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Can Breast Milk Cause Gas Pain in an Infant?

By Alison LaFortune ; Updated June 13, 2017

Infants often produce gas during or after breastfeeding, as their digestive systems are just getting used to food. Harmless bacteria breaking down undigested sugars in the lower intestine can cause this gas, according to "Parents" magazine. Swallowing air while feeding can also produce gas that causes discomfort for your infant. If you suspect your breast milk is giving your child gas pains, you may wish to change your diet to avoid common allergens. An infant can have an allergic reaction to traces of his mother's diet that show up in the breast milk. This reaction can involve gas pains and other digestive issues.

Gas Caused by Air

A nursing baby is more likely to swallow air if she rushes through the breastfeeding. To prevent this issue, feed your baby before she begins to cry in hunger. After that point, she may be too hungry to pace herself. If the milk is coming out too fast, remove your child for a moment. This gives the spray of milk a chance to slow down, "Parents" reports.

Gas Caused by Food

You may notice certain foods make your baby gassier after nursing. Gas-forming vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beans and onions, may give your child digestive issues. Common allergens can also give some babies excess gas. Cow's milk, soy, wheat, corn, oats, eggs, nuts, peanuts, fish, and shellfish are all foods that can cause allergic reactions in nursing infants, according to KidsHealth.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction

If you suspect an allergic reaction is the source of your child's discomfort, be on the watch for symptoms. Consistent spitting up or vomiting, bloody or hard stools, rash, swelling or apparent belly pain are all signs that you should report to your pediatrician, KidsHealth warns. An infant can signal abdominal pains by curling his knees to his chest. If your baby cries daily for hours at a time, regardless of the food you eat, you may be dealing with a colicky baby. Talk to your pediatrician if you think the issue may be colic.

Treatment for Gas Pains

Infants who struggle with gas pains can benefit from a tummy massage. Gently massage your baby's tummy in a clockwise motion while she lies on her back. You may also try holding your child in the "gas hold" position. Hold her securely over your arm, in the face-down position, until the discomfort subsides. During feedings, burp her halfway through, and give her gas drops -- if your doctor approves them. Gas drops can help move gas through your baby's intestines. A food journal can help you to determine whether the gas pains are related to any foods you are consuming. Writing down everything you eat will help you make connections between food allergies and gas pains.

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