In my pediatric consultation I can say that every day when a newborn arrives for control, an obligatory question of parents is 'how can I remove the gases from the baby, doctor?' and, immediately after, 'How long do you have to vent the baby?
And there are infinite doubts regarding the blessed gases of the little one, something that obsesses and anguishes parents because of the consequences it can have on their children: colic-type abdominal pain with uncontrollable crying of the little one, which requires searching promptly helps in clinic emergencies, or others such as restlessness, cold sweats, paleness, distended abdomen and tympanic (sounds like a drum).
After feeding the baby, we immediately pick him up, usually placing him upright. Immediately, the milk (whether human or artificial) goes to the bottom of the stomach because it is heavier and the gases, because they are lighter, rise above the milk and seek an outlet, usually through the mouth and burping occurs. . But actually not all babies suffer from gas and it is not necessary to help remove them, since they either produce little gas or they expel them easily.
If the baby falls asleep after breastfeeding, it is not necessary to wake him up to remove the gases, since it is evident that they do not bother him or he has nothing to expel, so the best thing to do is leave him alone, of course always keeping an eye on him.
There are others that just finish breastfeeding, expel them as a burp (through the mouth) or through the rectum, scientifically called flatus (farts, feathers, peos) or others, will expel them after a while after having eaten on their own. It may also be that they neither expel nor even expel a gas, despite spending time helping them expel them and that is when parents or the people around them are left waiting for the blessed gas, even if it is a small one.
And if the burp becomes big and noisy, they even party, they even applaud, a great feat, but also if the gas is expelled from the rectum they are surprised and think that this should not be normal, that is, they have to go out on a swear through the mouth, if not it is useless and they even think that the baby may be sick.
In truth, there are many myths around the blessed gases of the infant, which must be dismantled and generally they are stopped when babies begin to have more mobility and this is more or less after 3 years. 4 months old, although there are mothers or grandmothers, who insist on taking them out until they start complementary feeding.
Babies who are breastfed produce less gas, since human milk is very easy to digest. Its components such as protein (whey and casein), lactose and fat are more easily digested than those contained in artificial milk, also called 'formula', which also prevents problems of diarrhea or constipation, which also lead to increased gas production.
Infant gas can also be attributed to other situations, which allow the baby to swallow air and accumulate in his digestive system, such as:
- A bad attachment of the baby to the teat, where his mouth does not make a good latch.
- An inadequate position of the mother and the baby when breastfeeding.
- Frequent and continuous crying.
More gas production is also observed in certain pathologies such as:
- Crisis or growth shoots, due to fermentation of large amounts of lactose.
- Food intolerances or allergies.
- Gastroenteritis or enterocolitis, due to viral or bacterial infectious processes.
When they come to the consultation and the parents ask me to teach them how to get rid of gas from your baby, I explain the following ways to do it:
- Place the baby upright on your shoulder and with one hand make movements on the back, massaging from the bottom up. It is the most traditional position and the one that apparently is the best to remove gases, it is also a position where the baby is more comfortable and feels the warmth and warmth of his mother, or whoever performs it.
- Placing him face down on your lap and also doing with one hand, ascending massage movements on the back.
- It can also be placed on the forearm face down, cooing type.
- With abdominal massages (for me the best). The hand moves clockwise over the baby's abdomen, applying slight pressure. It is done several times.
- And, also, through flexion and extension movements of the legs on the abdomen, what they call the bicycle movement, one leg is flexed on the abdomen and the other is stretched.
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