Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to give your newborn a whole bunch of nutrition and powerful antibodies. In fact, breast milk is loaded with the essential vitamins and minerals a growing baby needs. Plus, you get to bond with your baby while nursing, making it an enjoyable experience too.
But if you have noticed that your baby seems to be suffering from gas, you might start wondering what is happening. Is it something you have done? Can certain foods you have eaten affect your breast milk?
We’re going to find out the answers to those questions and more.
Will My Diet Affect My Breastfed Baby?
Any baby is going to have gas, regardless of what you feed them. Gas is a natural occurrence in the digestive tract. The only reason babies seem to get more of it is because their stomachs are not as “experienced.” Usually, a baby passing gas is no big deal. There is also no reason for you to assume that something you ate is the culprit for their gas.
That said, if your baby is acting like they are uncomfortable or have excessive amounts of gas, you might want to start asking some questions. Is there something you ate that your baby is sensitive to? Or is there something happening during feeding that is causing gassiness and discomfort?
Foods That Give Breastfed Babies Gas
While most mothers can eat foods that they enjoy with few problems, some babies will have food sensitivities. These colic-causing foods enter the breast milk after you consume them and can upset your baby’s belly in as little as two hours. When this happens, your little one may act fussy and experience gas for about 24 hours. The fussiness won’t happen again until you eat the colic-causing food.
Here are some foods that can cause gas:
- Dairy products – possible allergenic proteins (whey, casein, etc.) can enter your breast milk
- Caffeine – found in soft drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate, and certain cold medications
- Spicy food
- Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions
Although the listed foods can cause issues, it doesn’t mean they will. You also shouldn’t immediately eliminate all these foods from your diet, because any gas you experience is the result of reactions happening in your own gastrointestinal tract; and your gas cannot affect your milk.
Other Common Reasons For Gas In Breastfed Babies
If it doesn’t seem like something you are eating is aggravating your baby’s food sensitivities, then your baby’s gas could be the result of something else. Many babies have gas and may seem like they are straining, but this is due to an immature GI tract. As your baby grows, the gas will become more manageable.
Other common reasons for gas include:
- Too much breast milk, too fast. Sometimes the let down of milk is so fast that your baby will choke and gulp, taking in air when swallowing.
- Crying. Babies will swallow air when crying, so crying can cause gas.
- Long periods without a bowel movement.
- Anything that your baby is consuming outside of breast milk, such as vitamins, juice, solids, medications, or formula can cause gas.
Since gas in babies is unavoidable, you really can’t get rid of it entirely. Still, you can learn how to manage gas when it does happen. Here are some tips to help:
Gentle Pressure On The Baby’s Belly
Wait about half an hour after feeding your baby before trying this. Once food has settled, you can add some gentle pressure to your baby’s belly to help push trapped gas out.
Also known as the magic hold, colic carry, or football, the forearm carry implies holding the baby face down with their stomach resting against the length of your forearm. Make sure their head is slightly tilted to avoid blocking their mouth and nose. Carry them in this position for a while, since it will add gentle pressure to the belly.
Once in awhile during feeding, about every 5-10 minutes, you should take a break during feedings and burp your baby, especially during the first few weeks. This can help limit the amount of air your baby is swallowing.
Burp your baby as they sit in a seated position, cradling the head with your hand. Once your baby has burped, lay them down, let the food re-settle, and start again.
Keep a Food Journal
If no amount of massaging your baby’s tummy and burping can help with gas, then you might be eating something that is upsetting your baby’s belly. Track the food you eat for about a week while noting the symptoms. You will eventually start to notice that some foods cause more gas than others. Identify the foods that are causing sensitivities to flare and eliminate them for now.
Remember, don’t restrict yourself too much. Both of you need a full spectrum of minerals and vitamins to stay healthy.
Hopefully, you now have some insight into what can give breastfed babies gas. Most of the time, it is nothing you are eating, though there are incidences where a baby may have a food intolerance that gets upset when you eat something. Fortunately, most bouts of gas are completely natural and can be managed with a little belly massage or pressure and plenty of burp breaks.
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