All babies have gas — but not equally. Some babies are rarely bothered by it, while others seem to suffer after every meal, squirming and crying with gassy tummies. Why do some babies seem so much gassier than others?
Your gassy baby
In the first three months of life, babies spend more time eating and digesting than at any other time in their lives. Think about it: a newborn often eats every two hours for the first few weeks.
Eating and digesting is a dynamic process that requires energy and the coordinated movement of the gut. In short, it’s hard work, and gas is a byproduct of that work! Babies can pass gas anywhere from 13-21 times per day — that’s almost every hour of the day — and while they might be small, the gas is mighty and often as loud as a fully grown adult’s. Nevertheless, some babies seem more bothered by this than others. Here are a few reasons some babies suffer more obviously from infant gas:
- Your baby needs more frequent burping during feedings. While The Nemours Foundation recommends burping a baby after about every 2-3 ounces of formula feeding or when switching over to another breast, especially gassy babies may need more frequent burping times.
- Your baby may not be digesting something well. If you breastfeed, it’s possibly something you’re eating (a common culprit is cow’s milk) is harder to digest. Talk to your doctor to determine if an elimination diet may be in order to pinpoint the cause.
- Your baby eats larger volumes at a time. More food in the belly to digest can equal larger amounts of gas that are more difficult to get rid of. Switching to more frequent feedings with smaller amounts may help reduce your baby’s gas.
- Your baby has colic. Colic is common in babies less than four months of age. While gas doesn’t cause colic, your little one may take in more air when crying, creating increased amounts of gas.
The good news is that having a gassy baby is rarely cause for concern. If you can relieve his or her gas by cycling the legs, burping more frequently, and adjusting feedings and/or feeding times, you shouldn’t worry about a larger problem. Remember to feed when your baby shows early signs of hunger, and don’t wait until they are upset because that contributes to gas as well.
If your baby’s gas doesn’t seem to be relieved by much of anything, talk to his or her pediatrician. They can offer additional suggestions and can confirm that your child is growing well. In very rare instances, excess gas can indicate a concern with your child’s gastrointestinal tract. If your infant has blood in his or her stools, you need to let the doctor know.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, August 2019
- Not every human is the same, and that includes babies and their gas.
- Some babies may be suffering from colic, which doesn’t cause gas but increases the amount of air they take in.
- Try to burp your baby more during feedings or have more frequent feedings with smaller amounts each time.