Babies farting never cease to put anyone in fits of giggles. It’s rude, but we adults often find it funny, especially when the little one is startled by his own fart. What is not funny is if you notice that your baby is passing gas more than usual. It gets more worrisome when he gets uncomfortable and lapse into plaintive cries during the night. When should you worry and not worry about your baby farting a lot?
Flatulence is common among babies that could round up to about 13 to 21 times a day. The need to pass more is due to his developing digestive system that is still learning to process food into poop. During eating and crying, gas also accumulates in his tummy. When your baby is improperly latched, there’s a good chance that he will swallow more air. Sometimes, food sensitivity like lactose intolerance also makes the matter worse. Farting is a normal process to help his tummy relieve these gas pressures.
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What Causes Babies’ Flatulence?
From three up to six weeks of your baby’s age, gas becomes a common annoyance. Farting is a sign that too much gas has pooled up in his digestive tract. As your child gets older and starts taking solid foods, flatulence is also unavoidable.
Undigested food and his tummy’s new adjustment to solids can accumulate gas. When probiotics and enzymes have established themselves in his digestive tract, he will eventually weather down with farting.
Although farting is not a cause of much concern, parents will want to avoid this if they can. Gas is not at all bad as the body needs it to break down food. What you should avoid with your baby though, is making him swallow it excessively.
Swallowing of Air
Swallowing of air, or aerophagia in medical terms, is the most common and obvious cause of farting, especially in newborns. It does not happen only during feeding. When your baby is crying or laughing a lot, it can lead to gas accumulation in his tummy.
Sucking on excess air is more common in bottle-fed babies, but it is also possible in direct-breastfeeding infants. If the nipples have large holes and he is drinking rapidly, expect more farting episodes from your little one.
Colicky babies also tend to pass more gas. But it is important to note that gas is not the cause of colic. But if your baby has colic and is crying nonstop, he may swallow more air. It is what gives him more gas and increases flatulence.
Incorrect Latching and Breastfeeding Positions
Improperly latching your infant will not only cause underfeeding but is also the culprit in introducing more gas in his digestive tract. The buildup of air bubbles in his tummy can give him discomfort until he can release it through farting.
Sometimes a clicking sound from a baby during feeding is an indication that he is not properly latched. Nurse your baby properly and help him maintain his good seal at the breast. Babies, especially newborns, take some trial and error in perfecting their latch. A proper latch can do so much in reducing the amount of air that your baby swallows during feeding.
My friend relates to me this experience they have on the onslaught of COVID-19. Most stores were closed, curfews were imposed, but dad forgot to buy their baby’s formula. He ended up giving their seven-month-old fortified cow’s milk. But it’s better than letting the baby starve, isn’t it?
She came home from work to a stinky and loud fart-popping baby with the amused dad.
His amusement was dashed when the baby got more uncomfortable and fussy, and the wife angry. She was thankful the simethicone drops worked as she can’t risk a trip to the doctor. At least, dad now knows that whole cow’s milk is not the best. And he’s stacking their shelf with formula milk from that day onwards.
The thing is, certain foods or formula milk components need to be age-appropriate for your baby. Indigestion can cause so much worse scenarios than gas. It will not only leave excess gas in your baby’s tummy but can also increase the risk of constipation or diarrhea owing to his immature digestive system.
The chances of a baby suffering from food sensitivity are low if you are breastfeeding. That’s because a mom’s milk is custom-tailored for his needs. However, the risk of mom passing certain allergens is possible if she is not watchful of her diet.
If you have noticed that your baby is passing a lot of gas, rectifying your diet may help turn it around. Try eliminating certain food you think triggers the flatulence and see if it makes a difference.
Overstimulation and Movement
Babies do get stressed like adults and get those butterflies in their stomachs too. Loud noises, bright lights, strangers, or even unfamiliar touches can induce anxiety in your little one. According to Healthline Parenthood, stress and overstimulation are among the factors of gas buildup in your baby’s tummy.
There is this brain-and-gut connection that causes an upset stomach whenever someone is stressed. Your baby may also pick up stress around his environment. This stress will make him extra fussy, cranky, and gassy.
Moreover, babies also spend most of their time sleeping and feeding. With his limited movement, gas can pool up in his intestines. It happens because his tummy needs a little help in pushing out gas and poop. A little tummy time every day will help your baby release excess gas.
Some Helpful Tips for Easing Baby’s Farts
The best way of preventing gas is by minimizing the amount of air that your baby swallows. Helping him push it out will also give him immediate relief. Here are other useful things you can do to relieve your baby from too much farting.
Burp your baby
Burping the baby is the first thing you can do to release excess gas that he has swallowed. Do this after every feed and before switching breasts during feeding. If you are bottle-feeding, take time to do this in the middle of the feed.
Here are some of our baby burping techniques to help you do it right.
Massage your baby’s tummy
Massaging your baby’s tummy will push down air from his digestive tract. It will make it easier for him to release gas with ease. Massage your little one’s tummy in a circular clockwise movement. Pull your hands down the curve of his belly. Repeat this several times.
Take note though: You may want to put off tummy massage until your baby’s cord is completely healed.
Give him his daily tummy time
A tummy time every day makes a happy baby. This workout will exercise your baby’s neck muscles. It will also put pressure on his tummy to push out some gas. Tummy time helps alleviate gas pain and lessen his episodes of farting.
Breastfeed your baby properly
Observe the proper breastfeeding technique to make sure your baby is getting much food and less air. Hold your baby at an angle so that his head is slightly elevated from his body. It may also help to hold your baby in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after feeding and burping.
See this breastfeeding position and techniques for more information.
Bottle-feed your baby correctly
Feeding bottles have nipple sizes that are suited for the baby’s age. Use one that is appropriate for your baby’s needs. You should also allow formula or breast milk to settle down after shaking before giving it to your baby. Tilt the bottle and make sure that the nipple is full as your baby is feeding.
Also, choose the right formula for your baby while minding food allergies.
Mom should mind her diet
Moms should take precautions if the baby’s frequent farting seems to originate from her food. Unfortunately, since it is latent, you can only hypothesize which one causes it. Just be wary of foods containing allergens that you think cause your baby’s bloating and gassiness.
Exercise your baby
Bicycling your baby’s legs or doing the frog kick helps remove trapped air in your baby’s stomach. Initiating mobility is a step in limiting those explosive and startling farts and soothing gassiness.
Here’s how to do the frog kick exercise:
- Lay your baby on his back.
- Begin by warming your palm and placing it on top of your baby’s tummy to settle down the gas.
- Hold his lower legs and move them in slight clockwise rotation as though he is cycling. Do this gently and don’t overstretch his legs.
- Bring your baby’s legs up to his tummy and release. Do this a few more times.
- Repeat the cycling process a few more times.
What foods can make my baby gassy if I am breastfeeding?
Babies will mostly tolerate their mother’s diet in breast milk. When you think your baby gets gassy, avoid cruciferous veggies like kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, etc. Limit your intake of beans and spicy foods too.
Dairy products in a mom’s diet may also cause food sensitivity in infants. Mothers need to be observant to know the triggers and eliminate them from their diet.
Is burping a baby necessary even when he is asleep?
Yes. Even if your baby drifts off during feeding, make time to burp him before laying him down to sleep. Gas does not sleep with your baby and will only build up in his intestines.
You can hold the baby in the same position as you would when he is awake. In fact, you will find it easier to burp a sleeping baby than an alert one.
How long can I put the baby to lie down after feeding?
As a rule of the thumb, hold your baby upright for 30 to 45 minutes after feeding and even after burping. It will prevent milk from coming back up his mouth and prevent gassiness.
How long before I stop burping my baby?
As your infant gets older, you will notice that he does not burp after feeding anymore. It means that he already masters feeding without sucking in excess air. Then, you can already let him do whatever he wants after feeding without having to burp him.
Gas is normal and unavoidable in babies. However, knowing few techniques can help minimize the discomfort that it brings. The first step always starts with prevention.
If your baby seems to be extra fussy and refuses to settle down, then visit your pediatrician. He may recommend gas drops like simethicone if your baby’s gassiness is getting disruptive.
Some parents also trust homeopathic remedies like cumin water for strengthening their baby’s digestive system. It’s not conventional, but most parents guarantee its benefits.
What’s your take on this and your baby’s extreme farting? You can share with us your experience by commenting down below.
Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She had experiences in handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also used to train in labor rooms and pediatric wards – helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.