What if a 9-month-old baby has gas pains at night? The baby in this Q&A wakes up at night writhing in pain, and nothing has helped so far.

9-month-old baby gas pains at nightPin

Mom’s Question:
My son has always had lower gas problems. Recently (at nine months old), he has started sleeping only about 20-40 minutes, and then he arches his back, moves his legs, and screams. There is no gas coming out.

I feel terrible. He writhes in pain for 20 minutes to a 1/2 hour, and nothing helps. I have been to the doctor, and they keep suggesting Simethicone , and we are now trying Prevacid , but nothing seems to be helping.

Has anyone else ever experienced this? What did you find out, if anything, and what helped? I have tried everything, swaddling, gripe water, simethicone, and now Prevacid. He will only sleep when I hold him; he still wakes up screaming and writhing. Any help you can offer would be appreciated.
Paula
(Canada)

Remedies For Gas Pains In Babies

I really feel sorry for your son and also for you – you must be exhausted! My first recommendation is to get a second opinion from another pediatrician. Your baby should not have gas pains that wake him up every night. 

Below are some thoughts on what may be the reasons for the gas pains and what you can do to help your baby.

Acid Reflux Medicin May Make The Gas Worse

From the fact that your baby is on Prevacid, I can assume that he has acid reflux along with his lower gas problems. Although reasonable for acid reflux, this medication may, in fact, be worsening your baby’s pain and gas symptoms and digestive disruptions. If your child has not been diagnosed with acid reflux, or if it is relatively mild, you may want to talk to your doctor about reconsidering the Prevacid prescription.

Hirschsprung’s disease testing

You have not said anything about your baby’s stool pattern, but if he is often constipated, especially if he failed to have his first stool within the first 36 hours of life, consider discussing Hirschsprung’s disease testing with your pediatrician.

Solids Introduction, Milk or Food intolerance/Allergy

Other possible causes of his pain and gas are lactose intolerance, milk protein allergy, other food allergies, or other digestive problems. You can read about lactose intolerance and cow’s milk allergy here.

I don’t know if your son has started with solid foods and whether, in that case, the diet change affected his belly in any way. If he does eat solid foods, here are a few things to try:

  1. Feed him twice as often, half the amount. (Babies can often get gassy from undigested foods. If you give him less each time, he is much more likely to be able to digest everything.)
  2. Give foods that are the least likely to cause allergy and/or intolerance, such as avocados, squash, pears, applesauce, apricots, broccoli, rice, sweet potatoes, and papayas.
    Avoid completely: berries, citrus fruits, corn, cow’s milk, egg whites, nuts, peanut butter, soy, tomatoes, wheat, and yeast.
  3. Focus on foods that do not cause constipation since constipation is often a hidden cause of gassiness. Avoid rice cereal, unripe bananas, cooked carrots, applesauce, cheese, yogurt, white bread, pasta, and large amounts of white potato.
    Instead, serve him a lot of fruits and vegetables, pears and prunes, for example as well as avocado and sweet potato. Make sure he gets a lot of fluid and, again, that he eats often but only a small amount.
  4. If your son still breastfeeds, consider increasing the frequency. Also, take a look at your diet, and consider removing anything that might cause gas. For more foods that can make babies gassy when moms breastfeed, click here.

Massage and Other Ways to Mitigate Gas

In addition, consider giving him a warm bath, leg bicycling exercises, and a tummy massage before he goes to sleep for the night. Elevating the head end of your baby’s bed may also help.

The video below will show you how to carry out the tummy massage, bicycling motions and also how to press your baby’s knees toward their belly to release gas.

How To Help Your Baby With Gas Pain (Tips from a Pediatric RN )

I hope this helps,
Paula
(Answer approved by our Medical Reference Team)

Read Next: More Gassy Babies

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Leisa

    My daughter is a year old now, and she has done that same thing very often, like at least a few times a month. I took her to the doctor and they said she was constipated and to give her 1/2 to a full cap of maalox constipation relief. When this happens again, feel your baby’s tummy; if it is hard or really firm no softness, you can massage it from left to right in a clockwise motion below the ribs. You might look up baby massaging it will show you how. It helps my baby every time. She is blocked up, and the massaging helps to lightly move it through the colon. I hope this helps, and good luck to you.

  2. Ann

    I suggest you ask your baby’s doctor about putting your baby on lactose-free milk to see if that might help. several different things can cause babies to cry like this. One of my nephews cried like this as a baby and continued to cry as he grew and was eventually diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis. It is unlikely this would be the case with your baby, but just saying to make sure all avenues are covered as a baby doesn’t cry like this unless there is something wrong.