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Gas relief tube for newborns: how to use


During the first days of life, infants may experience excessive gas buildup in the intestines, which can cause pain and discomfort. A gas relief tube can help alleviate this problem, making the baby more comfortable and improving their digestion. In this article, we will discuss how to properly use a gas relief tube for newborns.

What is a rectal catheter for newborns?

A rectal catheter (gas relief tube) is a probe made of rubber, silicone, or other hypoallergenic material that is used to introduce the infant to the rectum. The catheter helps to remove gas from the intestines. This may be necessary if the infant experiences colic.

The modern medical equipment market offers various options for rectal catheters. They can be disposable or reusable. A reusable gas relief tube for newborns is a durable rubber hose. However, it should be noted that such a device requires careful sterilization after each use to prevent the risk of catheter-associated infections. Therefore, in home conditions, pediatricians recommend using disposable devices.

How to use a gas relief tube for infants?

As a rule, manufacturers of tubes for gas relief in newborns always attach instructions for use, not only with a detailed description, but also with pictures. Therefore, any new parent should have no trouble making their baby’s life easier. Moreover, considering the psychological characteristics of infants in the first days and months of life, they will not resist. Therefore, performing the manipulation will be quite easy. The main thing is to follow the instructions.

To avoid any doubts, we will provide the traditional way of using a gas relief tube for newborns:

  • Lay the baby on their back and gently massage their tummy;
  • Lubricate the tip of the tube with oil or cream;
  • Carefully insert the tip into the rectal opening, after which the gas will gradually begin to come out;
  • After use, dispose of the tube in the trash.

As you can see, the instruction for a gas relief tube for newborns is quite simple.

Important rules for using a gas release tube

Previously, we clarified the algorithm for inserting a gas release tube for colic in newborns. Now, let’s highlight a few important points regarding the use of this device:

  • It is prohibited to insert a gas release tube if the child has clenched their sphincter and does not allow the tip to advance further. You must wait until they relax before continuing the insertion or extraction.
  • Rectal catheters should not be used for every episode of bloating and difficulty passing gas. Pediatricians note that if a child wriggles, strains, turns red, trying to release their bowels, this is a normal reaction. When asked how often a gas release tube for newborns can be used, specialists do not recommend using the device more than 3 times a day.
  • In addition to gas release tubes being classified as reusable or disposable, they also come with and without a restrictor. Ukrainian pediatrician, Yevgeny Komarovsky, recommends using tubes of the first type since with a long probe, you may miscalculate the distance and damage the delicate intestine of the child.
  • Some parents are afraid to use this medical device, not knowing from what age they can use a gas release tube. Modern disposable gas release tubes for newborns can be used from the first days of life. However, before using the device, we strongly recommend consulting with a pediatrician regarding the type, material, and the presence of clear indications for use.
  • Answering the popular question of how to use a gas release tube correctly in terms of time, pediatricians emphasize that it should be held until all the gas has been expelled. On average, this process takes from 5 to 7 minutes.

We have tried to prepare answers to the most popular questions from parents regarding how to use a gas release tube for newborns. But is this really a universal panacea? Let’s continue to explore further.

Do newborns always need a gas relief tube?

Doctor Komarovsky finds it effective to use a gas relief tube for newborns in cases of constipation, colic, and abdominal pain in infants. However, he advises using the device rationally. He comments as follows:

“Increased gas formation is a common cause of abdominal pain in infants in the first 6 months of life. To help these children, medical science recommends using gas relief tubes, which really allow the baby’s intestines to be relieved of gas, provided that these gases are located in the area of the rectum or sigmoid colon. The main condition is that if you use a gas relief tube and it does not lead to an improvement in the condition, then your assumption about the cause of the child’s discomfort is incorrect, and you should consult a doctor who will make an accurate diagnosis.”

Are there any contraindications for use?

Many parents wonder how to use a gas relief tube for newborns in cases of:

  • Intestinal obstruction;
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases;
  • After abdominal surgery;
  • With a hernia;
  • Anal fissures.

We strongly emphasize that in these cases, the use of a rectal tube is strictly prohibited!

Now you have an idea of how to use a gas relief tube for newborns correctly. The main thing is to do everything slowly and carefully, and if the device does not help, you should immediately consult a doctor. You can find even more interesting information about babies in the first days and months of life in other sections of our blog!

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