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Breastfeeding Moms Breastfeeding Moms

Gassy Baby :-(

Posted by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 8:46 AM
  • 16 Replies
My now 7 week old son is very gassy and has been since birth. I am a breast feeding mom as well as give him about 4/6 ounces of formula a day. I have tried many diff options to help him with the gas but nothing seems to be working. I recently put myself on a much stricter diet, making sure not to take in anything that could cause gas. My daughter was a very colicy baby and I am afraid that with all these gas issues, this will turn him colic as well. Any suggestions what I can do?
by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 8:46 AM
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gdiamante
by Group Mod - Gina on Aug. 17, 2013 at 9:59 AM

First... why the formula? That alone can make him gassy so my first advice is to cut the formula altogether unless you're working outside the home and can't pump. 

Here's some info that may help.

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 cause of gas, rather than the result of gas. Respond to baby’s feeding cuespromptly.
    • 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. See Dairy 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 cause for 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

striblen3
by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 10:12 AM
I use the formula because I am older and I don't produce enough for him. It took a week for my milk to come in but I was very persistent and kept pumping and nursing and even tho it has come in, I still don't produce enough. I waited out the first week just with breast and he was gassy then before the start of formula.
Ptitchou
by Bronze Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 10:18 AM
How did you determine your supply problem?
My milk also took a week to come in following my cs. All they need is colostrum.

Quoting striblen3:I use the formula because I am older and I don't produce enough for him. It took a week for my milk to come in but I was very persistent and kept pumping and nursing and even tho it has come in, I still don't produce enough. I waited out the first week just with breast and he was gassy then before the start of formula.
gdiamante
by Group Mod - Gina on Aug. 17, 2013 at 10:26 AM


Quoting striblen3:

I use the formula because I am older
Your profile says you're 30-something? That's not older. We've havd moms in their 40s who produce just fine. **smile** Let's read on...
and I don't produce enough for him.
Are you counting dipes? You should be changing 6-8 per day. That is the ONLY sign of suficient supply. Nothiing else. 
It took a week for my milk to come in
That's normal. He gets colostrum till then.
but I was very persistent and kept pumping and nursing and even tho it has come in, I still don't produce enough.
How are you gauging that? Fussy baby means you're making plenty... babies who aren't getting enough haven't the energy to fuss. Pump output tells you nothing. There are women who can nurse twins but cannot get even one drop from the best pump. (Though what pump used when is an important part of the equation.)
Diapers are the only thing that matters. Baby should have lost weight in week one, and at seven weeks old is expected to be 24-36 ounces heavier than lowest weight.
I waited out the first week just with breast and he was gassy then before the start of formula.
Read the info I gave you above. It's possible you make too much milk or have a fast letdown. Also possible baby is sensitive to dairy in your diet. Or baby may have tongue tie which causes poor latch and extra swallowed air, leading to gas.
I tell you all these things because 99% of women who think they don't make enough actually produce just fine; they simply don't look for the right things. I don't know if you are the 99% yet. This is all process of elimination. It's very likely you can dump the formula, though.


mostlymaydays
by Group Mod-Stacy on Aug. 17, 2013 at 10:27 AM
My first 2 babies were super miserably gassy, termed "colic" because no one knew what else to say. But that was changed to "oversupply/over active letdown" after my third was the exact same way.
striblen3
by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 10:27 AM
I have had 4 cs now and I determined the supply problem when he continued to cry and suck on his hand due to being hungry. I pumped continuously and got maybe an ounce and still 7 weeks later am lucky to get 2 ounces when I pump and that's from both breasts. With my other children this wasn't an issue nor did I have issues with my milk coming in
striblen3
by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Also he wasn't having the common wet diapers like he should've been. We was lucky to have 2 wet diapers a day
gdiamante
by Group Mod - Gina on Aug. 17, 2013 at 10:39 AM


Quoting striblen3:

I have had 4 cs now and I determined the supply problem when he continued to cry and suck on his hand due to being hungry. I pumped continuously and got maybe an ounce
Normal amount.
and still 7 weeks later am lucky to get 2 ounces when I pump and that's from both breasts.
That's a LOT! Normal pump output tops at two ounces.
With my other children this wasn't an issue nor did I have issues with my milk coming in

Hmm. Anything above two ounces a session is considered overacheiving, so I"m not really reading a supply problem so much as an intake problem. With the reported diaper count there may be a milk transference issue. Has he been checked for tongue tie? A tie will keep him from taking in what you're making and will create gassiness due to swallowed air. In the long run a tie can also cause speech problems and dental problems.

An IBCLC or a pediatric ENT can diagnose this. It's easily fixed. One snip, done.

striblen3
by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 11:10 AM
I will look into that
LilliesValley
by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Op your output wont be the same when you pump as what baby will get either. I think you should try not pumping to get him back on the boob. I'd stop the formula too,  bc as others have said, he's probably gassy from that.

Here's some additional resources for you. I know you don't think the diapers he was having are sufficient but depending on what kind of diaper you are using might make it seem like he is peeing less. I mean disposable diapers are designed to absorb a lot and keep them relatively dry. So it may seem he's not putting out as much as you think.

http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/how-can-i-tell-if-my-baby-is-getting-enough-milk

You may need to go back to the begining of basics to get your supply up, such as nursing a lot more often. Don't worry about pumping at this point unless you've returned to work or something.

http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/waking-a-sleepy-baby

this is some general info on how bf works, it may be helpful it you understand more, such as the supply things. You are not older, if you are able to have kids your body is able to make milk.

http://kellymom.com/pregnancy/bf-prep/milkproduction/

If you do need to pump for work at this point then check out this website, it's a great resource that can cover a lot of areas and may make your expectations of pump out put more reasonable. Remember to pump after you bf not before.

http://kellymom.com/category/bf/pumpingmoms/

The last thing I would do is if you are having to pump, encourage you to not only write the date but the time of day that you pumped. New research shows that bm is specially formulated for certain times of the day, so giving a baby a night time bottle of morning bm may make them more awake and make them have trouble sleeping.

http://www.nursingfreedom.org/2010/12/pump-and-go-part-1.html

http://www.everythingbirthblog.com/2012/05/how-did-i-miss-this-feed-expressed-breast-milk-at-the-same-time-of-day-as-you-pumped-it/

I would try your best to get back to bf, once that's better established with checking diapers and weight, then start pumping after you feed. If necessary rent a hospital grade breast pump in the beginning it may help and they usually aren't that expensive. I'd drop the formula completely. If for some reason after you try to get him back on the boob and with pumping you still feel like he isn't getting enough and you have evidence such as diaper count and no weight gain, then I would try a different formula that is easier to break down. I would avoid soy if possible bc especially for a boy it can mess with their hormones. But I highly suspect that you do not need to be supplementing with formula and a week after he stops ff you will see a dramatic decrease in gassy and fussiness.

Also have you talked to a lactation consultant? They probably have one at the hospital you gave birth at. I would check there or with LLLI (http://www.llli.org/) bc they could help making sure he is attaching properly and help you figure out if there could be a tongue tie problem or something like that. I really think though that you are just being "over cautious" (which you are a new mom so that's normal, LOL) and worried bc you can't measure the milk going into him except by pumping that you aren't giving him enough. Check out those links they are really valuable. I know you probably don't have loads of time, but I really think it will be worth your while to spend an hour looking at them and being reassured that you are doing what you are supposed to. Best of luck.

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