If your baby farts and is especially uncomfortable or cries incessantly while doing so, then that's a reason to worry. Read on to know more.
In case you didn’t know, babies are gassy. Baby fart, burp, shart and poop is very common round the clock. In fact, the amount of gas they release on an hourly basis can sometimes put a grown man to shame.
But this is not news.
Everything you should know about why your baby farts so much
Since babies eat quite frequently, their digestive systems are working round the clock. Plus, babies gain weight at a rapid pace too – about 140 to 200 grams each week, to be precise.
As their tummies grow, so does their appetite. And the cycle continues.
Why does my baby fart so much?
Apart from regular growth, there could be other reasons for your baby’s excessive gas.
Your own consumption of food that causes gas is one culprit. Other suspects include intake of extra gas while breastfeeding, starting solids sooner than six months, or even drinking citrus juices. Let’s understand each individually.
Growing digestive system:
Your baby’s digestive system is immature and growing slowly. When your baby breastfeeds or eats solids, his digestive system doesn’t break down the food properly. As a result, gas gets trapped in the intestines, and it causes pain when passed. This is why your baby farts so much. As your baby grows up and his digestive system matures, this situation is soon corrected.
Bacterial imbalance in the body:
Babies are born with an absolutely clean gut, which means they do not possess probiotics. The good bacteria in probiotics processes nutrients in the food and supplement digestive enzymes. Therefore, it takes babies a few months to properly digest breast milk. This often leads to formation of excessive gas. Once the baby picks up ‘good bacteria’ through breastfeeding and food sources, the excessive farting will stop.
Incorrect breastfeeding postures:
If your baby has a poor latch or is trying to keep up with a heavy milk supply, she may end up swallowing a lot of air. This air could form bubbles in the intestines leading to excessive farting. One way to help your baby in this situation is to switch between breasts while feeding so she doesn’t swallow excess air. You can also try placing your baby in a vertical position while feeding. You will notice baby fart will go down.
Breastmilk and bottle feeding:
When you breastfeed your baby, all the nutrients that you consume automatically pass on to your baby. And if you eat gassy foods such as citrus foods or dairy, your infant may suffer from flatulence. Also, it’s natural for your baby to inhale air bubbles while feeding. This is especially true if he uses bottles with small nipples where the chances of swallowing more air bubbles increase.
First solid feed:
Many babies also become extremely gassy when they are introduced to solid foods. Since their digestive systems are immature and only used to breast milk, the introduction of solids force their digestive tract to work more. This leads to the release of gas.
Life outside a mother’s womb can be challenging for babies. And as they grow older, they become sensitive to the world. All of this can make the baby uncomfortable, making him cry incessantly. That is his only response to everything. Crying causes excess gas to enter his body and therefore, excessive baby fart.
Gassy mom, gassy baby:
If you notice a peculiar smell in your baby’s fart (let’s admit it, all moms have smelled their baby’s farts), it may be because of the food you are eating. For instance, garlic, cauliflower, egg, asparagus, and starch-rich foods such as potatoes, rice, bread, rice and potatoes can cause your baby’s farts to stink. If you are worried that the food you are eating is to blame, then stop eating these foods for at least 3 days. Maintaining a food diary also helps baby fart.
Lactose intolerance/ Transient Lactase Deficiency (TLD):
Another reason that your baby may be so gassy is that he is lactose intolerant. Our adult bodies naturally produce the enzyme ‘lactase’ in order to break down sugars like galactose and glucose. But sometimes, the baby’s body is unable to produce enough lactose to break down these small sugars, and he may develop lactose intolerance. This unbroken lactose then travels to the large intestine where it ferments and is converted into gas. So within two hours of consuming lactose, a baby may become cranky or gassy.
Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER):
When your baby spits up after his feed, it is medically called GER. A baby who has reflux spits out saliva, digestive juices, breast milk, and sometimes vomit. Although babies outgrow it when they are over six months of age (since they sit and crawl more often), the unusual amount of spitting and throwing up can make the child irritable and therefore, gassy.
Use of antibiotics:
Sometimes babies suffer from infections that require antibiotics.These antibiotics often destroy microflora in their intestines. This gives rise to flatulence, excessive farting and sometimes even diarrhea. Also, if the mother is prescribed antibiotics then her breast milk during that period can also lead to excessive farting in the baby.
While all of these factors can cause excessive farting, it is still considered normal and after your baby strengthens his digestive abilities, flatulence may go away.
However, if the smell of your baby’s fart is as nasty as that coming from his dirty diaper or if he farts uncontrollably, perhaps it is a cause of concern.
In that case, it’s better to gain a complete understanding about the health condition of your gassy baby.
Should I be worried that my baby farts so much?
To begin with, if your baby farts a lot it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is unwell. It could just mean that he is gassy.
As a rule, observe your baby first. If you see him cry a little and rub his eyes, or make faces while farting, this is normal.
But if you notice that your child is especially uncomfortable or cries incessantly while farting, then he may be suffering from excessive gas. You should also keep a look out for the following indicators of excessive gas in babies:
- Bloated tummy
- Burping more than usual
- Excessive farting
- Excessive crying
- Tummy cramps (cries when you press his/her tummy)
- Hard tummy
All of these are indicators of excessive gas, but there is still no need to worry. As your baby grows, his digestive tract will get stronger.
Meanwhile, you can try a few things at home to ease the baby fart and help the gas out of your baby’s body.
Are there home remedies to relieve baby’s gas?
- Start with laying your baby down on his tummy and gently rubbing and patting his back in order to get the gas out of his body.
- Gently rub your baby’s tummy in a clockwise direction and move his legs in a cycling motion.
- Give your baby some gripe water to ease gas out of him.
- Try warm fermentation on your baby’s tummy.
Give him some time, but if the situation persists after a day or so, take him to a doctor for a proper health analysis.
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore