Thursday, 25 February 2016

Infant gas pain; that great source of distress to newborns and their mums

Not sooner had you returned from the hospital after having your baby and after the baby's umbilical cord had fallen than your baby began to writhe in pain, arch it's back and cry at intervals. It seemed to get worse at night.

 People around called it different names but the ones that stood out were colic and navel pain. They went ahead to reel out treatments which included gripe water, gbomoro, bitter kola water, salt water just name it. 
No matter which one you chose, the problem remained so you kept giving treatment after treatment to your baby whose organs are still very fragile and shouldn't be exposed to chemicals unless when completely necessary.  Familiar?

Infant gas can be distressing to both mother and baby. It is said to be a very normal occurrence in babies which usually happens either due to harmless bacteria breaking down sugars in the large intestines or air swallowed by the baby when crying or feeding. Several steps may need to be taken to reduce the gas and distress caused by it . This gas pain usually reduces as your baby's digestive system matures, sometime around the baby's fourth month.

When you feed your baby , keep your baby's head higher than his stomach. This ensures the milk sinks downwards and the gas goes up making it easier to burp out. Also use a leisurely pace, your baby tends to gulp in air when sucking at a fast pace. If your milk is flowing fast you may need to remove your baby for few seconds and then continue. You should also burp the baby at intervals preferably when the baby pauses during feeding. These help expel the gas that could cause pain and discomfort.

This gas can also be produced when a breastfeeding mum eats gas-forming vegetables and foods like cabbage, onions, beans, and even dairy products (like milk and cheese). Mums may need to monitor their babies' reactions for about 24 hours after they (the mums) have eaten certain foods to note the ones which cause discomfort to their babies and thus reduce their intake of such foods.

If you bottle-feed your baby, ensure the nipple of the bottle lets milk out slowly as fast flowing nipples could make the baby gulp in a lot of air when feeding. That is, let the nipple hole be small. You may also need to check if it is the formula that is causing the gas pain so you change the brand.

When your baby is experiencing gas pain, it is advised you put your baby on his back and gently massage his tummy in a clockwise direction, you could also gently pump the baby's leg back and forth like in a bicycle-riding pattern. These help release and expel some of the gas.

If the gas pain is accompanied by fever, your baby is extremely fussy or unable to  have bowel movements, or your instincts demand so, please take the baby to his pediatrician as soon as possible. It is always better  safe than sorry.

We need to reduce the rate at which we expose our babies to chemicals especially in the form of drugs. Drugs for babies should be ONLY when necessary and prescribed by a pediatrician.


  1. The beauty of it all is both man and women get educated by your posts. Please keep it up!

  2. nice writeup. well educating.

  3. Very well educating. This write-up confirmed all my impressions and experiences about a new born.l'm now well informed. Please keep it up.

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  5. If only stubborn mothers and in-laws can take heed of this,God bless u,my wife will never adhere to this,she prefers to listen to her mother and women who knows nothing about nursing

  6. Am afraid of the rate they are feeding my 10days old baby with this bitter kola water, hope the baby is safe?

  7. Nice write up. I hope new mums would take care to under that colic is normal in babies and its duratiin differs in babies.

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