Today my baby made a funny face, lifted his leg high, and let one rip. Then a satisfied smile and some cooing. I couldn’t help laughing - grown men do that all the time (minus the cooing, usually) but I never would have imagined my son would too, at this age!
As sure as the sun rises, every animal on the planet passes wind. Today’s article is devoted to the baby’s take on flatulence - a.k.a. nature’s pressure valve.
The Movement of Gas
Farts originate in the intestine and are caused by gas being absorbed by the blood, chemical reactions and bacterial excretions. In most people the result is mostly nitrogen but about 1/3 of the population produces methane as well.
The muscles of your lower intestine are so sensitive they are able to detect the difference between gas and stools - this is why we don’t poop our pants half the time we think we are going to far. A baby has not yet developed control over these muscles, which is why they seem to be straining to poop but all they produce is a lot of tooting.
Moving the Legs in a Bicycle Motion Helps it Along
If baby is uncomfortable or if you want to help along the gas (this works for poops too) move their legs in a circular motion as if they were riding a bicycle. Most babies love this, and it gets the pooper going, sometimes - alas not always - breaking a spell of constipation.
Relief at Last
A fart may be preceded or followed by fussing from the baby. Adults can be uncomfortable when they have to pass gas - imagine having that feeling without knowing how to relieve it. My little one generally looks quite pleased after he fluffs - let alone after bowel movements.
When Gas Isn’t Normal
Excessive gas combined with discomfort can be a sign that your baby is exhibiting lactose intolerance and should be taken to see a doctor. Some babies require a switch to soy-based formula in order to do well.
For those parents of babies who are just naturally gassy, take heart! As your baby becomes more mobile, the issues will work themselves out. We try to do all we can to help our children but sometimes only mother nature can fix the mess.
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