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On Call: Gassy Baby

Q. My 6-week-old burps and farts all the time  -- not only after she's just been fed. The gas even wakes her up from naps. Is this normal?

A. It certainly can be. My 9-month-old used to let out burps that were so loud they made us jump! Usually, the gassiness subsides by the time a baby's a few months old.

Sometimes, though, breastfed babies are gassy because they're sensitive or allergic to foods in their mom's diet. If your baby's fussing a lot or not feeding well, you might want to eliminate foods one at a time for a few days to see if it helps. Start with dairy, the most likely culprit, then try citrus fruits and juices, nuts, cabbage, onions, and broccoli.

Some babies have problems with the cow's milk in formula or the soy in soy formula. If yours is formula-fed, talk to the pediatrician about the best one for her.

You should also call the doctor if gassiness continues past her first birthday or is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloody stools, or rash, since these can be symptoms of more serious intestinal problems.

Most likely, though, you'll just have to wait for the gas to pass. Until then, burping your baby during and after feedings can reduce that air bubble in her tummy, and holding her so her belly is against you can soothe her if she seems uncomfortable.