A gassy baby can make everyone a little crazy. Babies don't know how to express what's bothering them and even if the parents suspect the reason is gas, it's not always so easy to get them to pass it. It's crazy when your world becomes reduced to hoping for farts. Search the internet and you'll find all sorts of proposed solutions. A recent one that's getting a lot of attention is the Windi, a plastic gadget to help babies fart. If you're totally puzzled by this contraption, you must be wondering what's a gas passer and does it actually work?
Is the Windi, made by Fridababy, a brilliant product or another piece of plastic? It depends on who you ask. Some parents have said it didn't help their child, expressing frustration at spending $20 for a useless gadget, but there are many parents across the internet raving about how it's life-changing, on the level of its cousin-gadget, the the NoseFrida nasal aspirator. Relieved parents talk about how it gave their baby so much relief it finally allowed them to sleep. Emily Farris, a mother who blogs for Offspring, refers to the "butt straw" as the greatest baby gadget of all time. Emily talks about her totally relatable obsession with her baby's bodily functions and the joy she felt when she was able to make the farting and pooping easier for her son.
Babies are fussy for all sorts of reasons, so it's doesn't make sense to stick the Windi into their butts at any sign of discomfort. And all babies are gassy, it's part of their normal digestion process. Pediatrician Ari Brown commented to Parents that a baby "may seem uncomfortable or just downright fussy when she's got some gas that needs to come out. But it's rare that a baby will actually have discomfort due to gas." That said, if they are crying a lot, pulling up their legs or have a very firm belly when you push on it, then it could be an extreme case of gas and it can't hurt to attempt more than just patting them on the back and walking with them to give them a little relief. Dr. Brown suggests massaging their belly, moving their legs in a cycling motion or trying a warm bath to try to help.
To use the Windi, Fridababy suggests you first rub from belly to bum a few times on each side of their body. Next, lay your baby on their back and move their legs like a bicycle. This is to help get things going. Make sure you lubricate the tip of the Windi with some petroleum jelly, baby oil or coconut oil. Take off their diaper, lift up their legs and insert the thin part of the Windi into your baby's tush as you would a rectal thermometer. Wait anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or two and the whistling sound of gas expulsion should begin. It may even be accompanied by a colon-cleaning poop. The Windi is then thrown in the garbage, as for obvious reasons it is not a multiple use item. If you aren't successful with the initial insertion, Fridababy suggests trying the whole procedure, including the tummy rubbing and the bicycle kicks, again. In this case, it's okay to use the same Windi you used.
Some people are not as enamored with the whole idea. Dr. Clay Jones, a pediatrician in Massachusetts, writes on the Science Based Medicine blog that while use of the Windi isn't dangerous, he didn't really find it useful. He expressed concern that it was interrupting a baby's normal digestive development if a parent continued to stimulate them rectally to enable them to pass gas and poop. Farris's husband was worried that the baby would become Windi-dependent and not be able to fart or poop on his own, but that never happened and the baby is currently an independent pooper.
Remember that not every crying baby has gas so this might not be your first go-to if your are having trouble consoling them.
The Windi is about $15 on Amazon for a 10 piece set so it might not be a bad thing to have around the house. Just in case things get a little gassy.
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