Does your child have gas?

Gas is actually air that enters the baby's digestive system, or the product of food fermentation during digestion. It manifests itself as burping or flatulence and, although it is most common during a child's first few months of life, frequent, uncomfortable gas can still be around by the age of two. There are things you can do to help alleviate and prevent it.

Around 80% of babies have gas during their first few months of life. This occurs for two reasons. One is because their digestive systems are immature, while the second is that they have a gastrocolic reflex that makes the intestine begin to move when they eat. Under normal circumstances this is not too serious. However, if the gas becomes too uncomfortable or lasts for longer than the baby's first year, there are ways to calm it down.

Babies younger than six months

If you are breastfeeding, let your baby finish feeding from one breast before changing to the other. There is no scientific evidence for this, but it is said that the milk from the first causes more gas than the milk from the second. Try to burp your child more often. If you are bottle feeding, use anti-colic teats. Make sure that they are the right size (if they are too small, more gas will be created) and don't shake the bottle too much so you don't create bubbles.

From six months to one year

The more water children drink, the less gas they have. At this age, circular massaging works well. You can do this with special creams that have a calming effect on the baby's gastrointestinal tract.

From one year

Try to make meals smaller but more frequent and encourage your child to eat slowly. The lighter the meal, the less gas there will be as a result. Purées or finely chopped food will go down better and prebiotics and probiotics will help (in yoghurt, whole cereals, formulas and purées that contain them). Keep your child's stomach always covered and apply some warmth to alleviate and prevent the problem.

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