Where does gas come from?

ColicCalm, NZ

Where does gas come from?

Where does gas come from in infants and newborns?

Gassiness in the newborn and many babies often results from multiple factors, not just one simple thing. There are different ways that air can get into babies’ digestive systems. Wind is produced in the digestive tract from the moment baby has his or her first drink of breast milk or formula. Newborn wind is a natural by-product of digesting lactose, proteins and other nutrients.

 

  1. Some pediatricians and lactation specialists assert that traces of wind-producing foods, such as cruciferous vegetables and legumes, can be passed from mother to baby. Other experts also warn against excessive acidity in the maternal diet. Citrus fruits and juices, strawberries and tomatoes are high in acidity and may irritate the infant. Dairy products in mother’s diet can also lead to “intolerances” in baby. The problem is usually linked to the milk protein found in milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, etc. Soy and peanut intolerance in babies often accompanies dairy intolerance. When breast feeding, a mother can test how these common culprits may be affecting her child by religiously eliminating all dairy, soy and peanut products from her own diet for two weeks. Reintroduction of soy first, then a cooked milk product (such as hard cheese or yogurt) should be done very slowly to monitor baby’s tolerances.
  2. Air bubbles can also be taken in through baby’s mouth. Most commonly, it is a result of the suction created during nursing. For this reason, it is important to burp every 3 to 5 minutes during feedings or between breasts. If your baby is bottle-fed, make certain that the bottle’s nipple is the right size. If the nipple is too big, it will cause your baby to eat too fast. If it’s too small, it will cause your baby to gulp air.
  3. Another possible reason for infant windiness is hyper-lactation syndrome. When a mother has a very abundant milk supply, she may produce a larger amount of foremilk. Foremilk is higher in water content, higher in lactose and usually delivered with greater force during letdown. In excess, foremilk can make baby’s stomach cramp, creating more fussiness. A baby that gulps the quickly flowing milk also tends to take in more air, thereby getting windier. Because the baby may not be getting enough of the rich hind milk, he or she tends to want to eat more often, which perpetuates the problem. The baby that suffers from hyper-lactation syndrome is characterized by higher than normal weight gain, increased gassiness, and fussiness.
  4. Over stimulation can also lead to increased windiness. Just as many adults experience intestinal disturbances in stressful situations, so are babies affected by their environments. Sensitive infants that are bombarded with noise, lights, touch and multiple experiences will usually “shut down” in an attempt to reduce stimulation. This shut down response does not completely insulate baby from the effects of the stimulation. Babies that are easily overloaded often experience more severe wind, fussiness, and difficulty sleeping later in the day or night. In general, the more activity (errands, visitors, T.V., phones, etc.) in baby’s day, the higher the chances of gassiness and fussiness in baby’s evening and night.
  5. The introduction of solid foods in older babies creates changes that may take baby some time getting used to since different enzymes and probiotics must build up to digest and absorb nutrients. Furthermore, foods that are commonly known to produce wind such as cruciferous vegetables, certain fruits and beans have the same effect in babies as they do in adults.
  6. A certain amount of crying is normal in all infants, since it is their only means of verbal communication. Babies’ crying may indicate that they are hungry, lonely, warm, cold, uncomfortable or in need of a diaper change. Many babies go through periods of crying for no apparent reason, as they simply get used to the new world. Crying in general causes babies to gulp air into their digestive systems. These air bubbles can get trapped in their stomach and/or passed on to the intestine. Wind pain can also be a direct result of air swallowed during crying

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