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20 Jul 2016

How to Ease Trapped Wind in Babies

Trapped wind can be distressing for infants as well as parents, especially when it appears to have become a recurring problem.

Today on the Rowlands Pharmacy blog we’re exploring some of the causes of trapped wind in babies, as well as effective remedies and useful methods of preventing trapped wind that you may wish to try.

Recognising the symptoms of trapped wind

baby with trapped wind

Wouldn’t it be lovely if little ones could tell us what was wrong with them? Unfortunately, at a young age their main means of communication is crying, so when you have a grizzly, windy baby, it can be difficult to know what is wrong.

Along with vocal signals, you should look out for restlessness and squirming. Babies may also bring their knees up to their chests because of the discomfort they are experiencing.

Burping techniques for trapped wind relief

baby with trapped wind

When you’ve tried feeding, resting and changing your baby and they still seem unsettled, trapped wind could well be the problem. Sometimes this can be relatively easy to relieve by following some of the burping techniques below.

When it comes to burping, a technique that works for one baby won’t necessarily do for all, so be prepared to experiment a little to find a method that works for you and your baby.

Generally there are three variations on post-feeding burping, which are:

1.    Leaning your baby against your shoulder upright, again rubbing their back to help wind to pass – this is the technique most commonly used.

2.    Sitting your baby in an upright position with back supported and rubbing their back in circular motions in both directions.

3.    Laying baby comfortably facing downwards on your lap, which helps to put pressure on their tummy, again rubbing in circular motions.

Burping may help your baby feed for longer and assist with posseting (bringing up milk) but if your baby seems happy, content and comfortable after their feed, then burping may not be necessary. However, if they are showing common signs of trapped wind such as pulling away during feeding, squirming or pulling their knees up to their chest, then try one of the above burping techniques to see if this helps them. If discomfort persists, you could try giving baby a massage in a warm bath.

You should find that as your infant gets older, they require less burping. However, if the symptoms of trapped wind appear to be more persistent in your baby, it could signal that they have colic or a lactose intolerance. If you are worried about any of your baby’s symptoms or have any questions, we would always recommend speaking to your GP or health visitor.

Preventing trapped wind in babies

baby with trapped wind

Trapped wind can be caused by a number of factors, but there are methods and products you can use to try and reduce the likelihood of it occurring.

The position of your baby during bottle or breastfeeding can also play a part, and many experts recommend supporting your baby in a sitting position during feeding so that they are able to swallow comfortably.

For bottle-fed babies, anti-colic bottles and teats are designed to improve the flow of milk, reducing the amount of air your baby takes in as they feed. Ensuring the teat of your bottle is full of milk when tilted should also help.

We hope that you have found the above information on trapped wind in babies helpful. If you’re concerned your baby may have an allergy or intolerance that is contributing to the symptoms of trapped wind, or other digestive discomfort, please speak to your GP or health visitor before making any changes to feeding. If they do have a lactose allergy or intolerance, you may be advised to try eliminating it from your own diet if breastfeeding or for bottle fed babies, lactose free infant formula is available.