A helpful guide to foods that cause gas in babies is to think about the foods that cause gas in you. Although a much smaller being, your baby processes foods the same way you do. So if you know a particular food tends to give you trouble later, keep an eye out for the same reaction in your little one.
Who Are the Common Culprits?
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Although babies can respond to food differently, there are several food groups that top the tends-to-cause-gas lists. This is because they break down slowly. The offenders can be green veggies, beans, or one of a long list of fruits.
Here are some specific foods to watch:
- Brussels sprouts
- Citrus fruits
When Will the Gas Show Up?
These foods tend to cause excess gas, but it's not always their fault. Don't forget: Babies eat around the clock and their bowels are constantly at work -- and where there's poop, there's naturally gas. "But, if your baby's last meal is truly to blame, then you can expect that gas to surface within a couple of hours of ingesting the gas-inducing food," says Jennifer Shu, M.D., an Atlanta, GA-based pediatrician and coauthor of Food Fights: Winning The Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor, and A Bottle of Ketchup. "And it may take up to two or three days for the food to be completely out of your baby's system."
Why Keep "Gassy" Foods in the Mix?
It's understandable that you might want to strike some foods from your baby's diet in hopes of eliminating gas. But cutting out these foods won't necessarily do the trick, and this restriction will also limit your baby's nutrition.
"Nutrient and fiber-rich foods are the best foods to choose to keep your baby's poop soft and regular," says Ari Brown, M.D., an Austin, TX-based pediatrician and the author of Baby 411. Otherwise, you run the risk of constipation, which is a much bigger problem to deal with than gas. Also, "by limiting the menu, you're taking some of the fun out of mealtime," Dr. Shu says. "We've seen parents cut foods entirely to combat a perceived gas problem." At 4 months and up, food exploration is a big deal and it's exciting to watch babies discover new mealtime options. The introduction of solid foods alone will put your baby's digestive system to work, and more gas is often just par for the course.
If your baby is gassy, it's no reason to be worried -- gas itself is not a problem. But if the gas is causing discomfort, Dr. Shu says, you need to talk to your baby's doctor.
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