Lessons learned from a gassy baby

you wouldn’t know it, but i can solve the world’s energy crisis!


When you’re in the midst of the first several weeks of sleepless nights with a new infant, it’s inconceivable that you don’t remember the details just months later.  Despite already having a child and documenting every feeding, diaper change, nap, etc on my massive spreadsheet, I struggled to remember nuances of nursing, sleep, and particularly….GAS!

Our hospital has a wonderful resource called the Baby Line.  Nurses answer your calls and provide moral support and tactics based on the thousands of calls they get.  I’m sure they have caller ID….”Oh great, it’s HER again!”

Our first kid was a quiet sleeper.  The second grunted and made noise all night.  Here are some important tricks I learned from trial and error, doctor’s advice, and the Baby Line.  While I’m no expert, maybe some of these lessons and tips can help you…and me should we have another child…

  • Babies are loud sleepers.  “Sleeping like a baby” is a misnomer.  Many babies grunt, squeal and make fussing noises while they sleep. How are you supposed to rest when  baby sounds like a mack truck?
    • Solution:  I moved the monitor transmitter further from the crib in baby’s room, and moved the receiver further away in our room.   I even wore ear plugs in the early weeks so that I’d only hear loud crying.
    • Solution:  We didn’t have the baby sleep in our room…I’m not sure I’d have gotten ANY sleep that way.
    • Side note:  My husband can sleep through all the noise!
  • What you eat.  Baby’s gas could be caused by several things.  Despite many sources telling me that what I ate doesn’t affect baby, that didn’t prove to be true in my case.  Whatever I ate most definitely affected my baby!
    • Solution:  I’ve cut out onions, broccoli, cauliflower, yams (no!!! I love yams!), cabbage, beans, and anything that seems like it would make one gassy.  I noticed that peanut butter has an effect, too, so I try to limit it despite the great protein source it provides.
    • Side note:  I didn’t cut out dairy as it’s a large part of my diet and the doctor suggested that I’d have a difficult time re-introducing dairy at a later time.  Also, iron and calcium is so important if you’re nursing as the baby is depleting a lot from you.  You need to keep your bones strong and healthy!
  • Fast milk flow.  I’m one of those lucky moms that has a ton of milk.  I noticed that my baby would latch, gasp, choke, and unlatch several times while trying to nurse.  He’d be frustrated and look at me like “What’s up with this fire hose?!” and I’d just keep trying to get him to eat.  NO!  Consequently, he swallowed a ton of air, causing him to be gassy and uncomfortable for several hours afterward.
    • Solution: I ended up hand expressing for a minute into a bottle or the sink to reduce the fast flow before nursing.  I’d set my alarm clock just a few minutes prior to his three hour feeding and express.
    • Solution:  Leaning back in the first few minutes of nursing.  By leaning back, the milk flow had to work against gravity, and baby wouldn’t get as much streaming into the back of his throat.  This alleviated his choking and gasping.
    • Solution:  I held baby upright for 15-20 minutes after each feeding and burped very well.  Gently pat on back from just above diaper toward baby’s neck.  Also gently pushing in the upward direction on baby’s back can get air out (think of a ziploc bag…push the air out!).  We always had great success with the gentle pushing.
    • Solution:  Mylicon.  Worked well for us.  I noticed thicker spit up when we used it, but that didn’t bother me or baby b/c he had less gas.
  • Foremilk.  If baby only gets foremilk, it’s likely he/she will make more grunting noises b/c the milk isn’t as nutritious and baby is still somewhat hungry.
    • Solution:  Only nurse one side per feeding, completely draining and providing the hind milk to baby.  Your body will regulate to the six hour alternating schedule.  Until then, you may need to hand express to relieve pressure.  I suggest hand expressing b/c using a pump may stimulate even more production, which is working against you.
  • Swaddle.  The swaddle is so key for baby getting a good sleep in the first 10-12 weeks.  Without the swaddle, those little arms flap around and wake baby up, thus waking you up to re-swaddle.
  • Solution: The Halo Sleep Sack works well, but our baby quickly outgrew the newborn size that comes in a thin cotton.  The only other option Halo makes is fleece, which is way too hot during the spring/summer months in So Cal.  So we removed the ‘wing’ portion of the swaddle and would wrap that around baby wearing PJs.  Problem is sometimes he’d wriggle so much that the swaddle would end up around his head!  Yikes.
  • Solution:  Swaddle 1-2-3 blanket, which is similar to the hospital blankets…large enough for swaddling. What’s up with these wimpy receiving blankets that aren’t large enough for swaddling?
  • Solution:  Cut large squares of thin cotton fabric for swaddling on warmer days.  ~ 4′ x 4′ seemed to work well.  I didn’t find the need to sew the edges.  These also worked really well for covering up when nursing in public.  Just tuck one corner under your bra strap and there you go!  No need to spend $40 on the other options on the market.  What a sucker I was with baby #1!!
About meesh

Meesh has a passion for people, creative projects, and technology. She enjoys painting furniture back to life, gardening, playing with her kids, and connecting people.