All babies will get some wind. Just as adults do, their stomachs create gases whilst they are digesting. Some babies, get A LOT of wind. They'll be squirming, screaming and uncomfortable. If your baby is one of those who never seems settled, cries whenever you put them down, is fussy, perhaps suffers from reflux or frequent vomiting then here's 5 easy tips you can use to help improve their wind and calm your baby.
1) Deal with feeding issues I cannot stress this enough - if your baby is consistently struggling with wind/trapped wind/reflux/vomiting etc. then there's something going on with their feeding. A shallow latch, poor seal at the breast or bottle, tongue tie, nipple shields jaw tension, torticollis, oversupply could all be contributing to your baby's wind and discomfort - so definitely get some skilled support with feeding. You can book a consultation with me here 2) Massage Massage is amazing for helping clear trapped gas, as well as keep the gut working well and ease digestive discomfort. How to do a tummy massage: 1) Always make sure your baby is quiet, alert and content. Don't give them a massage when they're uncomfortable and crying. If their tummy muscles are tense from crying your massage won't actually stimulate the gut and will have very little effect. Think of it is a pre-emptive thing, rather than something to be used when baby is actually uncomfortable. 2) Lay baby on a comfortable, flat surface (this can simply be a blanket/towel on the floor in front of you). Make sure baby is safe and isn't going to roll (from a table for instance - the floor is the safest place). 3) Undress baby, and remove their nappy. Make sure the room is warm. You can leave the nappy underneath them or place baby on a towel or puppy pad in case they wee.
4) Use a small amount of coconut or sunflower oil on your hands, and start massaging in circular motions on baby's tummy from the height of their belly button, down towards their things and around. Make sure you always massage clockwise, this is the direction food/milk passes through their intestines. 5) You can then move to a scooping stroke using a flat hand, across baby's tummy, with your little finger near baby's belly button. Stroke down towards their things, lift that hand off and then repeat the same motion with the other hand. 6) Try including some gentle exercises with baby's legs - bicycle motions, bring baby's knees up to tummy and rocking gently. 7) Repeat the cycle of clockwise massage, downward strokes, bicycle legs and knees to tummy. You can use a massage sequence like this a couple of times a day, this will help to clear gas, and keep their digestive system in top form!
3) Baby Wearing Windy babies LOVE to be upright. Combine this with constant movement as you walk/bend/move around and it's a recipe for success when it comes to a windy unsettled baby. With a newborn you can start with a stretchy wrap, and then move to a more structure carrier once your baby is around 3 months old. Your little one can nap, and even breastfeed in a carrier. Keeping them upright will help ease discomfort from wind and in particular, reflux. The constant movement will help them to burp, and you'll have your hands free!
4) Try wonky winding If you've been holding your baby straight upright to wind them, you've been missing a trick! Wonky Winding is the way to go when it comes to dealing with that trapped gas.
Your baby's stomach isn't a symmetrical shape. You can see in the picture to the right, there's a little pouch up the top, above where the oesophagus (food pipe) enters the stomach. Air bubbles will always try to rise to the top, so they often get trapped in this area of the stomach. Rather than positioning your baby upright to wind them, if you place them on an angle with their head over your right shoulder, and body on a diagonal to your left side it positions this little 'pouch' lower than the opening to the oesophagus allowing those air bubbles to rise up and out!
5) Pace & Space their feedings When babies are breastfed, they're pretty good at controlling the flow of milk to naturally pace the feed. But if your baby isn't latching well or has a tongue tie they won't be able to do this as well, and are much more prone to feeding too quickly, struggling with milk flow (you might seem them cough or splutter while feeding), and suffering from discomfort or reflux as a result. If your baby is bottle fed (or having bottle top ups of formula or breast milk) it's super important that you pace their feeds. 1) Sit baby in almost an upright position to feed, at about a 45 degree angle. This makes it possible for your baby to control the flow and makes sure they're actively sucking to feed rather than just allowing the milk to drip into their mouths. 2) Position the bottle parallel to the floor, and stroke down your baby's nose and mouth to encourage them to open their mouth and take the bottle in, rather than forcing it in. 3) Take regular breaks at least a couple of times during the feed to allow them to bring up wind. If your baby is still struggling with wind, or any aspect of their feeding even after trying these tips then get in touch with an infant feeding specialist for 1:1 support to explore other causes and assess their feeding. You can book an appointment with Alissa here