Wind & Constipation; symptoms and remedies that worked for us
New babies often have trouble passing wind and going through constipation issues, as their little bodies aren’t developed yet to push it through properly.
Their muscles just aren’t coordinated and don’t work together, so air bubbles get trapped and wreak havoc on their little bodies making them super upset.
This is most common up to 13 weeks of age, when their bodies start to mature enough to properly process the wind.
Until then, it can be really rough on you and baby, as it causes so much broken sleep and grumpiness.
These are just some helpful tips that will help with dealing with wind or constipation, if like me your first instinct was to research how to help your little one.
I’ve broken down the symptoms of how I knew we had a problem, and also our experience on how we went through dealing with it.
Remember, your baby is brand new and doesn’t know anything yet, so it’s up to you to be as informed as you can on their behalf!
HOW CAN I TELL?
The first horrible thing we went through was wind.
For us, the onset was from around 3 weeks and had a few obvious symptoms.
If she was asleep, her eyes would roll around (sometimes open). This was so freaky as a first time mum.
This would then be usually followed by a toss and turn sleep, and jolting herself awake with a cry.
Also when she was asleep, her arms and legs would randomly kick or flinch around as she moved uncomfortably.
Sometimes, she would whimper in her sleep and then settle herself without waking.
When she was awake, her eyes would roll around a lot.
She would also do the classic wind smile – a huge grin that is entirely a reaction of their immature muscles to the wind.
Anytime she would eat, lay down or sit up there was a bit of vomit.
Generally, we had a very uncomfortable little bubba.
Wind would also make her extra irritable and harder to put down for a nap!
However we battled through, and ended up beating the wind and managing to control it through a couple simple, super helpful tips I’ll give you below.
This is our story with wind.
T- 3 WEEKS INTO LIFE WITH A BABY
As a new mum, I sat on the edge of my bed next to hers, wondering how on earth to make it better. My new first baby was in pain and I was lost as how I could fix it.
Luckily thanks to some great advice from mum and a call to our local Nurse, we were recommended 3 things: extra long burping after her feeds, Infant’s Friend and elevation to the crib.
I tried elevating the end of her little mattress in her bassinet.
I was a first time mum – and this was one of my first experience of seeing my baby in pain where I couldn’t do much to help her. I folded 2 blankets and put them under her mattress to create a little wedge and incline in the bassinet.
Elevating the crib did seem to help significantly with her reflux, she started to spit up less and less.
But the wind was still apparent: rolling white eyes, huge windy grins, limbs that would twitch, farting that made her cry, and little squeals every so often. It broke my heart.
Keeping her as upright as possible was also crucial to making sure she didn’t just throw everything straight back up. It improved her wind as well, as the gassy bubbles had more time to rise and exit her body.
It wasn’t enough though, and she still fought uncomfortably with wind and gas at least once every waking period.
I took mum’s advice and also grabbed some Infant’s Friend from the pharmacy.
It costs about $10-$15 dollars depending on where you purchase the item, but you will have 100mL worth of doses, and little babies don’t need much at all.
It is best to pick up a dosing device if you don’t already have one, as I haven’t traditionally seen this product come with one.
With one dose, my little girl was happily tooting away on the way back from the pharmacy.
She was still a bit sooky when we got home, but after passing the wind, she settled and had the first restful sleep I’d seen her have aside from her night sleeps.
We were lucky enough for our baby’s sleep schedule to not interfere with our own too much in the long run – if you’d like to read about how I think we did that, let me know 🙂
From there, we followed the instructions on the bottle and would dose her formula bottles with a little of the Infant’s Friend. It worked for her wind fabulously.
Due to the muscles being uncoordinated when they’re very young, wind doesn’t just move through and out of a babies body, often becoming trapped and this is where our problem would occur.
Infant’s Friend is a natural remedy that helps make all the little trapped bits of wind into one big burp or fart.
Eventually as her little newborn body matured and learnt how to correctly process the wind, burping became much easier, we only added Infant’s Friend as it was needed, and eventually just stopped entirely.
HOW COULD I TELL?
Very simply, my baby wasn’t popping.
It wasn’t like she wasn’t trying, she would scream and cry when she need to poo, but it just wouldn’t come out – and when it did, it was solid, dark, and small.
We had recently gone up to about 50% formula feeding, and down to about 50% breastfeeding when the little issue became more of a problem.
Normal babies are meant to sometimes have blow-outs of poop that spill outside their nappy, my baby wasn’t having any. She would cry and struggle.
My babies poop was sometimes only once a day, and when she finally got it out, she was so relieved.
Her poop had usually been mustardy and runny when I was breastfeeding. Always on the looser side and easy to push out.
After going to a 50/50 feeding ratio, her poo was so hard for her to push out, and it would be a small, solid lump and a green colour.
Formula may not be what is causing your baby to be constipated and if baby is struggling, you’re breastfeeding or have tried switching formulas and your baby is still constipated, please call your nurse for advice.
Long term damage can result from children with untreated constipation issues, so please make sure your baby’s poo is healthy and you’re checking it everytime!
T- 2 MONTHS INTO LIFE WITH BABY
When I had my firstborn daughter, I was breastfeeding for a few months before I started supplementing some of her feeds with formula bottles.
I hadn’t had enough patience with pumping and building up my milk supply, and after you miss out on one feed your breast will naturally start to slow down production.
I wanted a drink one night and didn’t have stored breastmilk, so I tried her first formula bottle.
My boobs started slowing down production for milk, and feeds from then on got progressively harder to completely fill her up with.
This led to my anxieties that perhaps I wasn’t doing a good enough job filling her nutritional needs myself and continuing to increase the amount of formula she would get topped up with.
Unfortunately one thing that I’ve not heard a lot of people talk about is how the change to a formula bottle can affect a babies digestive system.
For us, we battled with constipation, but not only that, it would be reflux, wind or she simply wouldn’t like the taste or consistency and wouldn’t drink it.
I noticed the constipation issue came from the first formula we tried – Aptamil Gold formula – something that really shocked me in the end, as the brand was the root cause of our problem and was one of the most expensive options we could find readily.
Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be the perfect fit for your baby.
Babies with wind and constipation issues are so much more irritable than when without. Seeing my little girl deal with these issues was hard on my patience, and it was hard seeing her in pain that I couldn’t seem to fix.
My nurse told me it could be from our choice of formulas, so we decided to try more. Eventually we had tried Aptamil Gold, Aptamil Gold Futura, S26 Gold and Heinz Nurture.
All of these seemed to give her some issue, usually the constipation would remain pretty constant however.
We were thinking it was to do with the iron content in the formula, but on researching it turned out that iron doesn’t make any more or less of an impact on the rate of constipation in babies.
I believe that for us, it was because natural breastmilk is the best, most easily digestible form of milk for a baby, and formula (something introduced as foreign) is harder to digest.
Also, we tried all these formulas very quickly after another, and the change in diet can trigger constipation issues as there’s just too much change going on for their little bodies to proerly learn to regulate and digest.
Sometimes it can be a lactose problem and switching to a soy based formula with help, or in extreme cases I read about babies having to be put on even more hypoallergenic formulas to combat food allergies.
We were about to try switching to a soy formula when we picked up NAN Comfort, after I searched and searched through forums online of mums comparing different brands.
I learnt that the formula was meant to mix thin, be gentle on the stomach and hopefully lighter to digest.
Another bonus, is that it is one of the cheapest formulas on the shelf.
But the best best thing is, since we tried the first bottle of that, she hasn’t had any issue with pooping (until we started solids, but that’s a gross story for another day!)
Such relief for us. Please talk to your nurse if your baby can’t poop, it is horrible for them and could be dangerous in the long run.
I hope you got some good little tips and nuggets of info out of this article!
Feel free to share it so that someone who needs it, gets it!