Causes of execessive gas

All babies have gas or wind to some degree. Gas can cause bloating, cramping, burping, flatulence and of course, crying. Trapped gas or excessive gas production in your baby can cause significant discomfort and can lead to great distress in your baby, and can present in a similar way to Colic one of the causes of Colic.


Possible Causes include:


  • An over active milk ejection reflex (the milk comes out too fast for your baby to swallow) while breast feeding, can cause your baby to gulp and swallow, which increases the amount of air they swallow.


  • An imbalance between the fore and hind milk in a breast feeding mother can cause significant discomfort and gas in a baby. This is often caused by a baby that snacks often, but never feeds for long enough to get the hind milk.


  • The bottle you are using could be causing your baby to swallow too much air while feeding. Special anti-colic bottles are available on the market, and we hope to include some in our Product Directories soon.


  • If your baby feeds with a curved spine or is slumped down, it could cause gas to become trapped.


  • Excessive crying can also cause your baby to swallow air. The problem that occurs with Colic is that the baby cries a lot already and as they cry they can swallow more air, which worsens the situation.



  • In the same way, a breast fed baby, can react to substances in the mother’s breast milk, most often caused by the consumption of dairy products, but it can be caused by other food allergies. Refer to the section on Food Allergies and Intolerances for more information.


  • Gas is also caused by the normal breakdown of undigested food.


  • Gas can also be caused by gastric problems such as Reflux. Please see the section on Reflux for additional Information.


The information in this article was reviewed for medical accuracy by, Paediatrician and Allergy Specialist, Dr Claudia Gray (MBChB (UCT), MRCPCH (London), MScClin Pharm(Surrey), DipPaedNutrition (UK), PostgradDipAllergy (Southampton), Certified Paediatric Allergologist (SA))

Dr Gray works at the allergy clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and has a private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, contact 021 531 8013.