One of the most common reasons that some babies seem to be fussy is gas. They get a bubble stuck somewhere in their system and it’s just uncomfortable. They fuss and they fidget until, finally after much prodding, they have a little burp. In some cases, gas can even keep your baby from sleeping.
In fact, the idea that gas can keep your baby from sleeping is so commonly held that, in some countries today, the most common treatment for a colicky baby is simethicone. Simethicone is, very simply, a medicine that is designed to make your baby pass gas.
Simethicone works quite well for some babies. In some instances, a baby’s system just needs a little bit of help getting that bubble up. A few drops of simethicone and the gas that kept your baby from sleeping will go away uneventfully.
Unfortunately, we’re really only talking about a small percentage of babies who can’t sleep that are helped by simethicone.
Fortunately, there are other substances that may help with gas that’s keeping your baby from sleeping. Sodium Bicarbonate, which is the main ingredient in baking soda, can help. This chemical will act to counteract the pH of your baby’s stomach acid, and help to relive gas. Of course, make sure you understand first that sodium bicarbonate isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and talk to your baby’s doctor before using it. Never give a baby baking soda out of the box. Instead, there are a number of gripe water products that contain small amounts of sodium bicarbonate that may be able t help.
There are a number of different herbal extracts and essential oils that you may find in gripe water, too, that can calm the gas that’s keeping your baby from sleeping. Here again, these are not regulated and you should talk to your baby’s doctor before using them. Some parents have had limited success with gripe water containing some of these kinds of elements.