Foods That Cause Gas In Babies

Gas can make your newborn cranky and difficult to manage. Certain foods cause it and should be avoided. Also, here are some home remedies and great tips to relieve your baby's gas problem.

By Priya Kathpal  • 10 min read

Foods That Cause Gas In Babies

Ruchi Agarwal, a mother to a baby girl, was often confused about her baby's behaviour. Her daughter would start crying suddenly and without reason. After much thought, Ruchi consulted a doctor and it was then that she found out her daughter had gas.

A new mother may struggle to know what’s making her baby upset and irritable. But it’s generally just the gas or the air in your baby’s tummy that makes him uncomfortable for a few seconds while passing the gas. Babies usually pass gas several times every day. And certain foods cause gas in babies. Read more to know about the symptoms, causes and remedies for gas troubles in infants.

Symptoms of baby's gas problem:

A gassy baby may burp or fart, get fussy, bloated, may cry due to stomach cramps or have a hard tummy. Gas pain can also be identified if the infant arches his back and curls up his legs.

Causes of gas problem in babies:

1. Gentle tummy: Young kids have small and gentle tummies which can get upset very easily. Newborns experience gas pain as their intestines are not yet matured.

2. Swallowing of air: Infants swallow air when they feed on a breast or a bottle, when they suck a pacifier or even when they cry.

3. Lesser activity: Babies who are not crawling or sitting up yet, are more likely to suffer from trapped gas. Once they begin moving, the gas seems to pass more easily, relieving the child from distress.

4. Too much lactose in breast milk: This can lead to gas accumulation.

5. The introduction of formula: The infant’s digestive system takes a while to adjust to the formula and gas trouble is caused.

6. The introduction of solids: When new solid foods are introduced, babies tend to experience distress, especially with certain food groups.

Sometimes As your child reaches 7-8 months, you start him on solid food, to make food interesting for him, you start introducing different kinds of food. So far, so good. However, always keep in mind that some food causes a serious gas problem in your child as his digestive system is fully not developed. Also, some food breaks down slowly. It’s very important to feed nutritious foods to your child but you need to pay heed to ‘gas-producing’ foods too. Here’s a list of foods that can make the gas comes out within a few hours after eating these foods.

  1. Beans and dried legumes
  2. Vegetables of the cruciferae family: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower
  3. Bran ( any grain with its husk on)
  4. Oatmeal
  5. Fruits like apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, plums, apples and citrus fruits
  6. Corn
  7. Whole grains (particularly wheat)
  8. Onions

These foods are high in content of certain sugars and carbohydrates that the baby is unable to digest. This indigestible material goes to the child’s large intestine where it is processed by the natural ‘healthy’ gut bacteria. This, in turn, leads to the production of excess gas, their own waste product.

How to avoid gas formation in these foods

The above-mentioned foods may result in gas formation and need to be avoided. However, these foods also contain a lot of healthy nutrients which the child requires. We can see you are confused! We give you some ways to work around the gas formation of these foods. Check out these simple tricks, it might help you get out of this fix!

  • Soak dried legumes for 4-8 hours or preferably overnight before cooking them. Changing the water in which the legume is soaked a few times may also help. Much of the indigestible sugar in the legumes dissolves into the water which can be drained.
  • If you are cooking broccoli, use just the florets (stems can be saved for making stock). Stems may produce more gas and the florets are more nutritious for your baby anyway!
  • When cooking any of these gas-producing foods, add sliced fresh ginger to the cooking water. You may even add a little ginger to the finished dish. Ginger aids digestion. Introduce it from six months onwards as a ‘new food’ with an already introduced food which your baby enjoys eating.
  • Serve gas-producing food regularly to your baby so that her body gets accustomed to processing these foods.
  • When introducing beans, include different varieties! A particular variety of beans may produce gas, but the variant may not cause discomfort.
  • Avoid canned beans as these are not soaked and rinsed.
  • Make sure your little one has plenty of natural yogurts, which helps balance the healthy bacteria in his gut.
  • Introduce these gassy foods after eight months when your child’s digestive system is more mature. Your baby will also be more mobile to digest these foods by then.

Gas problem in Breastfed babies

If you are breastfeeding, be careful what you eat as your diet can hugely impact your babies gas problem. However, foods which make you gassy may not necessarily make your baby uncomfortable with gas. Most likely, it is the dairy products in your diet which are to be blamed. It could be milk, yogurt, curd, ice cream, or any milk products. Sometimes, foods like fish, corn, eggs, peanuts may also cause trouble. However, don't stop these foods abruptly hoping it would help your baby with gas issues! You to do a trial and error method to see what food causes an excess gas problem in your breastfed baby. 

Remedies for newborn gas trouble:

Slight changes here and there and tweaks to how your feed you child, can make your baby free from uncomfortable gassy feeling. Here is a list of things you can do to avoid gas formation in babies.

  1. During bottle-feeding or breastfeeding, ensure your feeding position is correct.
  2. Make your baby burp after each feed. If not, lay him down on his back and gently rub his tummy in a clockwise motion. Cycling on his back, with his legs in the air, may also be beneficial.
  3. A warm bath may soothe him and help him get rid of tummy cramps.
  4. Fibrous fruits, vegetables and whole-grains help proper regulation of the digestive tract.
  5. Give your child boiled and cooled water and other beverages like milk, fresh fruit juices and soups, but at proper stages and in correct amounts. Fruit juice contains sorbitols (sugar alcohols) that the baby can’t absorb. So limit the intake of juice.
  6. Engage your child in physical activity to ensure that his appetite and metabolism are active.
  7. If you are breastfeeding, your baby could have trouble digesting some of the foods that you eat like dairy products and caffeine.
  8. Gas drops can be used after consulting a paediatrician.
  9. Feed your baby smaller amount at frequent intervals.
  10. Keep your baby upright at an angle of 45 degrees during, and for about half-an-hour after, a feed.

These tips and tricks, along with your care, will ensure that your little one does not have any digestive troubles. However, if the symptoms persist or if your baby is in continuous distress, visit a paediatrician at once.

Also read: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Babies: All You Need to Know

About the expert:

Written by Priya Kathpal on 28 April 2017.

Priya is a nutritionist and Founder of Nutrify.

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