Inside: Find out 7 easy and effective bottle feeding tips to prevent and gas so you can have a happy baby!
It was 2 o’clock in the morning and my sweet little 5 week old baby girl was crying for an hour straight. Not normal “baby crying”. I’m talking back-arching, red-faced, legs scrunched, screaming-crying.
And I was crying with her.
I was at a loss for words and had no idea what to do.
Was it colic? Did her stomach hurt? Is this a sign that something is seriously wrong and I just don’t know it??
Then, as if heaven opened up, she let out an earth-shaking burp and toot -what we call passing gas in our house 🙂
Low and behold, she had a really, really, bad case of trapped gas!
From that night forward, I vowed to do everything I can to prevent it from happening again.
If your baby is experiencing gas pains, I’m going to share all of my best tips and tricks to help you prevent and eliminate any gas troubles!
I used these same exact tips with my first baby to help reduce gas and with my second baby to help prevent gas troubles from ever arising.
And it’s worked!
Here are 7 easy baby bottle feeding tips to reduce gas and prevent discomfort in your baby’s tummy.
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What are the signs my baby has gas?
When your baby is experiencing gas, it can look like:
- Excessive crying
- Red face
- Arched back while crying
- Scrunched legs
In my personal experience, my daughter’s colic had a lot to do with her gas issues (and feeding issues that I’ll show you how to prevent).
How to identify baby gas issues?
Sometimes gas pains can mirror signs of colic. That’s why it’s so important to track your baby’s feedings, poops, and overall behavior every day.
To identify the difference between normal gas and gas issues, you’ll want to write down when your baby eats, how much, and their mood afterwards.
If you are breastfeeding, also keep a food diary of what you are eating and when because your diet directly affects what your baby is eating.
If you start to see a pattern of:
- fussiness after eating,
- baby stops fussing after burping or passing gas,
- is irritable for more than an hour everyday,
- showing discomfort when cries (red face, pulling up legs, arching back)
- not sleeping or eating well
These are just some common signs that your baby is experiencing gas troubles. If you notice a consistent pattern of these signs, it’s time to visit the pediatrician and possibly discuss other feeding options such as a mom diet change for breastfed babies or a formula change.
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Why do babies get gas?
Babies are naturally gassy! A baby’s digestive system is still developing and is maturing as they grow.
Just like adults, when we eat and our belly grumbles, a baby’s stomach does the same thing but they are too little to vocalize it and their systems are immature.
That’s why we burp babies, because they can’t burp themselves yet.
Babies also tend to swallow air when eating and this creates little bubbles of gas in their tummies.
7 Easy Baby Bottle Feeding Tips to Prevent Gas
Here is the list of exact step by step tips I used to help prevent and reduce gas in my babies.
I started using these tips when my first born was 4 weeks and used them immediately after birth when my second was born.
1. Angle Your Baby When Feeding
The first bottle feeding tip to reduce gas in babies to position your baby at least 45 degrees on your lap when feeding.
Don’t lay your baby down to eat.
A good tip to keep an eye out for is to make sure their head should be elevated higher than their stomach.
Your baby doesn’t have to be sitting straight up, 90 degrees, but you just want to keep their head and elevated so they can digest properly.
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2. Fill Bottle Nipple
One of the main culprits that causes gas is when your baby swallows air.
To prevent this from happening, fill the bottle nipple completely with milk so your baby is only swallowing the milk and not extra air.
The key to this tip is to use the slowest nipple your baby can tolerate without getting frustrated (and taking 10 years to eat haha).
You want to use a slow flow nipple so your baby isn’t just swallowing large amounts of milk, which can another cause of gas and can leave lead to increase spit ups.
If you are using the pace bottle feeding method, be sure to use an anti-colic bottle (see tip below!) and a slow flow nipple.
3. Use Anti-Gas Bottles to Prevent Gas
This bottle feeding tip to prevent gas is kind of obvious, but can really be a difference between a fussy baby and a calm, comfortable baby.
When I was a new mom making my baby registry, I had no idea why there were 100 different bottles.
After my baby was born and we started to experience baby gas troubles, I totally understood.
Different bottles have different functions.
- Standard, regular, “I can buy these at the dollar store” bottles.
- Breastfeeding bottles that mimic a breast
- Anti-colic bottles
- Anti-gas bottles
- Wide nipple bottles
- Narrow nipple bottles
- & so on!
The bottles you want to focus on are anti-colic/anti-gas bottles. They have a ton of different options out there too that will best fit your baby’s needs.
To cut to the chase, these bottles are designed to eliminate extra air so your baby isn’t swallowing large amount of air when they suck.
Most of anti-gas bottles have a vent of some sort to dispel that air from the bottle.
I’ve personally used the Tommy Tippee anti-colic Closer to Nature bottles and Dr. Browns bottles.
Each of these bottles come in a wide nipple or standard nipple depending if your little one is breastfeeding or not (the wide nipple mirrors the natural breast-like feeling)
In my experience, the Dr. Browns bottles work better for my babies because I’ve noticed they have considerably less gas when we used them and they are easier to hold.
The downside to these bottles is the extra parts. More parts mean more dishes/cleaning but in my opinion, it’s worth it if my baby is going to be less gassy and happier 🙂
Want to make sure your baby has a full feeding so they sleep better? Check out this post to help you reach full feedings!
4. Burp after every ounce to Prevent Gas
A baby’s system isn’t mature enough yet to “burp by itself”. You know when you drink soda really fast and you feel a bubbly sensation and then burp? No one had to pat your back to burp you. Your body did it on it’s own.
A baby’s digestive system can’t perform that function yet.
So instead of just releasing the gas through a burp like an adult, your baby just feels that uncomfortable, bubbly sensation….and therefore cries.
To prevent the gas from building up in your little one’s belly, you want to frequently burp your baby during her feedings.
Not every 2 minutes where he gets frustrated and is screaming from hunger. But after every ounce or 2, simply burp your baby.
How to burp your baby:
- place your baby in a burping position
- cup your hand slightly
- gently pat their back for a couple of seconds (30-60 seconds)
Doing this after every ounce or so can help prevent and reduce your baby’s gas.
Common burping positions:
- Place baby upright with their belly flat against your shoulder and pat their back
- Sit baby straight up on your lap and gently lean them a bit forward while holding their chest and pat their back
- Lay baby flat on their belly on your forearm while your hand is gripping/securing their chest and pat baby’s back (football hold)
Remember to always have a burp cloth ready for the occasional spit up!
5. Bicycle Legs
This baby gas tip is for after feedings or can be done with your baby is actuall crying with gas.
Simply lay baby on their back on a secure, flat surface. Start to move their legs up toward their chest and then back down again. Mimicing a bicycle!
This helps release gas and comforts them when they are experiencing gas.
6. Keep baby elevated every 10 minutes for 1-2 minutes
Another great tip to prevent and reduce baby gas is to keep your baby elevated for a couple of minutes after every 10 minutes during a feeding.
This also is a good hack for babies who struggle with reflux!
I incorporate this tip during every feeding by combining it with my daughter’s burp time.
Every other time I burp her, I will keep her upright and elevated for a couple of minutes after she burps just to really secure her from getting any gas.
7. Optional: Use a Probiotic
15 minutes after I delivered my daughter, she was sent to the NICU and received 2 doses of antibiotics every 12 hours for 3 days. At the time, I had no idea the possible effect antibiotics can have on a 1 hour old baby!
After my daughter started showing signs of colic (and extreme gas), my husband and I went on the hunt to do anything we can to help her. I changed my breastfeeding diet, started to supplement, switched formula 4 times, and eventually arrived at our solution…
My daughter needed probiotics.
Her system was so immature to handle the antibiotics and it affected her digestive system.
We stumbled upon the Gerber Soothe formula that had a special probiotic already mixed in. within 2 weeks, my daughter was a different baby. She slept better, ate better, and was overall so much happier!
Gerber also makes the probiotic in drop form that you can add to any milk or drop into your baby’s mouth.
If your baby is struggling with gas or colic, talk to your pediatrician about the possibility of a probiotic. It might be your saving grace like it was for us!
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Well there you have it! I hope these 7 easy bottle feeding tips to prevent gas helps your little one feel better, happier, and more comfortable.
And I hope it give you the confidence to know that you are doing a great job!