Gas is very normal and expected for babies, whether they are nursing or bottle-feeding. It can vary from mild to intense and from uncomfortable to unbearable. Babies pass gas through their mouths and through their anuses many times each day. You can help relieve normal gas symptoms by burping frequently during feeding, bicycling their legs, and giving infant massages.
But sometimes, gas is more than it seems. Many parents wonder how to tell the difference between normal infant gas, even if it’s severe, and something more serious. Here are some of the signs you should look for to determine if your baby’s symptoms are something more serious than regular infant gas:
- First, gas in the first month or two should not interfere with a baby’s appetite. A baby who seems to have abdominal discomfort that interferes with regular eating needs to be evaluated.
- Second, normal gas does not cause fever. Fever and abdominal pain together warrant a visit to the doctor.
Gas discomfort typically waxes and wanes throughout the day, meaning that your baby will spend part of the day comfortable and have short episodes of discomfort relieved by pooping or passing gas. A baby with a tense, distended abdomen that feels like an inflated balloon and that persists despite intervention needs to be seen by the doctor.
When gas is found alongside blood in the stool, a trip to the doctor is also in order. Diet or infection may be the culprit, and only your doctor can help you figure that out.
The good news is that, in the vast majority of cases, infant gas is not a problem. But if you do see any of the signs and symptoms listed above, go ahead and call your pediatrician.