We all know Grandma's favorite theory -- "It's probably just gas" -- for whatever seems to be bothering your baby, but what the heck is "gas" anyway? Nothing more or less than air, says Joel Steinberg, M.D., a University of Texas Southwestern pediatrician at Children's Medical Center Dallas. Babies swallow air when they're crying and sucking, and it builds up in the intestinal track. Gas usually diminishes by about 3 or 4 months, as babies learn to take in less air when eating and cry less. In the meantime...
- Burp your baby frequently to release the air.
- If you're bottle-feeding, tilt the bottle so the nipple remains full of formula (not air), or use an angled bottle designed for this purpose.
- Feed your baby before she gets too worked up so you minimize crying and gulping.
- Go with gravity: Feed your baby in an upright position, then keep her that way for a few minutes after she's done.
- Massage her tummy or "bicycle" her legs to help the air bubbles work their way through the intestines.