Congratulations, your new little one is home! All the bonding time with your baby is blissful, but it’s starting to feel a little repetitive with the constant feeding, burping, diaper changes and… farting? Yep, babies have a lot of gas.
At least now you can always blame it on the baby when someone breaks wind. But how much gas (and farting) is normal for such a tiny baby? Here’s what to know about your baby’s digestive health and gassiness — and what to do if your little bundle of joy seems too gassy.
Everyone — adults, children, and babies — pass gas every single day, usually several times a day. Farting is completely normal and healthy for our bodies. However, there are several reasons why babies sometime fart more than big people.
If your little one is farting a lot, their tummy might have more gas than usual. Too much gas can sometimes make your mini-me very uncomfortable and upset.
Your baby might act distressed — crying and fussy — if he is gassy. Farting is a welcome relief for babies (and adults) because it helps get rid of some of the gassiness and stomach bloating.
The good news? Babies who are still only drinking breast milk or formula have less smelly farts. Wait until your baby is eating solid foods — they will have some very pungent emissions!
There are several reasons why your baby might be gassy. They include:
Like a new little engine, a baby’s tummy and digestive tract needs time to warm up. A baby’s digestive system is still developing and doesn’t yet have enough friendly bacteria to help with digestion.
Some babies have normal amounts of gas, but they might be more sensitive to it and need to pass it more. You might notice that your little one squirms, arches their back, or makes a face like they’re trying to go to the bathroom, until they find release.
All this farting might have something to do with feeds. How you’re feeding them can make a difference in how much gas they need to pass.
If you’re not burping your baby enough after every feed, any leftover gas has to come out the other end! You can burp during and after feeds to help alleviate gas.
You can also pay attention to bubbles and position when bottle feeding. After shaking formula, let it settle before a feed to reduce the air bubbles in the mix.
While your baby eats, make sure you’re positioned so that the nipple is full of milk or formula. Holding a bottle so that the nipple has air in it might also push more air into your baby’s stomach.
If you’re breastfeeding your baby, he may still gulp a lot of air with the milk. Some babies latch on a bit loosely and also suck in air as they try to get a nice, long drink. Go for a deep latch at each feed.
Food sensitivity or intolerance
What you’re feeding your baby can also make a difference when it comes to gas. Some babies have sensitivities or intolerance to some kinds of milk formula. This can throw a wrench into their already cranky digestion — causing more gas and more farting.
Your breast milk might also change depending on what you’re eating. Changes in your diet might lead to changes in your baby’s digestion and gassiness. If your little one seems fussy or gassy in connection with something you’ve eaten, you can try eliminating the food from your diet to see if it helps.
Babies don’t commonly get constipated. They usually have runny, soft poops. But constipation can happen in some babies, and is more likely if they are formula-fed or have started solids. If your baby is gassy, check their diaper to see how long it’s been since a good number two.
Sometimes a baby may go a few days without pooping — especially breastfed babies. If the poops when they do go are still soft and moist, don’t worry — dry, hard poops are an indicator of constipation.
Babies just can’t catch a break some days. They might be crying a lot because it’s their only means of communication. They may cry more because all this digesting and farting business is sometimes uncomfortable.
But all this wailing means your baby is swallowing a lot of air. The air has to get out somehow — and sometimes that release comes in the form of a fart.
Along with pooping and farting a lot, babies spend a lot of time sleeping. They spend a lot of time reclined and aren’t able to move around much on their own. The digestive tract is a muscle and it needs body movement to help push gas (and waste) out.
All this sleeping and lounging can make gas build up in your little one’s tummy. This can lead to occasional, big farts that you notice, rather than regular little farts that your nose might not pick up.
If your baby is taking any kind of medication or supplement, it may change their digestion. Even a little bit of a change can cause more gas and farting.
If you’re breastfeeding, any medication or supplement you take can also affect your little one.
Babies can get anxiety and stress just like adults do. They might have naturally high levels of anxiety or they be picking up on what you’re feeling and what’s going on around them.
It’s normal to sometimes be sad or upset in front of your baby. Just keep talking to them and meeting their needs as much as possible. The right kind of attention can help most babies relax.
Some gassiness is completely normal for babies and will get better over time. Regular farting is also normal and a sign of good health for both babies and adults. But if your baby is gassier than normal, there are several ways to help soothe their little tummy.
Burp your baby
Burp your baby often and properly after every feed. Burping gets rid of some of the extra air that is swallowed when your baby sucks on a bottle or the breast. If the air doesn’t come out in a burp, it can collect in the stomach and come out the other end!
Don’t worry if your baby has a bit of spit-up along with the burp. Avoid laying your baby down right after feeding or without burping them.
Check your baby’s bottles
Check your baby’s bottle and nipple. Use a small bottle for little ones because their tiny stomachs can’t feed that much at a time anyway. Allow formula or breast milk to settle after shaking.
Use an appropriate nipple size so the flow of formula is slow but steady. A nipple hole that’s too small can frustrate your baby and force them to suck harder, taking in more air as they do so. A nipple hole that’s too large can lead to your baby gulping and swallowing more air, feeding too quickly, and overfeeding.
Getting your baby to move can help soothe some of the gassiness and extra farting. Movement helps the digestive tract get rid of trapped gas faster, so those explosive farts are few and far between.
Get your baby moving (and have some fun, bonding time with them) by:
- Changing positions. Roll your baby onto their tummy for a little while and then onto their back.
- Bicycling legs. Lay your baby on their back, hold both feet and gently cycle them in a peddling motion.
- Doing a jig. Hold your baby upright in your lap and jiggle and bounce them gently around in a dancing motion.
Babies love massages just as much as you do! Massaging your baby’s tummy, legs, back, and entire body can help calm and relax them. A baby massage can also help ease stress and anxiety for baby and mommy.
Gently press on their tummy in a circular motion to help move some of the extra gassiness out. Your baby may enjoy it so much they’ll let out another fart as a thank you.
Change your baby’s diet (or yours)
It happens rarely, but babies can have an intolerance or an allergy to milk. Only about 7 percent of babies under the age of one year have a true allergy to cow’s milk. But your baby might still be sensitive to cow’s milk.
If feedings seem to upset their tummy, you might need to change your baby’s formula if it has cow-milk based ingredients like:
Other ingredients in your baby’s formula might also be harder for them to digest, leading to more farting. These include added:
- wheat proteins
- grain proteins
Ask your baby’s pediatrician about the best formula for them. Some doctors may recommend switching to different formula to see if this helps reduce the gassiness.
If you’re only breastfeeding your baby, your diet can make a difference in how your baby digests the milk.
Some foods may affect some babies and not others. If your baby is gassier than normal after you’ve eaten something, try avoiding the food for a few days or weeks to see if they get better.
Foods that mama eats that might cause extra gassiness and farting in some breast-fed babies include:
- cow’s milk
- dairy products
- flavored chips
- processed snacks
- spicy foods
- sugary drinks
- flavored foods
Treat baby constipation
Your baby might have hard bowel movements if they are constipated. Let your pediatrician know if your baby is constipated for more than a day or two. They can work with you on treatments.
Gassiness and farting is a natural, healthy part of life for babies (and adults). Some babies can get extra gassy as they figure out feeding and digestion.
In most cases, your baby’s digestion and farting will balance out with a little help from home exercises and remedies. Let your pediatrician know if your baby is extra gassy, cries more than normal, or hasn’t pooped in a few days.