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What causes gas in babies: Foods to avoid, and home remedies which provide relief

Priya Kathpal Priya Kathpal 5 Mins Read

Priya Kathpal Priya Kathpal


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

What causes gas in babies: Foods to avoid, and home remedies which provide relief

Ruchi Agarwal, a mother to a baby girl, was often confused about her baby's behavior. Her daughter would start crying suddenly and without reason. A worried Ruchi consulted a doctor and it was then that she found out her daughter had gastric issues.

A new mother may struggle to know what's making her baby upset and irritable. But it's generally just gas 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 to look out for

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

Infants have small and gentle tummies which can get upset very easily. Newborns experience gas pain as their intestines are not yet mature.

2. Swallowing of air

Infants swallow air when they feed on a breast or a bottle, or 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. Introduction of formula

The infant's digestive system takes a while to adjust to the formula and gas trouble is caused.

5. Introduction of solids

When new solid foods are introduced, babies tend to experience digestive distress, especially with certain food groups.

As your child reaches 7-8 months, you might start him on solid food, and to make food interesting for him, you start introducing different kinds of food. However, always keep in mind that some foods can cause serious gas problems in your child as his digestive system is not yet fully developed. Also, some foods break down slowly. It's very important to feed nutritious meals to your child but you need to pay heed to gas-producing foods too. Here's a list of foods that can make your baby feel gassy.

Foods that can cause gas in babies
  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 have a high content of sugar and carbohydrates, which make digestion difficult for your baby. This indigestible material goes to the child's large intestine where it is processed by the gut bacteria. This in turn leads to the production of excess gas.

How to help your baby enjoy these foods without the fear of gas formation

Although the foods mentioned above may result in gas formation in babies, they also contain a lot of healthy nutrients which babies require. Check out these simple tricks to help you with 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 and can be drained.
  • If you are cooking broccoli, use only the florets (stems can be saved for making stock). Stems may produce more gas and the florets are nutritious for your baby.
  • When cooking any of these foods, add sliced 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 with an already introduced food that your baby enjoys eating.
  • 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 help balance the healthy bacteria in his gut.
  • Introduce these gassy foods after eight months when your child's digestive system is more mature.

Gas problem in breastfed babies

If you are breastfeeding, be careful of what you eat as your diet can hugely impact your baby's digestion. Remember that foods that make you gassy may not necessarily make your baby gassy too. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, curd, or ice cream, fish, corn, eggs, peanuts may cause gas, so consume these foods in moderation to avoid affecting your baby.

Remedies for gas trouble

Slight changes here and there and tweaks to how your feed your child, can make your baby free from the 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 that the baby's feeding position is correct.
  2. Make your baby burp after each feed.
  3. A warm bath may soothe him and help him get rid of tummy cramps.
  4. If you have started feeding your baby solid foods after 7 to 8 months, include fibrous fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in his diet. These 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 the right amount. 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. Medication can be given after consulting a pediatrician.
  9. Feed your baby a smaller amount of food than usual, 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 pediatrician at once.

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