As a first time mother I really didn’t know that “wind” – any form of wind – could cause so much anguish for my baby, my husband and I. Whether breastfed or bottle-fed your baby can have wind issues! Most of us meet this issue soon enough.
What is Wind?
When a baby has wind it generally means that they have excess air in their tummy. This air can prove to be painful and tricky for some babies to pass either through burping or blowing off.
When your baby has wind they may also feel full before they are actually fully fed. This just means that the next feed may have to be sooner than you had anticipated.
How does a baby get wind?
- Facing directly into an outside breeze / fan
Wind will be forced down your newborn’s mouth. Try to be aware of this for the first 2-3 months.
- Gulping air when breastfeeding especially when feeding through a milk let-down.
The milk can flow so quickly that a baby swallows air and milk.
Generally breastfed babies can control the flow of the milk better than bottle-fed babies, and because of this breastfed babies tend to swallow less air with their feed.
- Gulping a bottle too quickly
Choosing a teat on your bottle can be quite tricky as you need to determine what your baby can suck the most effectively. This is unfortunately trial and error.
Once you have found the ‘perfect’ teat then keeping milk over the teat hole and feeding your baby in an ‘elevated’ position will help reduce wind issues.
- When crying
Some babies just tend to be gulpy babies.
Babies can swallow air when sucking a dummy as they don’t correctly latch on to the dummy.
With my first baby, I remember thinking that my throat was cut.
Born in the Australian summer with no air-conditioner in the bedrooms my mother drew fear in me so deeply that I was not willing to turn on the ceiling fan for fear of my newborn getting wind. For the first 3 months, my babies slept in the bassinet in our bedroom.
Those nights were sooooo HOT! … and QUIET!
I also realised that I loved hearing the fan while I slept.
So … not only could I not hear the gently hum of the fan but now I became a person with heightened ‘motherly’ senses that would jump at a finger being moved in the bassinet.
Now with three kids, I definitely have a more balance approached to newborns and wind, though some would consider it still “over the top”.
Signs that your baby has wind
- Squirms and brings up legs
- Stops feeding
- Starts crying or whinging
Will not settle, particularly when laid down
- Slightly blue around the mouth, particularly in newborns
Newborns (1st month) will often grin when they have wind – once your baby learns to smile then this is harder to distinguish
- Makes an ‘eh eh eh’ noise
To make this noise yourself, gently force air out in a short exhale while saying ‘eh’
How to avoid wind issues?
- Never directly face a baby 5mths and under into a direct breeze
Until your baby can sit up for themselves then they are not able to stop themselves from swallowing excess air.
- Feed your baby in an upright position
- Burp frequently throughout a feed
This is particularly important if you have a fast flowing milk supply or your baby is a fast feeder.
- Always have milk covering the teat hole if you are bottle feeding
- Encourage your baby to burp throughout the day by holding them in any burping position that you find comfortable
- Have nappy free time in the afternoon
This will help you baby wiggle any air out
Unfortunately, some babies are ‘windy’ babies so no matter how hard you try to prevent your baby from swallowing air it will just happen and you will undoubtedly know when your baby has wind issues.
If you have a ‘windy’ baby then, there is a light at the end of the tunnel … your baby will grow out of their wind issues as they become more mobile and learn sit up on their own.