The Best Positions To Release Hiccups & Gas In Infants
Burps are essentially the release of air bubbles that were trapped inside of the digestive system. During the newborn stage, when the digestive system has yet to fully develop, these air bubbles can cause infants severe stomach pains, also known as gas or colic. There air bubbles enter the digestive system while the infant nurses or bottle feeds, cries, or even is positioned improperly to eat. Releasing these air bubbles helps relieve your infant’s pain.
How do you differentiate between gas and the need to burp?
If your child is restless or crying after a meal, chances are, they need to be burped. Once the burp is released, they’ll likely calm down. Infant gas pain tends to appear at fixed times during the day, usually in the evenings, and can last for a few hours.
How to hold your infant to release burps and relieve gas pain
Leopard on a tree: Hold your infant so that their belly in placed against your forearm (the part between your elbow and wrist). Once you both feel comfortable in this position, you can cautiously walk around the house, enabling light and natural movement. This will enable you to place pressure (gentle massage) on the stomach, which is likely to release the stomach muscles relieve pain.
Advice based on experience: When in this position, infants tend to spit up on the floor. So, it’s a good idea to stay off your new shag carpet.
Head on shoulder & gentle back pats: Hold your infant so that their head rests on your shoulder, and move about while gently patting their back. The back pats relax the stomach muscles, helping release air bubbles.
The “laundress” position: In this position, your infant’s back and neck lean against your chest and their legs are crossed and folded forwards, while securely supported by your hands. This position enables sensory stimulation, as your infant can view what is going on in their midst, as well as stomach muscle relaxation. As such, infants aged 3 months and up tend to be particularly fond of this position.
Cradle position: This position is great for relieving gas pain, but less ideal for releasing burps, as it is less comfortable for a recently-fed infant. Infants suffering from reflux (a sense of burning due to the return of ingested food up the esophagus) will be particularly uncomfortable in this position after a meal. In this position, you would cradle the infant in your arms, while the back of their head is placed in the inside of one elbow and the other arm supports their knees. You can also used a soft, unstructured infant carrier to cradle your child. Your infant’s pelvis will be slightly sunken, while their head and knees are at the same height, making it an ideal position for relaxing the stomach muscles and releasing air bubbles. Sometimes, they’ll even come out the other end of the digestive system!
Gentle massage: This position is best suited for releasing infant gas - less so for releasing post-meal burps. You can lay your infant on their back, bring their legs to the center of their body and gently move them in a clockwise motion. Or, you can gently massage their belly in a circular motion. Pay attention - if your infant does not experience relief from the massage, or displays discomfort as a result from the massage, stop massaging them.
If all else fails, try anti-gas drops
There are medications (in drop from) that are designed to help with infant gas. Before purchasing, make sure the medication is labelled as formulated to relieve infant gas.
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