Are you concerned about your baby’s smelly gas?
You should be concerned but not to worry because there simple things you can do to help your little angel.
We’ll also look at the actual factors that contribute to the development of baby gas such as:
- Swallowed air especially during feeding and crying.
- The breakdown or digestion of food in the baby’s digestive system.
Babies can be having a varied pattern of the smell of the gas, which entirely depends on what the baby has eaten or the mom as the baby takes the food directly from the mom through breastfeeding.
At times, the baby might pass a non-smelly gas and so the mom will not be able to notice as to when the baby has farted or when the baby has not farted.
It is then upon the mom to determine how often the baby passes the gas and the typical smell of the gas which may sound really unpleasant just as the smell itself!
Gas is a compound; therefore, it consists of more than one form of the gas it is basically a collection of different gases altogether making one compound.
The gas mostly consists of carbon dioxide and other gases that do not have a smell like methane, nitrogen, and oxygen.
The gas that your baby produces when they fart it is a healthy by-product of the digestion of the nutrients found in the mama’s milk and or the formula administered in place of breast milk.
It is perfectly normal to have a gassy baby because of their immature digestive systems especially when the baby diet has been changed but then it is another thing to have a baby with a smelly gas.
Gas troubles usually start when babies are a couple of weeks old but some babies outgrow this trait when they are about four to six months old and for some, it lasts longer.
Here are some variations to help you separate a normal gas from a smelly gas;
i). No smell gas:
This goes unnoticed as maybe the gas is composed of non-smelly compound making it difficult to tell if the baby has farted as you may not smell anything at all maybe you can hear the fart.
ii). Mild sulfur-like smell:
This is mainly contributed by the type of food the infant takes and food rich in sulfur include beans, some vegetable such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are the greatest contributors.
So if you may have eaten these sulfur-rich foods while you are breastfeeding you might have noticed some gas from your baby that has got some mild sulfur-like smell.
iii). Strong sulfur-like smell:
This is majorly contributed by foods or diet with high meat compounds especially red meat diet which contains higher amounts of sulfur compounds.
This can also be contributed by the digestion of vegetable which contributes to a higher production of gases as the vegetable are higher in fiber and starch.
iv). Foul-smelling gas:
this is very unpleasant. If your baby farts such a foul-smelling gas strong and sulfur-like it is an indication of either poor absorption of nutrients especially lactose or even an infection.
You might have to reconsider your consumption of dairy milk and related milk products and also you might consider switching your baby formula from lactose based into a non-lactose-based formula.
Still, I strongly recommend that you discuss it over with your pediatrician.
If you cannot link up the smelly gas with the food then your kid may have developed a stomach infection.
You are recommended to keep monitoring your child for any other symptoms of infection such as fluctuating amounts of gas and stool, vomiting, poor feeding ad fussiness.
Fever should also be evaluated by a pediatrician in case it is over 100.4 degrees in an infant less than 3 months old.
Causes of gas in babies
1). Swallowing air during feeding or while crying: This is the most common cause of baby gas and it is perfectly normal especially for newborn babies.
2). Immature or underdeveloped digestive system: These immature systems do not hold food or slow down the food through the pipes and this makes the food pass quickly down the throat into the stomach making the food to be digested partially.
At this time the digestive system does not provide the grip to the food down the throat and the delay as the gut muscles have not developed yet to provide the grip.
3). Allergies and hypersensitiveness to certain types of baby formula and some food in the mom’s diet as breast milk may contain traces of mom’s food. These barely happen, it is a rare case.
4). Improper feeding technique: A poor positioning of the baby while feeding, while breastfeeding or feeding using the bottle may result in too much swallowing of air which may contribute to the development of gas.
5). Lactose overdose: The first breast milk to be administered to a newborn baby that is the foremilk contains more of the sugars and lactose while the milk that comes after, the hindmilk, contains more fat or it is richer in fat.
Experts argue that too much foremilk can lead to lactose overload which may contribute to fussiness and gas development.
Additionally, it is recommended that nursing mothers should empty each breast before moving on to another.
Some mothers also may have an oversupply of breast milk.
That’s the milk let down is faster or forceful causing the babies to gag or be fussy with feeding on the breast milk which might also cause them to develop gas due to the rapid intake and gagging of the breast milk.
6). Overfeeding: If a baby’s tummy cannot reciprocate or accommodate the amount of intake then it is likely that the baby may develop gas problems. According to Bill Sears, a renowned pediatrician.”
Feeding too fast may produce lactose overload and increased intestinal gases from the breakdown of excessive lactose”
7). Transcient Lactase Deficiency (TLC): This is a condition that temporarily limits the production of a sufficient quantity of enzyme lactase which is essential in the digestion of lactose which is responsible for some cases of gassiness in babies.
Generally, babies are not lactose intolerant until around the age of 2 that is when the elements of lactose intolerance start to show.
8). Introduction of new foods: New foods can make a baby gassy as the system is trying to get along with the new food in trying to digest and process the new food.
Foods rich in sugar or having excess sugar like chocolates and juice can make a baby have looser stool and even gas.
9). Crying: If a baby cries for a very long time maybe because of hunger or other circumstances that would make them cry like say wet diaper that makes them uncomfortable and especially if this happens before a meal, it can cause the baby to swallow air.
Crying is both a symptom and a cause and a cause of gas and can create a self-reinforcing cycle that could even worsen the whole situation.
10). Microbial imbalance: Trillions of beneficial bacteria help or aid digestion of food in collaboration with the digestive systems and an imbalance in this beneficial bacterium may lead to partial digestion which may lead to the development of stomach allergies and even gas.
Remedies to smelly baby gas
1). Position your baby properly during feeding time: Angular positioning recommended.
While breastfeeding, keep your baby’s head and neck elevated do not feed while they are lying on their back or their side as they may develop the risk of choking.
If it is bottle feeding then do it vertically and tip the bottle slightly so that air can rise to the top.
Bottles with curves or angles are highly recommended in the case of feeding with the bottle.
Ensure your baby’s mouth is latching properly on the breast nipple or the feeding bottle and that each feeding is not too fast or too slow. It is recommended that you consult a lactating specialist for proper guidance.
2). Doing baby bicycles: Lay your baby on his back and gently cycle his legs in a bicycling motion towards his tummy to manually help remove trapped air.
Alternatively, you can gently push baby’s legs and knees up to his tummy and hold for about 10 secs then release and stretch baby’s legs. Repeat.
3). Use of gas drops: These drops are typically made from simethicone which is also found in common adult anti-gas products, the simethicone agent is an anti-foaming agent that makes it easier to form gas bubbles they can pass.
Before considering using gas drops it is recommended that you consult your pediatrician as some infants may develop allergies towards the gas drop.
The gas drops are although safe for a newborn.
Simethicone preparations usually contain synthetic ingredients such as artificial colors and flavor as well as emulsifiers and fillers though it has been proven to be effective.
4). Use of gripe water: This product is made from sodium bicarbonate mixed with soothing herbs like ginger, chamomile and a couple of others although this might not be an effective remedy to gas as most parents use it for a range of infant related diseases.
Furthermore, there are some types of gripe water containing alcohol which is a potential health risk to your baby.
It’s again recommended to seek professional advice from your pediatrician before going to the gripe waterway.
5). Probiotics: These are beneficial bacteria that may help improve your baby’s digestion.
This is achieved by improving the gut flora or improving the population of healthy bacteria that aid in digestion and chemical breakdown of food.
A specific strain of probiotic, lactobacillus reuteri has shown some success in treating colic in exclusively breastfed infants.
Still, the emphasis is given to professional advice whenever you may want to use the infant probiotics.
6). Burp during and after feeding: You can burp your baby by holding them over your shoulder and this should be done in the middle and after the feeding session.
This will help eliminate gas bubbles from the baby’s stomach.
You just need to be patient as you hold him over your shoulder waiting for him to burp and if he does not burp then it is perfectly okay to continue feeding him.
When bottle-feeding, stick to the proper feeding bottle and formula.
The best feeding bottle should have a soft nipple that is compatible with the baby’s mouth and lips to prevent air from flowing along with the milk.
The bottle should restrict a faster flow of the milk thus it should flow gradually so the baby has got time to simultaneously drink and swallow without gagging and gulping excessively.
Alternatively, it is recommended to switch the baby formula to reduce gas symptoms.
7). Tummy calm: This is a homeopathic gas relief preparation usually administered over the counter.
It uses natural active ingredients to provide safe and effective relief to gassy babies usually in five minutes or even less.
Unlike simethicone, tummy calm does not contain artificial colors or even flavors.
8). Football hold: This is a physical therapy that can also remedy gassing in infants.
This can be done by holding your baby face down with the tummy resting on your forearm, legs straddling your wrist and chin resting near your elbow.
The gravity will help apply pressure on the baby’s tummy which will help soothe and release the gas.
Administer a gentle back rub to add more pressure to release the gas. Similarly, you can put the baby face down on your leg while you are seated.
9). Let your baby have tummy time while they are awake: Do observe while your baby is lying on their tummy. Gravity will help push trapped gas by its gentle pressure.
Additionally, this will also help your baby develop core, arm and neck strength.
10). Tummy massage: While your baby is lying on his back, gently rub his tummy in a clockwise motion and then pull your hands down the curve of baby’s belly.
Use two or three fingers and apply mild pressure around the abdomen and spell out letters “I”, “L”, “U” repeats severally to help eliminate trapped gas.
If your child continues to pass out a smelly gas, it’s advisable to seek medical help from a medical practitioner who can diagnose the cause of the bad smell.