As tiny as cute as they can be, babies are just like the rest of us in that they can suffer from some pretty gassy days. But, is there ever a time to be concerned about baby gas? We’ll address that and other common questions in this blog.
What causes baby gas?
When food moves through your baby’s GI tract (or anyone’s GI tract, for that matter), the small intestine absorbs the unusable ingredients. During this process, bacteria in the large intestine breaks down the leftovers, releasing hydrogen and carbon monoxide which creates bubbles of gas. One way to expel that gas from a body is through burping which allows some of the gas to escape from the stomach earlier than other methods. The rest of the gas travels from the colon to the rectum, where it comes out as poop or gas.
Here’s the thing, though: not all gas passes easily. In some cases, it collects in the digestive tract, leading to bloating and discomfort. Because babies have immature digestive systems, they tend to produce a lot of gas which is entirely normal. The baby gas situation is only exacerbated by the fact that babies tend to take in a lot of air during feedings and when they cry.
Baby gas symptoms
So, what are the symptoms of gas, and should they ever be cause for concern? You may notice your baby passing quite a bit of gas, sometimes between 13 and 21 times a day, but that’s OK! Before these gassy moments, you might notice a few of the common symptoms or warning signs associated with these moments. They include:
- Becoming fussy
- Bloated belly
- A belly that seems hard
On occasion, gassy babies might seem as if they are very uncomfortable or even in pain. Make note of these moments, but remember that if your baby is generally happy and only becomes fussy for a few seconds while passing gas, everything is perfectly normal. Your poor little one might even turn red (or flushed) and make a noise when they try to pass gas, but that’s also entirely normal.
Baby gas relief
If the sight of your baby feeling discomfort concerns you or if you notice his or her gassy moments seem pretty continuous, there are some things you can do to help provide relief. One option is to gently massage your baby’s belly to help work out the gas. Ways to do this include massaging the belly in a clockwise motion or gently moving your baby’s legs in and out in a bicycling motion. Other options for providing relief include being diligent about burping after feeding, changing the style of baby bottle or nipple during feedings, and breastfeeding moms eliminate dairy from their diets.
Don’t stress, mom and dad. Remember that in most cases, baby gas issues will generally go away on their own as your baby’s stomach and digestive systems mature. You should consider taking your baby to the doctor, however, if you are unable to settle your baby between gassy moments for a sustained amount of time or if his or her belly appears overly distended. In some cases, these are warning signs that reflux or an allergic reaction could be the real issue rather than gas.