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Babies 0-12 Months | Your Baby's Wellbeing

Tummy Trouble: What to do when your baby has wind

IN A KNOT
What is wind?

Put simply, wind is air that is trapped in your baby’s stomach. Air gets swallowed along with milk during feeding, or when baby cries. The pressure exerted by this trapped air causes abdominal pain and discomfort, which means that your baby is not a happy chappy. Babies’ digestive systems are still developing, which means that their tummies sometimes take in more air than they should.

TWIST AND SHOUT
How do I know if my baby has wind?

Your baby may have wind if he stops feeding, wriggles around, cries or is generally niggly, particularly when put into a lying-down position after feeding.

THAT’S MUCH BETTER
How to alleviate wind in babies

Babies will eventually outgrow this problem, but in the interim there are a number of things that you can do to alleviate the discomfort:

Breastfeed

Studies show that breastfed babies tend to have fewer problems with wind than formula-fed babies. This is due largely to the fact that, when breastfeeding, babies can control the flow of milk, meaning that less air is swallowed. Breast milk also appears to contain natural substances that ease the stomach.

Bolster

Another reason that breastfeeding helps prevent (or lessen the severity of) wind is that breastfed babies are held in a semi-upright position. If you are bottle-feeding your baby or if you have a very strong flow of breast milk, try to prop him up with a cushion, which will prevent him from gulping in too much air while swallowing the milk.

Baby massage

Studies show that baby massage can help soothe tummy pain. Good for all babies and not just those with wind, infant massage is an ancient practice that has recently enjoyed new-found popularity due to its many benefits, which include pain relief, relaxation, good blood flow and parent/child bonding. Get into a routine by massaging baby at the same time every day, in a dim, pleasantly warm room, when he’s at his happiest. Rather than mineral-based baby oil, use grapeseed or almond oil. Massage baby all over, using light, comforting pressure. When you get to the tummy area, massage in a circular, clockwise motion.

Burst the bubbles

Several medications exist which claim to ease the discomfort associated with excess wind. Often prescribed for babies who also present with colic, these treatments work by producing larger air bubbles, which are then released as the baby burps. It’s the smaller air bubbles which are harder for infants to expel, and which cause the agony. Some mothers swear by gripe water, a classic remedy which is said to warm the infant’s stomach, neutralize acid and help in the breaking down of air bubbles. Speak to your doctor or paediatrician for advice if you would like to tackle the problem with medication.

Burp

By far the most successful treatment for wind is an effective burping technique. Each baby responds differently, so it’s a case of trial and error. There are tried and trusted positions, though, that have shown to do the trick. We’ve listed our top 4 below. Whichever position you choose, don’t forget to drape a burp cloth near baby’s head.  And burp baby often: once mid-feed then again at the end should suffice, but do it more often if necessary.

1. With baby’s bottom on your leg (seated), let him lean slightly forward with his head on your hand, then gently hold his jaw forward with your thumb and forefinger, lightly patting his back. This stretches his spine, relieving abdominal pressure.

2. Seat baby on your leg, placing one hand on his back and the other on his chest. Lift his head upwards, towards your chin. This will elongate his body, allowing the air to make its escape.

3. Sit down and stretch baby over your lap face-down, his head hanging over your one leg and his body over the other. Rub or pat his back in this relaxing position until he burps (or falls asleep!)

4. Standing, hold your baby over your shoulder with his chest against yours. Cup your hand slightly and rub or pat him lightly on the back until the pressure is relieved and the air is expelled.

REFERENCES

www.netdoctor.co.uk

www.medicinenet.com

www.mayoclinic.com

www.nmihi.com

www.babiesonline.com

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