that even little pains can feel very big. Despite the best efforts of sleep-deprived parents, some gassy babies simply will not sleep well. Fortunately, there are many strategies that provide hope for this situation. Learning how to patiently deal with and cure this problem will create much more pleasant nights and days for parents and their new bundles of joy.
Reduce the amount of air the baby swallows during feedings to prevent gas. Do not shake bottles to mix them because this creates air bubbles. Use ventilated bottles or bottles that use plastic liner inserts to reduce the amount of air the baby swallows. This is especially important for feedings that occur immediately before bedtime and throughout the night, as gas can cause the baby to stay awake and be fussy for long periods.
Alter the baby's diet to eliminate potential causes of gas. Breast-fed babies may be reacting to something in the mother's diet, and formula-fed babies may be reacting to something in the brand or type of formula.
Burp the baby during and after feedings. Take frequent, short breaks to bounce the baby and pat her back, especially during the night. Many babies have difficulties expelling gas on their own. While frequent feeding interruptions may be inconvenient and prolong the feeding process, they will likely shorten the amount of comforting the baby will need before she can return to sleep.
Reduce the pain caused by gas bubbles by holding the baby in certain positions. Face the baby toward you and curl his legs tightly against his stomach. Moving his legs may also cause the gas to move and be easier to expel. Babies who lay motionlessly on their back may experience agonizing pain from gas and be unable to sleep.
Soothe the baby. Relaxed bodies expel gas much easier than tense bodies. Crying and physical tenseness from pain will prolong the agony caused by the gas and prevent the baby and her caregiver from getting sleep.
Administer medication. There are many over-the-counter gas-relief aids for babies that can be purchased at your local pharmacy.