Newborn baby flatulence: How to treat and prevent it

Newborn baby flatulence: How to treat and prevent it

If your newborn baby has a bloated tummy, is unusually fussy and passing a lot of gas, what can you do to help ease her flatulence problems?

Your tiny newborn may look innocent and angelic, but are her farts loud enough to turn heads and make people suspect it was actually coming from you? Does she have flatulence? 

The sound of your bub breaking wind might make you giggle at first, but if she’s red in the face, more fussy than usual and seems to be passing gas pretty often, could it be a sign of tummy troubles and should you actually be concerned?

What causes flatulence in newborns?

It’s common for babies to pass gas about 13 – 21 times a day due to several reasons such as:

1. Swallowing air when feeding

Your little one can swallow some air into her tummies while feeding, causing her to expel wind later on either by burping or farting.

However breastfed babies might be less likely to encounter this problem as they can control the milk flow at the breast so they can suck slowly which lets them to better coordinate their breathing and swallowing.

2. Sucking on a baby pacifier

Some parents find that a baby pacifier may help their little one stop crying and stay content for a while, but the action of sucking on the teat could encourage your bub to swallow air into her tummy.

3. Excessive crying

Babies cry all the time as a first form of verbal communication, but if you leave your newborn crying for too long or if she cries excessively, she will also gulp in a lot of air.

4. Lactose intolerance

Formula fed babies tend to be at greater risk of developing a milk protein allergy due to the cow’s or goat’s milk protein and soy based infant formula.

But breastfed babies can also develop an allergic reaction due to the milk proteins transferred into breast milk from any dairy products consumed by their mother.

Signs of gas

Besides the audible toots coming from your bub’s bottom, if your newborn has gas, she might:

  • Burp often
  • Get fussy
  • Be bloated
  • Cry a lot
  • Have a hard tummy
  • Pull up her legs, then stretch them out while arching her back (this can also be due to colic or reflux)

Massaging your baby helps with her flatulence problems. | Image courtesy: stock image

How to prevent it

Here are a few steps you can take to prevent your baby from having flatulence:

1. Feed your baby upright

Hold your bub more upright during feedings which helps the milk travel smoothly into her stomach, or tilt the bottle at a thirty-to-forty-degree angle so that any air can rise to the bottom of the bottle.

2. Burp your baby frequently

Remember to burp your baby often during and after feeding, so as to help expel any wind which she may have swallowed.

3. Check the bottle’s nipple

If your little one feeds from a bottle, make sure that the hole in the nipple isn’t too small, which might frustrate her and make her gulp for more milk — and if it’s too big, it can cause the milk to flow too quickly.

4. Avoid fuss foods

Go on an elimination diet if you’re breastfeeding your bub and suspect she has any food allergies or senstivities, which could be causing her flatulence or even colic.

How to treat it

There are several ways you can help to treat your bub’s flatulence problems, including:

  • Abdominal massage
  • Baby bends (lay your baby on her back, bend her knees and legs while applying gentle pressure on tummy)
  • Gas relief drops
  • Tummy rolls
  • Warm baths
  • Baby probiotics
  • Gripe water
  • Baby bicycle (move your baby’s legs in a cycling motion as she’s on her back)
  • Burping

When to worry

It’s normal for a newborn baby to have some flatulence, but in rare cases it might actually be the first sign of a more serious digestive problem.

So if your baby has any of the following symptoms along with flatulence, you should contact a doctor immediately to rule out food allergies, stomach flu or GERD:

  • Does not poop or has bloody stools
  • Fussiness and you can’t get her to calm down
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Pediatrician Dr Jennifer Shu, MD says, “If your baby is generally happy and only fusses for a few seconds while passing gas, that’s a sign that it’s normal. Even if they turn red and make noise, it doesn’t mean that it bothers them. If they’re happy in between episodes and not too distressed during them, there’s probably nothing wrong.”

Once your bub’s digestive tract grows, her flatulence will become less of an issue and there should be no more stares from surprised strangers!

Does your little one have gas problems? What’s your remedy for baby flatulence? Share your comments with us below

Also read: Why does my baby fart so much?

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