I was advised by my pediatrician to supplement breastfeeding with bottles of formula as my son was dehydrated due to my low milk supply, however, I never got any tips to prevent gas and colic. The minute I introduced baby bottles (with formula or breastmilk), he turned into a bag of gas every time I fed him. He and I suffered through hours of crying due to painful gas pains, leading to colic and spit-ups. After spending hours, days, and weeks of research, I concluded that air swallowing is the number one cause of gas and colic. Babies can swallow air when they cry when they suckle, and while they feed. Most air ingestion is caused when bottle-feeding due to the air retained inside the baby bottles. Here are six tips to prevent gas and colic by minimizing air-swallowing while feeding.
Tips to prevent gas and colic
1. Get ready. Don’t wait until your baby is desperately hungry to feed him or her. Frantic sucking while feeding leads to a lot of air-swallowing resulting in gas and colic. Learn to recognize the early signs of hunger in your baby. Some signs can be sucking fingers or hand, lip-smacking, and sobbing. Once your baby shows these signs, create alarms on your device (phone, tablets, etc.) to let you know when you need to start getting ready for the next feeding. Several smartphone apps are available to help you do this such as “Feed Baby – Baby Tracker” by Penguin or “Eat Sleep: Simple Baby Tracking” By BitMethod.
2. It’s a date!. In our recent breastfeeding tips, we talked about enjoying the meal times. You can do this whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed. Treat it like it is; “a fancy meal” to be relished. Get on your favorite rocking chair, fit your favorite pillows around your body to keep you comfortable, get your favorite relaxing tunes playing, and enjoy the experience. Invite your partner to participate; you should both look forward to it. The goal here is to relax you and the baby so food digests better.
3. Stirred not shaken. Be sure to stir the breastmilk or formula to mix instead of shaking the contents within the bottle. Shaking creates lots of air bubbles mixing with the milk that will end up in your baby’s tummy. You want to minimize bubbles as much as possible. Try mixing the formula in a separate container so you can stir with a spoon and make sure it’s fully dissolved.
Tips to prevent air-swallowing
4. Avoid air-swallowing. If your current baby bottle has an air-vent, change your bottle. If you use bottles with lines and see empty space inside, change your bottle. Bare® air-free feeding system has an air-plug that allows you to expel all the air before feeding your baby. Then, it maintains an air-free environment for the milk at all times. The goal is to minimize air-swallowing that causes gas pains and colic.
5. Upright feeding position is best. Have you ever tried eating or drinking while you’re lying down? It’s very uncomfortable and takes extra effort to force the food into your stomach. Pediatricians say you should never lay your baby down while feeding. Unfortunately, it is comfortable for the caregiver to lay down the baby since most baby bottles only work when turned upside down. Bare® air-free works with suction as opposed to gravity and dispenses air-free milk while it’s right side up (like a straw cup), allowing you to feed your baby in a vertical, upright position.
See Feeding Positions for babies with reflux
6. Do not overdo it! While a hungry baby will chug a whole bottle just because your current bottles may offer a free flow of milk, be sure not to overfeed. Let your baby control the flow and pace of which she drinks with suction strength. If your baby is getting full and applies less suction than the beginning, it is time to stop the feeding. Bare® is designed to stop dispensing milk when your baby stops sucking to prevent overfeeding. This feature is a great projectile-vomit stopper!
I hope you enjoy the reading, look for more tips on our weekly blog, and remember, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need support finding the help you need.
Your friend; The Breast Fairy