Gassiness in infants is due to an immature gastrointestinal tract, lots of crying, and plenty of feeding episodes throughout the day. It’s a benign condition that develops in week-old babies but should stop by 4-6 months of age. Some signs and symptoms of this infection include difficulty drinking milk, sleeping, and increased crying. Warming up milk formula hasn’t been proven to help with gas. Tummy time, burping, baby bicycles, and specialized formulas are ways to decrease gassiness.
It’s been two months of sleepless nights tending to your little one.
You can’t rest well, hearing their constant cries throughout the wee hours of the morning followed by passing gas. A fellow mom might recommend warm formula to you. Could this make your baby feel better at night? Let’s talk about this and break it down.
Firstly, what causes gas in babies?
You’ve probably read this so many times already — babies’ bodies are not yet fully developed even after they’re born.
This includes the digestive system, which is in charge of digesting and absorbing nutrients from milk, then excreting waste products from the body.
In general, infants cry a lot throughout the day.
They also feed more often than adults do, especially during the first few weeks of life.
During these crying and feeding episodes, they actually take in and unknowingly swallow air.
Because crying and feeding are inevitable, so is gassiness in babies.
Several babies may be sensitive or have allergies to certain kinds of foods.
Unfortunately, these can extend to some types of formula milk, and there’s no way to find out about this until they start to show symptoms.
Note that this is rare, though.
When is gassiness common in babies?
Although babies might have gassiness at any point in life, it happens more frequently or constantly when they’re roughly a month old, but should resolve by the time they turn 4-6 months old.
What are the signs and symptoms of gassiness?
If you think your little one may be uncomfortable because of gassiness, check out this list of other associated signs and symptoms:
- Looking or seeming uncomfortable
- Crying for at least an hour, for most days of the week
- Difficulty eating properly
- Difficulty falling asleep
Does warm formula help treat gassiness?
It might sound logical that warmer liquids should help decrease air, but there aren’t any established studies that support warm formula as a treatment for gassiness.
Here are some ways to treat instead:
1. Tummy time
Tummy time is essentially placing your baby on their stomach, especially after feeding.
This position places some pressure on the stomach, which could displace the gas and make it easier for your baby to burp it out.
Just make sure not to do tummy time if your baby is sleepy or already asleep, as this could lead to SIDS.
2. Burping time
Because lots of air enter the stomach after babies feed, it’s essential to burp your baby after each feeding session, even in the middle of the night.
3. Do some baby bicycles
What exactly are baby bicycles?
Well, start with placing your child on their back.
Hold your baby’s legs with both hands and move them in a bicycling motion upwards towards the stomach.
Many parents use baby bicycles to help with gassiness and digestion, especially for premature babies.
4. Try changing formulas
There are specialized formulas that are created specifically to tackle gassiness.
Examples are low-lactose formulas and protein hydrolysate-based formulas.
More studies are needed to scientifically prove that these formulas can decrease gassiness.
However, there’s nothing wrong with trying these formulas, as long as you’ve consulted about this with your friendly pediatrician.
Should I still give my child warm formula?
There’s no specific, proven benefit for warm formula, but there’s also nothing wrong with heating up formula milk if your baby prefers it.
Whether cold, warm, or at room temperature, babies can still drink it.
Just make sure it isn’t too hot, as that could lead to burn injuries for your little one.
Formula milk can be warmed in different ways:
1. Use running water
If your faucet can switch to warm water, then place the formula milk on a baby bottle and run it under warm water for several minutes.
Never allow tap water to pour above the neck of the bottle, and make sure that the bottle is tightly closed whenever you warm it up to prevent tap water from entering the bottle.
2. Use a bowl of warm water
Fill up a bowl with warm water, then place the bottle with the formula milk inside the bowl for several minutes.
You can always check if it’s too hot by tapping the bottle to allow a few drops to hit the back of your hand.
3. Use bottle warmers
Electric bottle warmers can easily do the job for you within a few minutes.
Bottle warmers allow all milk within one bottle to be heated up evenly.
My baby is always fussy. Is it because of gassiness, or does she have colic?
Both colic and gassiness have similar symptoms, but colic is the most persistent type.
It’s more likely that your baby has colic if they cry continuously (for at least one hour) every day, and usually at a certain time (regardless of what activities they’ve done within the day).
Can I use the microwave to heat up baby formula?
No. The microwave does not heat the milk evenly.
You might feel one area of the bottle isn’t warm enough, while another area is too hot at the same time.
Using an old microwave could lead to burns in infants, which almost always end up with a visit to the hospital emergency room.
Gassiness in infants can be caused by an immature gastrointestinal tract and constant feeding and crying.
Warming up milk formula is not a proven treatment for gassiness, but there are many other ways to treat your baby’s gassiness.