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Babies produce gas like adults, which starts from their very first meal, usually breastmilk. The gas is produced from digesting compounds in the breast milk or formula by acids and enzymes in the gut. In adults this process is aided by gut bacteria. Air ingested while suckling can also produce gas, which is why burping babies is recommended. Effects of food can also be passed from mother to baby, such as gas producing vegetables and acidic foods can impact on the infant. Mothers can also give their babies dairy intolerance as the mother has dairy in her diet and transfers it through her milk, which is why some paediatricians recommend that mothers eat citrus foods, dairy, soy and peanuts sparingly and have periods where they do not eat these foods at all. Hyperlactation syndrome is another possible cause where the baby has a rapid weight gain, and tends to be gassy and fussy. This syndrome is caused by watery milk called foremilk that is rapidly letdown by the breast and can result in increased air swallowing by the baby, leading to stomach cramps and increased gas. The baby will want to feed more often as the milk has inadequate nutrition and this compounds the problem. Overstimulated babies will also tend to be more gaseous as can frequent episodes of crying as they swallow air during crying spells. The gas causes the gut to stretch resulting in abdominal bloating and distension, which is perceived as pain and can present as hiccups. Burping does not release all the gas in the gut, but massaging the baby's abdomen can help with gas produced further down in the intestines. Paediatricians or the family doctor can also prescribe some other medicinal methods of aiding gas problems, these should be considered last resort. If breastfeeding, the mother could consider an elimination diet with the foods mentioned above and overstimulated babies might just need some 'time-out' to allow them better sleeping and eating patterns.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by FV Newswire
About: Gas problems in babies
Date: 30 May 2005
Source: FV Newswire
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