What is flatulence?

Flatulence in babies and children is gas from your child’s digestive system leaving his body through his bottom. It’s also called passing wind, farting – and many other things as well!

Flatulence can happen when you eat foods that are high in fibre like beans or carbonated (fizzy) drinks. Wind can also be caused by swallowing air – for example, your child might get gassy when sucking on an empty bottle, or when she cries.

Wind can sometimes be a sign of lactose intolerance and other food intolerances, some gastro infections, coeliac disease or irritable bowel syndrome.

Your child might also have more gas in his body if he has constipation or diarrhoea.

Symptoms related to flatulence

If your child has flatulence or wind, she might sometimes have stomach pain and bloating too. This can happen when the gas builds up in your child’s intestines and your child can’t get rid of it – for example, if your child has diarrhoea or constipation.

Does your child need to see a doctor about flatulence?

Take your child to see your GP if your child has a lot of flatulence or wind and also:

  • stomach pain
  • blood in his poo
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • weight loss or loss of appetite.

Treatment for flatulence

Your child doesn’t usually need treatment for flatulence or wind.

But if you notice there are certain foods that seem to give your child a lot of flatulence, you could try to cut back on them in her diet. These foods might include beans, onions, cabbage, peas, broccoli, legumes, fizzy drinks, artificial sweeteners and chewing gum. It’s a very good idea to talk to your GP or a dietitian if you’re thinking about big changes to your child’s diet.

You might also want to check that your child isn’t eating or drinking too quickly and swallowing too much air.

If your child has a lot of flatulence as well as other symptoms, your GP might order a blood or poo test.

If your child has a lot of flatulence, encourage him to sit on the potty or go to the toilet to do a poo, without delaying or holding on. This helps to set up good toilet habits and avoid constipation.