How to Relieve Infant Gas Pain

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Relieving gas pain in infants is hit or miss, because nothing has actually proven to reduce this. Decide what steps to take when trying to relieve your infant's gas pain with help from a doctor in this free video on toddler ailments.

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Video Transcript

Hi I am Dr. David Hill, and today we are going to be talking about relieving your infant's gas pains. Now infants cry for a lot of reasons. They might be hungry, wet, they might need a diaper change, they might need to be held, they might need to suck. However, some infants seem to draw their legs up, and really seem to be in discomfort. Now infants are going to pass gas a lot anyway; that is what they do. They will swallow air when they feed, and the bacteria that are culminized in the intestines are going to digest whatever food is left over in there, and that is going to generate gas as well. So it is not unusual for infants to pass gas frequently, and happily. And it probably does make them a little uncomfortable while they are going through it. Some babies seem to cry an awful lot; this is called colic when they have this, and it usually occurs around six weeks of age, and last until three months of age, and then it gets better. These babies certainly do seem to be having abdominal pain, but nobody has really figured out what works to make that better. It is very frustrating for parents, and for physicians. Babies who have colic also tend to cry at the same time every day. Usually in the evening around seven, eight, nine, or ten at night. They will cry continually for one, two, or three hours, and they are often difficult if not impossible to console. We frequently try antacid medicines like rentidine or previcid, and sometimes we also try simethicone drops. A popular brand is Mylicon. It is rare that either of these interventions really work while some babies may have gastroesophageal reflux making them cry it is rarely related to colic. We estimate two or three percent of the time. Mylicon while it is very popular, and there are a lot of people who swear by it has in randomized control trials never really been shown to do very much. So if you are using Mylicon, and it does not seem to help don't feel bad about not using it. Nobody knows that it actually works. You certainly can do some things to help your baby feel better. One is to turn your baby over on it's tummy, and pat his back. Now you don't ever want an infant sleeping on his tummy until he is at an age where he can roll over himself onto and off of his tummy at will. However, you can hold an awake baby on his tummy, on your chest, or on your arm, or on your lap, and this does seem to make the abdominal discomfort better. There are lots of different bottles, and nipples that are marketed for gas. Unfortunately, the scientific literature is almost completely silent on whether any of these work. So as a doctor I don''t know what to recommend, but certainly you can try different bottles and nipples, and see if there is one that works for you. Likewise if your baby is breastfed you might try taking dairy products or soy out of your diet to see if that has any impact. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, but it is something to try. If your baby is formula fed you might want to try a hypo-allergenic formula, again to look for possible milk protein allergy. A couple of the best examples of these are Nutramigen, Pregestimil, and Alimentum all of which have broken down milk protein. You can also try the soy formula, although that half the babies who have a reaction to milk protein will also have a reaction to soy protein. Talking about babies and gas I am Dr. David Hill.


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