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gassy baby!

Posted by on Feb. 10, 2013 at 8:35 PM
  • 7 Replies
My 6 week old is super gassy. Is their anything I can do to help avoid that? I have seen those gas relief drops, but thought those where for formula fed, would they help?
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by on Feb. 10, 2013 at 8:35 PM
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Replies (1-7):
sassysilvergirl
by on Feb. 10, 2013 at 8:40 PM

Chest to chest will help a lot. My 7 month old was really gassy and I also used gripe water. I think they work better then the drops. I just used a bottle nipple and put the gripe water in there....it was easier for him to suck it out then trying to use a dropper. My baby is EBF. Good luck....no fun having a gassy baby.

bebe_ju-rah
by on Feb. 10, 2013 at 8:45 PM
Burp frequently, bicycle the legs and check the latch. BF'd babies are not as gassy as ff babies usually. I tried gripe water with ds and it made him spit up more often and gave him diarrhea. :(
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DragonMother10
by on Feb. 10, 2013 at 8:49 PM
I noticed my son gets really gassy after I eat cheese, there are other foods that make them gassy. Try to eliminate certain foods and reintroduce slowly back into your diet.
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K8wizzo
by Kate on Feb. 10, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Do you have an overactive letdown?  I would avoid gas drops and gripe water if you can.

Forceful Let-down (Milk Ejection Reflex) & Oversupply

AUGUST 20, 2011. Posted in: SUPPLY WORRIES

By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

 Is forceful let-down the problem?

Does your baby do any of these things?

  • Gag, choke, strangle, gulp, gasp, cough while nursing as though the milk is coming too fast
  • Pull off the breast often while nursing
  • Clamp down on the nipple at let-down to slow the flow of milk
  • Make a clicking sound when nursing
  • Spit up very often and/or tend to be very gassy
  • Periodically refuse to nurse
  • Dislike comfort nursing in general

If some of this sounds familiar to you, you probably have a forceful let-down. This is often associated with too much milk (oversupply). Some mothers notice that the problems with fast letdown or oversupply don’t start until 3-6 weeks of age. Forceful let-down runs the gamut from a minor inconvenience to a major problem, depending upon how severe it is and how it affects the nursing relationship.

What can I do about it?

There are essentially two ways you can go about remedying a forceful let-down: (1) help baby deal with the fast flow and (2) take measures to adjust your milk supply down to baby’s needs. Since forceful let-down is generally a byproduct of oversupply, most moms will be working on both of these things. It may take a couple of weeks to see results from interventions for oversupply, so try to be patient and keep working on it.

Help baby deal with the fast milk flow

  • Position baby so that she is nursing “uphill” in relation to mom’s breast, where gravity is working againstthe flow of milk. The most effective positions are those where baby’s head and throat are above the level of your nipple. Some nursing positions to try:
    • Cradle hold, but with mom leaning back (a recliner or lots of pillows helps)
    • Football hold, but with mom leaning back
    • Elevated football hold – like the football hold, but baby is sitting up and facing mom to nurse instead of lying down (good for nursing in public).
    • Side lying position – this allows baby to dribble the extra milk out of her mouth when it’s coming too fast
    • Australian position (mom is “down under”, aka posture feeding) – in this position, mom is lying on her back and baby is on top (facing down), tummy to tummy with mom. Avoid using this positioning frequently, as it may lead to plugged ducts.
  • Burp baby frequently if she is swallowing a lot of air.
  • Nurse more frequently. This will reduce the amount of milk that accumulates between feedings, so feedings are more manageable for baby.
  • Nurse when baby is sleepy and relaxed. Baby will suck more gently at this time, and the milk flow will be slower.
  • Wait until let-down occurs, then take baby off the breast while at the same time catching the milk in a towel or cloth diaper. Once the flow slows, you can put your baby back to the breast.
  • Pump or hand express until the flow of milk slows down, and then put baby to the breast. Use this only if nothing else is working, as it stimulates additional milk production. If you do this, try to express a little less milk each time until you are no longer expressing before nursing.

Adjust your supply to better match baby’s needs

  • If baby is gaining weight well, then having baby nurse from only one breast per feeding can be helpful.
  • If baby finishes nursing on the first side and wants to continue nursing, just put baby back onto the first side.
  • If the second side becomes uncomfortable, express a little milk until you’re more comfortable and then use cool compresses – aim for expressing less milk each time until you are comfortable without expressing milk.
  • Avoid extra breast stimulation, for example, unnecessary pumping, running the shower on your breasts for a long time or wearing breast shells.
  • Between feedings, try applying cool compresses to the breast (on for 30 minutes, off for at least an hour). This can discourage blood flow and milk production.
  • If nursing one side per feeding is not working after a week or so, try keeping baby to one side for a certain period of time before switching sides. This is called block nursing.
  • Start with 2-3 hours and increase in half-hour increments if needed.
  • Do not restrict nursing at all, but any time that baby needs to nurse simply keep putting baby back to the same side during that time period.
  • If the second side becomes uncomfortable, express a little milk until you’re more comfortable and then use cool compresses – aim for expressing less milk each time until you are comfortable without expressing milk.
  • In more extreme cases, mom may need to experiment a bit with time periods over 4 hours to find the amount of time per breast that works best.
  • Additional measures that should only be used for extreme cases of oversupply include cabbage leaf compresses and herbs.

Even if these measures do not completely solve the problem, many moms find that their abundant supply and fast let-down will subside, at least to some extent, by about 12 weeks (give or take a bit). At this point, hormonal changes occur that make milk supply more stable and more in line with the amount of milk that baby needs.

Sometimes babies of moms with oversupply or fast let-down get very used to the fast flow and object when it normally slows somewhere between 3 weeks to 3 months. Even though your let-down may not be truly slow, it can still seem that way to baby. See Let-down Reflex: Too Slow?for tips.

 

 Additional Information

Too Much Milk? by Becky Flora, IBCLC

Oversupply by Kathy Kuhn, IBCLC

Tips for taming a monster milk supply by Kathy Kuhn, IBCLC

Gaining, Gulping, and Grimacing? by Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC

Oversupply: Too Much Milk by Anne Smith, IBCLC

Colic in the Breastfed Baby by Jack Newman MD, FRCPC

Am I making too much milk? from La Leche League International

Fighting the Battle Against Oversupply  by Vanessa Manz

Finish the First Breast First by Melissa Vickers (LEAVEN, September-October 1995, p. 69-71)

Overactive Let-Down: Consequences and Treatments by Mary Jozwiak (from LEAVEN, September-October 1995, pp. 71-72)

Common Side Effects of an Overactive Let-Down by Mary Jozwiak (from LEAVEN, September-October 1995, p. 69)

Too Much of a Good Thing by Kate Drzycimski, from New Beginnings Vol. 19 No. 9, July-August 2002, p. 129.

PDF Resolution of Lactose Intolerance and “Colic” in Breastfed Babies by Robyn Noble & Anne Bovey, presented at the ALCA Vic (Melbourne) Conference on the 1st November, 1997

K8wizzo
by Kate on Feb. 10, 2013 at 8:57 PM
1 mom liked this

Some more info about gas and babies from kellymom.

My baby is gassy. Is this caused by something in my diet?

JULY 26, 2011. Posted in: BABY'S HEALTH,PARENTING FAQ

By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

Does a mom need to watch everything she eats to avoid having a gassy baby?

The idea that certain foods in any mom’s diet will cause gas in her baby is incredibly persistent but is not founded in research. If certain foods in moms’ diets were an overall problem for most babies, we would expect that cultures that emphasize those foods would have more gassy and fussy babies, but this does not occur at all.

This is not to say that certain foods would not bother a particular baby – this does happen occasionally (and it’s more likely with very young babies). However, there is no list of foods that every mom should avoid while breastfeeding. In fact, most babies are fine with any food that mom eats, so there is no reason to avoid a food unless you notice an obvious reaction in your baby every time you eat a particular food.

Most babies are gassy from time to time, some more than others. Gassiness is often worse at night. This is due, on the most part, to baby’s immature digestive system and has nothing to do with what mom does or eats. Because so many people promote the idea that food in mom’s diet causes gas, many a breastfeeding mom will immediately assume it is due to something she has eaten if her baby is gassy.

The list of foods that “might cause gas” is practically endless, and moms who try to avoid all these foods will (needlessly) have a *very* limited diet. Formula-feeding moms blame it on a chill, a draft, the formula type, the formula being too hot or cold, baby being overdressed, underdressed, jostled too much, etc. Formula-feeding moms never think it was what the cow ate the day she was milked, months ago!

Some causes of gas in babies

  • Many young babies have a certain amount of gas and seem to strain as it is passed or as a bowel movement occurs simply because of the immaturity of their digestive system. This doesn’t always indicate a problem. Most babies’ bodies manage gas more easily with growth, maturity, and greater activity. As long as your baby is not overly bothered by the gas or has no other symptoms of food sensitivity or other problems, then “tincture of time” is likely the best solution.
  • Too much milk too fast, so that baby gulps and chokes and takes in too much air along with the milk. See forceful let-down.
  • Anything that causes baby to take in too much air may result in a gassy baby (what goes in must come out!):
    • Crying – Babies swallow air when they are crying, so crying is more likely to be the causeof gas, rather than the result of gas. Respond to baby’s feeding cues promptly.
    • Bottlefeeding – Babies usually swallow more air when drinking from a bottle. When using bottles, use the slowest-flow nipples so baby doesn’t get overwhelmed with the milk flow. To reduce air swallowing, keep baby at about a 45 degree angle (rather than lying down), make sure baby has a good seal on the base of the nipple, and keep the bottle tilted so the neck & nipple are filled with milk. There are also varieties of bottles that aim to reduce air swallowing. Don’t let baby suck on an empty bottle. Burp baby more often if he seems to be swallowing too much air.
  • Overabundant milk supply. See Too Much Milk?
  • Thrush can cause gassiness in babies.
  • Babies who skip several days between stools tend to be gassier. Older breastfed babies (after the first 6-8 weeks) can go several days without a stool. Ten days or more is not uncommon! The long periods between stools in a baby who is obviously thriving is not a cause for concern if the baby’s abdomen remains soft, baby is content and alert, and the stool is soft and profuse if several days have gone by.
  • Sensitivity to something in mother’s diet, including any vitamin/iron supplements, etc. SeeDairy and other Food Sensitivities in Breastfed Babies. If this is the reason, you will most likely notice other symptoms, such as excessive spitting up or vomiting, colic, diarrhea, rash, persistent congestion or runny nose.
  • Anything that baby is eating/drinking other than mother’s milk, including vitamins, formula, teas, medications or herbs, solidsjuice. Any substance (other than breastmilk) has a much greater potential to increase gassiness rather than reduce it.
  • Formula feeding tends to cause more gas and digestive upset for most babies because it is not specific to the human baby. Formula-fed babies overall tend to spit up more, be constipated more, have more gas, be more colicky, have more intestinal illnesses, etc. Remember, too, that supplementation most always undermines your milk supply and may result in premature weaning.

Frequently Asked Questions about breastfeeding and gassy babies

Breastmilk is made from what passes into mom’s blood, not what is in her stomach or digestive track. Below are a few common questions that moms have about breastfeeding and gassy babies.

Can drinking carbonated sodas cause gas in baby? No. For something to pass into your milk, it must first pass into your bloodstream. It’s the carbonation in sodas, etc. that can cause gas in mom. The bubbles in a carbonated drink cannot pass into your milk and affect baby. If this could happen, you’d have carbonated blood and carbonated milk!

If mom is gassy, can that make baby gassy? No. Gas in mom’s body cannot pass into breastmilk.

See also Can a nursing mother eat this food? which includes a discussion of How will eating “gassy foods” affect baby?

Popular treatments for gas in babies

Time

For most babies, the number one most effective treatment for gas is TIME. Babies are born with an immature digestive system, and it needs time to mature. Until this happens, baby is likely to be gassy no matter what you do. Some babies “wake up” around 3-4 weeks to all the new GI sensations they are feeling and get really unhappy about it. If you cannot find an apparent causefor your baby’s gassiness, he probably just needs a little more time to mature.

Gripe water, fennel tea or other herbal remedies

Herbal remedies have been used for gassy babies for a countless number of years. I prefer to avoid using herbal remedies for gas in young babies. Here are my reasons:

  • In a healthy baby, anything other than breastmilk is more likely to cause problems rather than solve them.
  • Giving baby substances other than breastmilk can alter the intestinal flora and reduce the protective qualities of exclusive breastfeeding, thus making baby more susceptable to illness and allergies. See Why Delay Solids? for more on this.
  • Many of these products contain mixtures of herbs or other substances, thus putting baby more at risk for adverse reactions. Some contain alcohol, so read labels very carefully.
  • Most of these products have not been tested in infants for safety or effectiveness.
  • It is more effective to look at treating the causes, rather than simply trying to treat the symptoms.

Note: Star anise has been associated with illness ranging from serious neurological effects, such as seizures, to vomiting, jitteriness and rapid eye movement.

Mint tea is sometimes used for gas and gas pains. Peppermint oil and tea can be dangerous if given directly to babies. Large amounts of peppermint or spearmint are known to decrease milk supply, and mint tea is traditionally used for decreasing milk supply – breastfeeding mothers should avoid drinking mint tea regularly or in large amounts.

Simethicone drops (Mylicon, Ovol)

This medication is considered quite safe, as it is not absorbed by the body. It breaks down bubbles of gas trapped in the stomach and the intestines. Whether this treatment is effective is a different story, however. In clinical trials, simethicone drops have been shown to be effective in reducing the total amount of gas passed. However, they have not been shown to be more effective than a placebo when the study focused on baby’s total crying time and the severity of colic-like episodes.

So, what does work? My baby is unhappy and I am too! We don’t want to just wait it out.

Additional Information

oliver92
by on Feb. 10, 2013 at 10:35 PM

we had to use gas drops for all 3 boys couldnt have lived without them... instantly soothes a baby whose tummy hurts.

AspensMama1537
by Bronze Member on Feb. 11, 2013 at 11:49 AM
1 mom liked this
I do seem to be showing some signs of an over active let down. I have been trying some of the advice hoping it helps. Thanks.


Quoting K8wizzo:

Do you have an overactive letdown?  I would avoid gas drops and gripe water if you can.

Forceful Let-down (Milk Ejection Reflex) & Oversupply

AUGUST 20, 2011. Posted in: SUPPLY WORRIES

By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

 Is forceful let-down the problem?

Does your baby do any of these things?

  • Gag, choke, strangle, gulp, gasp, cough while nursing as though the milk is coming too fast
  • Pull off the breast often while nursing
  • Clamp down on the nipple at let-down to slow the flow of milk
  • Make a clicking sound when nursing
  • Spit up very often and/or tend to be very gassy
  • Periodically refuse to nurse
  • Dislike comfort nursing in general

If some of this sounds familiar to you, you probably have a forceful let-down. This is often associated with too much milk (oversupply). Some mothers notice that the problems with fast letdown or oversupply don’t start until 3-6 weeks of age. Forceful let-down runs the gamut from a minor inconvenience to a major problem, depending upon how severe it is and how it affects the nursing relationship.

What can I do about it?

There are essentially two ways you can go about remedying a forceful let-down: (1) help baby deal with the fast flow and (2) take measures to adjust your milk supply down to baby’s needs. Since forceful let-down is generally a byproduct of oversupply, most moms will be working on both of these things. It may take a couple of weeks to see results from interventions for oversupply, so try to be patient and keep working on it.

Help baby deal with the fast milk flow

  • Position baby so that she is nursing “uphill” in relation to mom’s breast, where gravity is working againstthe flow of milk. The most effective positions are those where baby’s head and throat are above the level of your nipple. Some nursing positions to try:
    • Cradle hold, but with mom leaning back (a recliner or lots of pillows helps)
    • Football hold, but with mom leaning back
    • Elevated football hold – like the football hold, but baby is sitting up and facing mom to nurse instead of lying down (good for nursing in public).
    • Side lying position – this allows baby to dribble the extra milk out of her mouth when it’s coming too fast
    • Australian position (mom is “down under”, aka posture feeding) – in this position, mom is lying on her back and baby is on top (facing down), tummy to tummy with mom. Avoid using this positioning frequently, as it may lead to plugged ducts.
  • Burp baby frequently if she is swallowing a lot of air.
  • Nurse more frequently. This will reduce the amount of milk that accumulates between feedings, so feedings are more manageable for baby.
  • Nurse when baby is sleepy and relaxed. Baby will suck more gently at this time, and the milk flow will be slower.
  • Wait until let-down occurs, then take baby off the breast while at the same time catching the milk in a towel or cloth diaper. Once the flow slows, you can put your baby back to the breast.
  • Pump or hand express until the flow of milk slows down, and then put baby to the breast. Use this only if nothing else is working, as it stimulates additional milk production. If you do this, try to express a little less milk each time until you are no longer expressing before nursing.

Adjust your supply to better match baby’s needs

  • If baby is gaining weight well, then having baby nurse from only one breast per feeding can be helpful.
  • If baby finishes nursing on the first side and wants to continue nursing, just put baby back onto the first side.
  • If the second side becomes uncomfortable, express a little milk until you’re more comfortable and then use cool compresses – aim for expressing less milk each time until you are comfortable without expressing milk.
  • Avoid extra breast stimulation, for example, unnecessary pumping, running the shower on your breasts for a long time or wearing breast shells.
  • Between feedings, try applying cool compresses to the breast (on for 30 minutes, off for at least an hour). This can discourage blood flow and milk production.
  • If nursing one side per feeding is not working after a week or so, try keeping baby to one side for a certain period of time before switching sides. This is called block nursing.
  • Start with 2-3 hours and increase in half-hour increments if needed.
  • Do not restrict nursing at all, but any time that baby needs to nurse simply keep putting baby back to the same side during that time period.
  • If the second side becomes uncomfortable, express a little milk until you’re more comfortable and then use cool compresses – aim for expressing less milk each time until you are comfortable without expressing milk.
  • In more extreme cases, mom may need to experiment a bit with time periods over 4 hours to find the amount of time per breast that works best.
  • Additional measures that should only be used for extreme cases of oversupply include cabbage leaf compresses and herbs.

Even if these measures do not completely solve the problem, many moms find that their abundant supply and fast let-down will subside, at least to some extent, by about 12 weeks (give or take a bit). At this point, hormonal changes occur that make milk supply more stable and more in line with the amount of milk that baby needs.

Sometimes babies of moms with oversupply or fast let-down get very used to the fast flow and object when it normally slows somewhere between 3 weeks to 3 months. Even though your let-down may not be truly slow, it can still seem that way to baby. See Let-down Reflex: Too Slow?for tips.

 

 Additional Information

Too Much Milk? by Becky Flora, IBCLC

Oversupply by Kathy Kuhn, IBCLC

Tips for taming a monster milk supply by Kathy Kuhn, IBCLC

Gaining, Gulping, and Grimacing? by Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC

Oversupply: Too Much Milk by Anne Smith, IBCLC

Colic in the Breastfed Baby by Jack Newman MD, FRCPC

Am I making too much milk? from La Leche League International

Fighting the Battle Against Oversupply  by Vanessa Manz

Finish the First Breast First by Melissa Vickers (LEAVEN, September-October 1995, p. 69-71)

Overactive Let-Down: Consequences and Treatments by Mary Jozwiak (from LEAVEN, September-October 1995, pp. 71-72)

Common Side Effects of an Overactive Let-Down by Mary Jozwiak (from LEAVEN, September-October 1995, p. 69)

Too Much of a Good Thing by Kate Drzycimski, from New Beginnings Vol. 19 No. 9, July-August 2002, p. 129.

PDF Resolution of Lactose Intolerance and “Colic” in Breastfed Babies by Robyn Noble & Anne Bovey, presented at the ALCA Vic (Melbourne) Conference on the 1st November, 1997


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