Updated: Oct 9
It's what every parent asks about
Today's post is super quick, but super important, because it's something that EVERY PARENT asks me about. As a POSTpartum Doula I am often providing support in the first few weeks of having a baby and whilst every family, and every baby, is unique I find that the second week of life is all about FARTS ... yes you read that correctly!
To be more precise the question I get asked the most, around the second week of newborn/new mum support, is "how can I help my baby with gas and constipation?"
Week one is often all about prioritising feeding techniques, but week two (and beyond) is often focused on the development of the digestive system, and a consequence of that is that I teach a lot of FARTING AND BURPING TECHNIQUES
How to help relieve gas, wind, farts, pumps, trumps and constipation...
1. Check your feeding position
If you are breastfeeding - check your latch and position. Make sure you have tummy to tummy, that the chin is tucked in, nose is clear, straight alignment from their head to their bum, no clicking or air sucking noises. Check out this article from an IBCLC trained Lactation Consultation on 6 top things to look for when breastfeeding
2. Burping and bicycle legs
After every feed it is important to ensure that you help little people digest their meals. Winding is one way to do this - check out this video of Kathy, the Founder of Empowa, and Chief Postpartum Doula and Consultant, showing multiple positions for burping... there may be one here that you haven't seen before.
Read this article explaining some techniques for how to help your baby with gas and constipation, including Bicycle legs.
Any gentle, instinctive, massage technique is normally fine. The general rule of thumb is to make movements that are clockwise.
A very gentle way to start is to place your forefinger near your baby's belly button and move in a clockwise motion, spiralling out to the edge of their belly. Progress from one finger gently circling, to the whole palm gently pressing. Hold your warm palm on their tummy to finish. The warmth of your hands will help soothe and calm your baby.
4. Tummy Time
Probably the best way to help your baby with gas and constipation.
This one is so important. You may have older family members that cannot understand why we put babies to sleep on their backs. It is super important that babies never sleep unattended on their tummies in the first few months BUT it is true that many babies are super happy on their tummies because, quite frankly, it is more comfortable for them, especially when they have gassy tummies or constipation, and our parents and grandparents often put babies to sleep on their tummies for this exact reason.
For clarity please read this article regarding the importance of "Back to Sleep"; at Empowa we promote only "Safe Sleep" protocol.
But please also know that "Tummy Time" is super important to foster independent movement and gross motor development PLUS it is also super helpful to relieve gas and constipation!
Having time on their tummies puts natural pressure on their digestive systems to help move things around whilst at the same time encouraging free movement, which in itself helps gas to move around, and out of, the body.
If you baby doesn't appear to like tummy time here are my quick top tips:
Use a towel under their chest to raise their head and shoulders a little
Get down on the floor face to face with them and play
Gently massage and warm their back
Do tummy time lying across your lap
5. Baby wear
Holding your baby upright will encourage natural digestive actions to occur. Babies swallow their own saliva more (less dribbling), gravity assists everything to move through the body, there will be less spit up, and easier bowel actions.
BUT holding a baby all the time is exhausting, so use your baby wrap or carrier during periods of the day that you need, or want, to have your hands free. Happy in the knowledge that it will also be promoting healthy and natural bodily functions.
Remember, knowledge is power, and we're here to empowa you with educational and informative content. As always, prioritise your well-being and consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice. We're excited to continue sharing insights and supporting you through this incredible chapter of life.
As always, I am here for you
All my best wishes