Those high-pitched, enduring screams coming from your baby are not the hunger or diaper-changing cries you are familiar with. If your newborn is practically inconsolable, crying for hours and nothing you do seems to help, she might be dealing with gas pain in her digestive system. Gas pain in newborns is often a symptom of colic, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. While you can try to prevent gas pain in your newborn by reducing gases in his milk and burping him often, you can also provide comfort during gas pain attacks with a variety of soothing methods.
Massage your baby's tummy gently in a clockwise direction, which is the direction in which the intestines work, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Use two or three fingers to apply a mild pressure around her stomach.
Try baby bends, which may help relax your baby's abdominal muscles during a gas pain attack, according to Dr. Bill Sears. To do the bicycle pump, lay your baby on his back and cycle his legs as if he's riding a bicycle, making sure his legs go all the way up to his stomach and extend again fully. For the colic curl, place your baby's back against your chest, holding his bottom with one of your arms. Curl your arm up so that his legs come up to his chest and back down gain.
Hold your baby in the "football hold." Dr. Sears recommends holding your infant along your forearm, stomach-down, with her head close the the crook of your elbows. Her legs should be straddling your hand. Gently press your forearm into your baby's hard stomach to help with gas pain.
Rock and bounce your baby. Moving your baby up and down, side to side and forward and backwards can be both soothing and help to get her intestines moving. Keep a steady, gentle bounce while moving, but do not shake your baby vigorously. You can do this while also holding your baby in the football hold or by holding her on your chest, with her head nestled between your chin and chest.
Lay your baby on a warm water bottle. Put mildly warm water in a water bottle and place it inside of cotton material, such as a cloth diaper, a T-shirt or something similar. Lay your baby stomach-down onto the water bottle. Rub her back and turn her head to the side to ensure her breathing is not blocked.
Try giving your baby gripe water. Gripe water is water infused with herbs such as dill, fennel and other natural ingredients known to soothe and calm colicky infants. Ingredients vary based on manufacturer, however. Make sure to choose an all natural gripe water that does not contain sugar or alcohol, which is found in the traditional versions. Although a popular colic remedy for decades, it has never been tested to prove it works. It is important to talk with your pediatrician before giving your baby gripe water.
- Avoid gassy foods if you are breastfeeding, as your baby will consume the gas through your milk. This includes most dairy products, spicy foods and vegetables known to cause excess gas, such as broccoli.
- Talk to your baby's pediatrician about changing formulas if you are formula feeding, which could be the culprit of his gas issues.
- Burp your baby after every ounce or two of formula.
- Don't hesitate to take your baby to the pediatrician if he is completely inconsolable after several hours. He may have a more serious problem that only a doctor can detect.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Infantile Colic
- American Pregnancy Association: Colic
- Ask Dr. Sears: 10 Tips for Comforting Colic
- Mayo Clinic: Lifestyle and Home Remedies
- Healthline: Treating Acid Reflux in Infants
- Los Angeles Times: Gripe Water is Safe for Babies with Colic, But No Studies Show It Works
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images