When babies have their meals (milk), they inadvertently swallow gas too, be it from breastfeed, or from bottle. This gas can remain trapped in their digestive system, causing much discomfort and squirming in babies. This may, in turn, lead to spit-ups and gas problems.
So how are they swallowing gas? Breastfed babies can swallow gas if they are too hungry and are hurriedly feeding, or the mother's milk flow is strong. Bottle feeders on the other hand, are more prone to gas, especially since milk flow is speedy, nipple hole can be large, etc.
Feed babies by raising their head and body to a 45 degree angle. In between feeds, you can burp them, if the baby has a problem of gas. Breastfeeding moms can burp while changing breasts.
To burp a baby, you can use different techniques. Firstly, keep the palm of your hand in a slight cup-like form, so that baby does not feel pain when you pat her back. Now, lets go into the techniques:
1) The shoulder hold:- Rest the baby on your shoulder, in such a way that the baby's stomach presses against your shoulder. It is important for pressure to be applied on baby's tummy for fast release of gas. Then gently pat starting from the baby's lower back and pat upwards. Do this a few times and then gently rub downwards from upper back to lower back. Remember to support baby's neck and body with the other hand.
2) The seated position:- Make the baby sit on your lap, facing outwards(see image). Hold the baby by hooking your arm under his armpits, tilting the head forward, body should be leaning forward. Now pat gently on the back. The stomach is compressed here, due to leaning forward. Be careful, if baby's neck muscles are not strong, he should not jerk it backwards suddenly...
3) The tummy time:- This is one position, you must make your baby practice often. For burping, place your baby across your lap, so that pressure is on baby's stomach. Baby faces downwards. Support baby's neck by holding his chin, not the neck. Now pat gently from lower back to upper back till baby burps.
If baby takes time to burp, you can try alternating between these three positions. Even after one burp, you should continue patting for a while, and keep baby in upright position for 10-15 minutes. Give baby plenty of tummy time when she is awake, but be near during this time to keep an eye on her. Tummy time will help release gas and help to make back and neck muscles stronger. Whenever massaging baby, or even while playing, flex baby's legs by bending knee to the chest. Massage baby's tummy gently, in clockwise circular motions.
In spite of these measures, baby can still develop gas. I will soon be putting a post on a wonderful home remedy for gas in babies, which came to my baby's rescue when he had gas. Take care dears...