Newborns arrive in the world with immature bodily systems, which usually require some adjustment and development after birth. It is common for newborns to exhibit gassiness in the early weeks, which may cause some discomfort and fussiness. As you care for your little one, you might be able to relieve these symptoms to help your baby feel more comfortable.
It’s impossible to escape gassiness entirely when you have a baby, but some little ones may experience more gas than others. Common gas symptoms include flatulence, burping, spitting up, bloated tummy, crying and cramps. It’s not unusual for a baby to pass gas as many as 23 times per day, according to WebMD.com.
Causes of Gas
Gas can develop in a newborn from several different sources. The lactose and proteins present in breast milk or formula create some gas in a baby’s system. Babies sometimes swallow air as they eat and also when they cry. A baby may have a food intolerance or sensitivity to certain foods consumed, either directly through formula or indirectly through breast milk. The incidence of food intolerance that causes gas problems in babies is less than 5 percent, though, according to Senders Pediatrics of Euclid, Ohio.
Gas vs. Colic
If your baby cries excessively for three hours or more, one or two times each day, your baby may have colic and not merely gas issues, points out Seattle Children’s Hospital. Colic generally begins prior to 2 weeks of age and resolves itself by the time the infant reaches 3 months of age. Typical gas for a newborn should not cause periods of extended crying, although your little one may fuss momentarily while she passes gas. A gassy baby usually feels content overall, with a few brief moments of gas discomfort, whereas a colicky baby cries for hours, not necessarily due to gas pains. If you think your baby is colicky, contact your pediatrician for advice.
Possible Dietary Issues
If a breastfeeding baby has sensitivities to breast milk, some foods the mother eats could be the culprit. Foods that often cause problems include dairy, citrus, soy and tomatoes, states the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. If your formula-fed baby cries incessantly and shows symptoms of abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the stool and a skin rash, she may have an allergy to the proteins present in formula, warns KidsHealth.org. Consult your pediatrician to determine whether you should switch your baby to a hypoallergenic formula to resolve her digestive issues.