When Should I Give My Baby Gas Drops?
If your baby is burping or tooting, you might assume he is gassy, but a little toot or a burp can be just a sign of normal, everyday gas. If, however, your baby seems bothered by passing gas, he may have excess gas.
Other signs of excessive gas include:
- Arched back
- Pulling the legs up to the chest
- A red face or straining (trying to pass the gas)
- Crying (unrelated to other causes such as hungry or a dirty diaper)
If you suspect that your baby is gassy, your pediatrician may suggest gas drops, but how do you know when to give the drops to your baby? Most mamas decide to give gas drops a try when their baby is unhappy, crying, seemingly in pain, and not responding to the normal comfort measures like shushing, rocking, or comfort nursing.
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What Are the Side Effects of Infant Gas Drops?
Most over-the-counter infant gas drops contain simethicone, a medicine designed to disperse — and prevent — air bubbles associated in the stomach and/or intestines. Simethicone is generally a safe medication for babies and studies show that it reduces crying spells and uncomfortable symptoms once administered. (source)
While simethicone is generally deemed safe, gas drops aren’t without side effects, but remember side effects depend on which brand you choose and which type of gas drop you choose. According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, simethicone can cause loose stools in babies, but this is rare and usually connected to more-than-average doses. (source)
However, the biggest risk of unwanted side effects is from the other ingredients used to make the drops. Harmful ingredients may include:
These above-listed substances can be harmful to babies — and all humans for that matter — especially in large quantities. Getting a daily dose of a gas drop with these ingredients can really add up over time. In addition, the preservative sodium benzoate and artificial dyes are also known to increase hyperactivity in children. (source)
Try Natural Remedies
Even if you’re not reaching for the gas drops, that’s okay. Your baby has plenty of natural remedies for getting rid of uncomfortable air bubbles.
The best natural remedies for relieving gas include:
Still Got a Stubborn Air Bubble?
The Windi can help you release the trapped bubble. From the same company that created the Nose Frida, the Windi is a simple yet incredibly effective way to treat gas. Instead of trying to dissipate the air bubble from the inside, the hollow tube is designed to give the air bubble an exit path. And don’t worry about hurting your baby — the safety lip prevents the tube from going too far.
Gas Drops Versus Gripe Water: Which Is Better?
Some mamas swear by gripe water for colic, but can you use for gas pains? First, ask yourself if your baby has excessive gas or colic.
Gas is caused by excessive air trapped in the digestive system. Air bubbles can get trapped from sucking in air while crying or nursing with a bad latch. On the other hand, colic is characterized by intense crying for three hours, at least three days of the week, for at least three weeks. Gas pains can accompany colic, especially if your baby sucks in a lot of air when crying.
That being said, gripe water may still help settle a bloated, gassy tummy. That’s because gripe water is made of a combination of tummy-friendly herbs like fennel and lemon balm — both of which soothe indigestion.
One benefit of gripe water is that it is a much more natural choice, especially when compared to gas drops.
Remember, though, that all babies are different and may prefer different comfort methods. For example, some babies may do best with the colic hold, a tummy massage, and gripe water, while other babies may prefer the bicycle kicks and tummy time. Try what works best for your little one.