Bloating in Kids: How to Help your Kids Relieve Stomach Gas

Featured image of girl with aching stomach

Stomach ache and gas problems are a common issue that adults know how to handle. It leaves our body one way or the other or we take medicine to help resolve the issue. However, kids, especially babies, need a little help when it comes to controlling their bodily functions and relieving themselves from these problems. Because their body is still developing and their organs are tiny even small amount of trapped gas can cause tremendous pain.

So how do we help our kids when it comes to stomach ache and gas problems so that their body gets rid of gas faster? Here’s all you need to know about how to relieve stomach gas and how to resolve bloating problems in kids.

When and How Bloating and Gas Problems Start?

Gas problems in toddlers and kids are not to be confused with baby colic as they are two different things. While colic is related to gastrointestinal problems the cause of it isn’t gas. It’s usually defined as getting used to mother’s milk, but that’s arguable. There isn’t a clear definition to what baby colic actually is only when it occurs and how frequently it occurs in infants and babies.

Now that’s out of the way, we can focus on what gas problems are and when do they start. They can usually start when the baby is around 5 months old. This is when solid food is introduced into their diet. Usually boiled fruits and vegetables, then fresh products and meat, this addition to babies liquid diet can cause gas problems and bloating. Because their digestive system didn’t really have to dissolve solid food before, their first contact with solids cause them to have trapped air in their gastrointestinal tract.

Gas problems do occur due to pressure in the colon caused by trapped air. This pressure forces some parts of the colon to expand which results in severe pain. The gas, on the other hand, isn’t created on its own. A certain type of bacteria that resides in our intestines is directly responsible for gas problems. But this is perfectly natural as this type of bacteria is the helpful one. They play a role in digesting food and make around 99% of our gut flora.

How to Minimize Gas and Bloating?

Although gas problems are inevitable, there are ways to help fight bloating and gas problems. Adults can get rid of gas pretty easy, and even when the matter is more complex and the issue persists we can take medicine to resolve the issue. With babies and kids, things are a bit different, as they can’t handle these problems on their own. That’s why we are here to help their body gets rid of gas more easily. Here are some of the most efficient methods.

Image of crying baby on bed

Change in Diet

Yes, babies and kids should be introduced to new ingredients and types of food. But this should be done while monitoring how their body handles these new substances. The first reason why you should pay attention to their reaction is because of allergies. As your baby grows and new types of food are introduced into their diet there might be some bad reactions that can cause swelling and an increase in internal temperature.

Another reason to watch how they handle new types of food is because of bloating and gas problems. Some ingredients will cause an increase of trapped gas, which can obviously cause severe pain and mood changes. The idea of starting with solid food comes with a recommendation that fruit should be introduced before anything. After that comes vegetables and meat. So if you’re in a period where meat is added to their diet, pay close attention to their reaction and if you notice that they have excessive gas problems reduce the amount of meat that you’re adding.

Also, try with fiber. Certain food types, usually dark-colored fruit and vegetables, that are rich in fiber. Try adding bananas, apples, oranges, raspberries, then grain and beat, broccoli, carrot, artichoke and other food types that are known for their high fiber count. They will help resolve has more quickly and reduce the amount of trapped gas in general.

Burping and Hiccups

Every time your child ingests solid, semi-solid food or liquid there’s a chance that a bit of air comes through as well. It is simply inevitable. This will usually result in hiccups and there are several ways to resolve this. Hiccups aren’t necessarily bad, but they can be annoying and if the child wants to speak their mind, they won’t be able to do so due to frequent interruptions. It’s especially irritating for a child when they are still developing their ability to speak. Also when air comes through their digestive tract, it can cause pain and bloated belly. Here’s what you can do to prevent this.

Activity

Everything from taking them for a walk, introducing exercise or adding any kind of activity to their daily routine will help the body to regulate gas or trapped air. If your toddler is experiencing mood changes, the reason might as well be because of trapped air. Stretching also helps and is the alternative for combating bloating and hiccups. When the child is still learning how to crawl or toddle they can’t really exercise. However, they can stretch, at least with your help. How to do that? While on the bed or flat surface, take their hands and create circular motion, raise them above their head than lower next to their hip, etc. After a couple of minutes, the hiccups should stop, and the bloating will be resolved by burping. It’s important to do this as you’re helping their body regulate gas on their own.

Tapping the Back

This is a familiar technique to everyone no matter if your parent or not. It is a really simple yet effective technique. It’s recommended that you use this method after the child has had their meal, as it’s most effective at relieving trapped air at that point. The idea is to hold the child pressed against your chest with their head resting on your shoulder. It doesn’t really matter which shoulder as long as their head is placed sideways. Once the child is in the appropriate position, simply start with gentle taps on the baby’s/child’s back. After a short session, the baby will burp. Often times the burp is followed with excess liquid that came with the rush of trapped air leaving their body. This is perfectly natural and will happen when the baby is young. The good side is that this method will stop hiccups and reduce bloating by stimulating their body to remove trapped air.

Water Helps as Well

Another method to help their body get rid of trapped air is to assist with water or any liquid that they can’t resist even when full. With only a couple of gulps, they will get an instant urge to burp the air out. This method isn’t foolproof but it will help in certain situations. Again, not the most effective or reliable but it’s worth a try. If they had a meal that has a lot of natural sugar, it’s advisable to wash that down with plain water. Allowing them to much sugar results in sleepless nights for you and an abundance of energy for them. So if you can, try to limit the amount of sugar they ingest on a daily basis.

Image of woman examining little girls stomach

Stomach Massage

After everything, there’s always a good old reliable massage in order to attain gas relief for kids. The best way includes laying the child on the back on a flat surface. You can place a blanket or something similar underneath the baby if the bed is too soft.

Once the baby is on her back, start rubbing her belly in a circular motion. Make sure that you make clock-wise moves as this is will help the intestines dispose of trapped air. It’s the route of the intestines so make sure not to mix counterclockwise with a clockwise motion. This is a reliable method recommended by pediatric experts. They also advise that you place a warm towel or anything that can be used to increase the temperature on the belly, thus relieving the pain and making trapped air disappear faster. You can iron the towel until warm, or simply use hot water to adjust the temperature of the towel/cloth that you’re using for the massage.

Another method would be to push the baby’s legs towards the head. By exercising in a fetus position, you’ll help their body dissolve and disperse of the gas more efficiently. Start by pushing the legs and returning them to normal position. Make sure to do it slowly and repeat the process as many times as needed. It’s the best intervention if the baby is experiencing severe pain due to gas problems.

Stomach massage is good for helping relieve gas in kids, but it’s also useful to ease the stomach pain, help gastrointestinal system, etc. So being that it’s a universal technique you can use it in any scenario that includes stomach pain, gastrointestinal problems, digestive disorders or anything similar.

Natural Remedies

There’s a variety of natural remedies and medicine that we use to get rid of gas problems, reduce bloating and in general make any gastrointestinal problems disappear. However, with kids it’s different. There are allergies that you need to take into consideration, also reactions to medicine, side effects, and no one wants to risk worsening the problem.

On the other side, natural medicine and herbs that have been used for centuries to enhance bodily functions, including the gastrointestinal system, are always a welcome solution.

Here are some of the natural remedies prescribed for gas relief in kids.

Camomile tea can greatly reduce stomach pain and has been used for ages in gastrointestinal related problems. Its soothing effect can help your attain gas relief for children by simply making a warm tea, although it can also be used to reduce swelling and to prevent infection. You’d be surprised how one cup per day can make things better.

Cumin is also quite helpful and can be used even for baby colic to relieve stomach pain and cramps. This amazing ingredient is known for its helpful effect that helps relieve gas problems. If you’re using it for a baby, one bit will be enough. Simply add it to boiling water give it a couple of minutes to release its natural oil. If the child is older you can add more than one. It’s really potent so be sure to see the prescribed amount for all age groups.

Hing is also quite effective, especially when mixed with fresh ginger and rock salt. Add these three ingredients into boiling or hot water and give it a couple of minutes to absorb. Use it as a tea in small doses. Be sure not to overdo it with ginger as it packs quite a strong taste.

Kefir can also be used as it’s known for its probiotic effect. Be sure not to use too much, and if lactose intolerant do not use it for gas relief for obvious reasons. Also, it’s advisable to give kefir to children during the day rather than night. The body is more active during the day and will dissolve it faster, where during nighttime our body is preparing for “shutdown” mode and will use more energy to dissolve kefir.

Gas related problems can cause pain, mood changes and affect our lives to that extent that it becomes unbearable. Kids can be really moody for a number of reasons and if they’re experiencing stomach pain due to gastrointestinal problems the issue is much worse. So be sure to do whatever it takes so that they don’t suffer and try to use natural remedies combines with popular methods for relieving gas. Avoid pharmaceutical products as they aren’t intended for kids and can cause side effects that you don’t want for your kid, or anyone for that matter.

Author: Jonathan M. Ward
Author: Jonathan M. Ward

Himself a father of two, John is obsessed with getting the most out of every children’s product on the market, finding value wherever it can be found. His years of study in developmental psychology coupled with his passion for parenting make him an invaluable asset to our team.

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