Wind can be distressing not only for the baby but also for the parents. If you believe your baby is suffering from wind there are a few things to bear in mind.
Wind can be a very common problem for babies, especially newborns who
are just beginning to process milk or formula for the first time. Wind can be distressing not only for the baby
but also for the parents, dealing with a distraught infant and feeling as though
you cannot help can be very overwhelming. If you believe your baby is suffering
from wind there are a few things to bear in mind.
Firstly, it is important to know what causes wind in babies. When
feeding (either bottle or breast) babies may swallow small amounts of air, the
amount of air swallowed can depend on the baby’s latch. For instance if there
is a lip or tongue tie affecting their feeding, more air may be swallowed than
a baby that can create a tighter seal. If your baby has swallowed air and is
unable to clear this air from their system, it can cause pain and discomfort
resulting in an upset and many times, inconsolable baby.
To prevent wind, it is essential to burp your baby after each feeding.
This is especially crucial in newborns who can have the most trouble bringing
up trapped wind. Generally babies will burp within a few minutes of feeding, if
you wait too long to attempt to get the air out you may miss the chance.
There is no need to wake your baby to burp them if they have fallen
asleep during the feed, if this has happened, baby is already comfortable. If your baby does need a helping hand there
are number of ways you can assist, the three most common ways are described
Best ways to wind a baby
Over the shoulder- This one
is most parents go to and is very common.
Baby is placed with their head resting over your shoulder and their
tummy resting against your chest. You then rub or pat or pat their back until
they burp. If you have a newborn you may
need to support their head whilst rubbing or patting.
Sitting on your knee – This
one can be a little fiddlier but may be quite effective. Baby sits on your knee, leaning slightly
forward, and facing away from you. With one hand support your baby’s jaw
between your thumb and first finger allowing the palm of your hand to support
the chest and baby’s weight, use your other hand to rub or pat the back. Ensure you are not applying any pressure to
the windpipe/neck area.
Lying across your knees –
This one is quite simple, sit with your knees together at a right angle, place
baby tummy down across your knees, use one hand to support the baby’s head
using your other hand to rub or pat their back.
If you have tried all of the above and have still not been able to
provide any relief, the air had most probably processed through the body too
far and you will not be able to bring it up.
Massage and baby wind relief
The other sort of trapped wind you may encounter is from the other end,
and it happens when your baby’s digestive tract is struggling with
digestion. For this discomfort, you may
want to try a warm bath and baby massage.
The combination of targeted wind relieving massage movements and the
comforting warm water can help relax and calm baby. Ensure you have baby in a
nice warm area as a cold baby will not tolerate massage for very long, you may
wish to use a suitable oil or baby moisturiser to perform the massage. If baby
enjoys the massage it can be nice to include this as baby’s nightly routine,
setting a repetitive routine at night-time may help baby sleep better
overnight. Some massage movements you can try are: Abdominal Circles – Using one hand,
start at the top of baby’s abdomen. Using a gentle pressure perform clockwise
circle on baby’s tummy using the palm of your hand. This movement is to help encouragement
movement through the digestive tract, for this reason it is very important you
are circling clockwise.
Bicycle legs – This can be
quite an effective movement for many babies.
Hold baby by the legs (generally just above the knee) and move baby’s
legs up and around as if they were riding a bike.
Legs up – Holding onto
baby’s legs, bring them up, and apply pressure
on the lower abdomen for a couple of seconds before bringing baby’s legs
back down and gently pulling them straight. Keep in mind babies legs do not
completely straighten so if you meet any resistance do not apply any further
pressure. Repeat this motion as many times as required. You can also alternate between applying
pressure to the left hand side of the abdomen, the right hand side, and then
Toes to nose – Keeping
baby’s legs straight, lift them directly up so the toes head straight up to the
nose, this is putting gentle pressure on the abdomen helping to move any
Tummy time – Tummy time is
great for not only strengthening neck muscles baby needs to start holding its
head up but can be beneficial for the removal of wind. Lying baby on their tummy, gently turn their
head to the side, and do a slow gentle love heart movement: using both hands,
go straight up either side of the spine, move your hands out around the
shoulders and then back down creating a love heart shape.
If you baby is still struggling with wind despite burping techniques
and baby massage, you may wish to consult your healthcare professional
regarding what else can be done to help your little one. A couple of other thing to look into are:
Gripe water or wind relief
formula - These are generally natural products which
can help relieve baby’s discomfort, they can be given before or after feeding
baby but you should discuss your options with your doctor before purchasing one
Anti – Colic bottles– If
your baby is bottle fed keep an eye out for anti-colic bottles. There are many different brands that provide
these, they differ slightly however have one thing in commons – vents.
Ventilation holes enable air to escape the bottle meaning baby cannot swallow
Lactation consultant – If
you are breastfeeding your baby could be having issues creating a strong seal
while feeding which is causing the excess air.
A lactation consultant will be able to view and advise on your feeding
technique and may be able to give you pointer on how to help baby latch in the
most effective way.
If you have tried all of these and you feel your baby is still
struggling with wind, you may, unfortunately, just need to wait it out. As tough as it can seem, most babies will struggle
less with trapped wind as they grow, with most baby’s growing out of these
issues by around 16 weeks. This is due
to the fact baby’s digestive system is continually growing and advancing and
are better able to deal with the influx of food and drinks each day.
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