Laxatives: Baby Gas Risk?

can laxatives make a baby gassy

It's common for babies to be gassy, especially in the first few months of their lives. This is usually caused by their immature digestive systems and the fact that they swallow air during feedings. While laxatives are not recommended for babies, they can be used by breastfeeding mothers, and it is possible that certain foods in a mother's diet could make a breastfed baby gassy. However, there is no conclusive evidence for this, and it is more likely that a gassy baby is caused by the baby swallowing air during feeding.

Characteristics Values
Can laxatives make a baby gassy? There is no evidence that laxatives make a baby gassy. However, gas in babies can be caused by an immature digestive system, swallowing air during feedings, or sensitivities to certain foods in a breastfeeding mother's diet or a specific type of formula.


Babies may be gassy due to an immature digestive system

It is completely normal for babies to be gassy, especially in their first two months of life. This is because they have immature and tiny digestive systems, and they swallow air during feedings.

How to Help Your Baby Feel Better

  • Try to keep your baby's head higher than their stomach during feeding. This way, the milk sinks to the bottom of the stomach, and the air goes to the top, making it easier to burp out.
  • Burp your baby during and after feeding. If they don't burp right away, lay them down on their back for a few minutes and then try again.
  • If you are bottle-feeding, switch to a slower-flow nipple.
  • Gently massage your baby, pump their legs back and forth (like riding a bike) while they are on their back, or give them tummy time (watch them while they lie on their stomach). A warm bath can also help them get rid of extra gas.
  • Talk to your baby's doctor about foods that may cause extra gas. For example, some babies have trouble digesting dairy products and caffeine in breast milk.
  • Offer your baby extra tummy time.

When to Worry

Most of the time, infant gas is normal and treatable. However, in rare cases, it can be a sign of a more serious digestive problem. Contact your doctor right away if your baby:

  • Does not poop, has bloody stools, or vomits.
  • Is very fussy and you can't get them to calm down.
  • Has a fever of 100.4 F or higher.
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Babies may swallow air during feedings, leading to gas

There are several reasons why babies may swallow air during feedings. One reason could be that they are crying or suckling, which can cause them to take in air along with their milk. This is more common when bottle-feeding, as the air can get trapped inside the bottles. Additionally, if a baby is hungry and frantically sucking during feeding, they are more likely to swallow air, so it is important to recognise the early signs of hunger and feed your baby before they get too hungry.

To prevent air swallowing during feedings, there are several tips you can try:

  • Use a feeding system that expels air from the container, such as an air-free feeding system.
  • Keep your baby in an upright position during feeding. This helps to keep food and acids in their belly, and also allows them to feed comfortably even if their face is tilted down slightly.
  • Avoid shaking the bottle to mix the contents, as this can create air bubbles that end up in your baby's tummy. Instead, stir the contents gently with a spoon.
  • Use a bottle with a soft nipple that contours to your baby's mouth and lips, preventing air from flowing along with the milk.
  • Slow down the feeding process to allow your baby to drink and swallow at a comfortable pace without gulping excessively.
  • Take breaks during feeding to burp your baby, as this can help release any swallowed air.

By following these tips, you can help minimise air swallowing during feedings and reduce the amount of gas your baby experiences.


Breastfeeding mothers' diets may cause gas in babies

While there is no definitive list of foods that every breastfeeding mother should avoid, certain items in a mother's diet may cause gas in her baby. Foods that are known to cause gas in adults, such as broccoli, cabbage, beans, and garlic, may also make a breastfed baby gassy or irritable. Dairy products are also a common culprit, with cow's milk being the most likely cause of gas in breastfed babies. In addition, high-fibre foods, fruits, vegetables, starches, and beverages such as coffee and carbonated drinks, may also be to blame.

It is important to note that not all babies will react to these foods in the same way, and most babies are fine with their mother's diet. However, if you notice a pattern of gassiness or fussiness in your baby after consuming certain foods, it may be worth eliminating them from your diet to see if your baby's gas improves.

If you are concerned about your baby's gas, it is best to consult a healthcare professional for advice. They may recommend an elimination diet, where you remove one potentially problematic food at a time to identify any triggers. It is also important to ensure that your baby has a good latch during nursing to avoid swallowing too much air, which can contribute to gas.

In most cases, gassiness in babies is normal and will improve with time as their digestive system matures.

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Bottle-fed babies may ingest air due to incorrect bottle angles

Additionally, it is important to shake the bottle gently before feeding to avoid creating excess air bubbles, which can be ingested by the baby and cause digestive issues. Using an anti-colic bottle can also help, as they are designed with ventilation systems that allow air to circulate without coming into contact with the milk.

It is also worth noting that bottle-fed babies tend to swallow more air than breastfed babies due to the nature of the feeding method. As such, it is important to burp bottle-fed babies during and after feeding to release any excess air they may have swallowed.

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Probiotics may help reduce gassiness in babies

Probiotics are recognised as good bacteria that are supposed to be beneficial to the gastrointestinal (GI) system and help with other health conditions. They are tiny living microorganisms like bacteria or yeast that help the digestive system.

While there is some evidence to support the use of probiotics to reduce gassiness in babies, it is important to note that there is still a lack of significant research on the topic. Some paediatricians may not recommend probiotics as a first-line treatment for gassiness in babies due to the limited evidence. However, they may suggest trying probiotics as there is likely no harm in doing so.

It is always recommended to consult your child's doctor before giving them any supplements, including probiotics.

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Frequently asked questions

Laxatives are not recommended for babies. If your baby is constipated, it is best to consult a doctor for advice.

A gassy baby will pass a lot of gas and seem to feel better afterward. Other signs include crying and fussiness for an hour or more a day, unhappiness, trouble sleeping or eating, and squirming as though uncomfortable.

Here are some ways to relieve your baby's gas:

- Burp your baby twice, once during feeding and once after.

- Feed your baby in an upright position.

- Feed your baby before meltdowns.

- Lay your baby tummy-down and gently massage their back.

- Offer infant gas drops.

- Encourage tummy time.

- Give your baby a massage.

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