Small babies feed very often in order to develop and grow in those first few months. There is the possibility that they swallow too much air during the feed. This trapped air can be very uncomfortable for the baby and cause them to cry and fuss. Some babies are able to dispel that trapped air easily whilst others have difficulty and require medication. There are a few options when choosing medication to help with trapped gas. Simethicone is a mixture of two compounds that is sold to help babies expel the excess swallowed air. There are many various brand names of simethicone for babies available but the active ingredients remain the same.

Is Simethicone Safe for Babies?

Simethicone is considered generally safe for babies. However, most brands add various excipients to mask the taste and stabilize the mixture. These stabilizers and sweeteners are other chemicals that can cause potential allergies or other side effects in the babies. Many simethicone brands advise administering the drops after all meals and before bedtime to prevent the gas bubbles from travelling to the small intestine. This frequent dosing can be costly and very inconvenient to parents.

How Does Simethicone Work?

The simethicone mixture works by breaking up the tiny gas bubbles into larger bubbles so that they are burped up easily. It is only effective on gas bubbles in the stomach and provides no relief to gassiness in the intestines. But there have been some studies conducted that find no clear proof that simethicone is effective in alleviating the symptoms of gassiness in babies.

How to Use Simethicone for Babies

Most brands available of simethicone have the same general guidelines for use:

  1. 1. Ensure the bottle is shaken well to ensure the ingredients are well mixed. If a bottle of liquid stands uninterrupted for a period of time, the heavier particles could settle at the bottom.
  2. 2. Simethicone should only be administered orally–usually at bedtime and after feeds. If prescribed by a doctor, the dosage frequency may differ.
  3. 3. Read the package insert carefully to ensure you follow the directions properly. Ask your doctor or a pharmacist if you are unsure of anything. Rather be cautious than inadvertently overdose your baby.
  4. 4. Once the correct volume of simethicone is in the dropper, you can carefully squeeze the liquid into the baby's mouth. Direct the liquid towards the inner cheek to help with swallowing and to prevent spitting out of the liquid.
  5. 5. After each use, clean the dropper properly and seal the bottle tightly.
  6. 6. If the baby finds no relief from the gassiness with the simethicone for babies, consult your doctor for further evaluation.
  7. 7. If you notice the baby experiencing any side effects after consuming simethicone, see your doctor. Allergic reactions are rare but be on the lookout for a rash, any swelling, breathing difficulties etc.

Dosage of Simethicone

The bottle of simethicone usually has a dropper which must be used to administer the correct dosage. The dosage is calculated according the baby's weight and age. The usual dose for babies under 2 years of age: 20 mg about four times daily by mouth. For children between 2 and 12 years old: 40 mg four times per day by mouth.

If you wish, the required dosage can also be mixed into the baby formula or water. Ensure you mix it well before feeding the baby. If not otherwise directed by your doctor, ensure you do not exceed 12 doses per day.

Other Methods to Relieve Gas Pain

Apart from using simethicone for babies, gassiness typically resolves on its own as the baby grows and the digestive system becomes more mature. If you choose not to treat the excessive swallowed air with chemicals, there are few tips to follow to minimize the discomfort for your baby:

  • Keep baby upright during feeds to avoid taking in too much air with the milk.
  • Burp the baby regularly after each feed–keep the baby in an upright position and gently pat the back with a little pressure on the tummy region.
  • If breastfeeding, minimize your caffeine intake. Spicy food and alcohol have also been known to increase gassiness in the breastfed baby.
  • For bottle-feeding, ensure the teat is fast-flowing. A slow-flowing teat will allow the baby to get less formula in but more air as he gulps more to get the formula.
  • Soothe fussy babies by rocking them gently. You may push them in a pram or pushchair because babies enjoy gentle movement. This may lull them off to sleep. Some babies are known to love a drive in a car. Ensure the baby is secure in his car seat and you are not too tired to get behind the wheel.
  • Many babies find comfort in being held close, either swaddled in a blanket or carried in a sling. Close contact with mum may just be the security that the baby needs to relax.
  • White noise has been used by many parents to pacify a fussy baby. You can use radio static, a dryer, a vacuum cleaner or the sound of a washing machine. Some babies enjoy calming music to relax.
  • Gentle back and tummy rubs or even a warm bath may help.
  • Over-stimulating a baby can also lead to fussiness. Avoid picking up and putting them down too frequently. Keep the room where you feed the baby, quiet and peaceful.
  • Some parents chose to offer their baby a pacifier. If this works well and helps to soothe the baby, use it.