Hearing your baby’s tummy gurgling can be worrisome for new parents, especially when the gurgling and rumbling sounds are loud. It makes you wonder if something is wrong with your baby, but rest assured, if you hear your infant’s stomach making gurgling noises, things are probably okay.
The noises you hear are more likely not from his stomach but the lower digestive system, including the small and large intestines. As your baby’s digestive system functions and matures, the process of feeding, digesting, and pooping make plenty of noises.
Everyone has these digestive sounds in their body; you might not pay attention to yours often. These noises are normal on their own, but they might warrant a trip to the pediatrician if accompanied by pain.
Let’s look at why your baby’s stomach might be grumbling and rumbling to put your brain at ease.
Why Does My Baby’s Stomach Make Noise?
Digestion isn’t quiet; gurgling, growling, tumbling, and rumbling are all normal digestive sounds that happen when you put food or liquid into an empty stomach. When nothing is in the stomach to quiet the sounds, they can be evident and loud; it’s not always an indicator of a severe problem.
Here are some normal GI sounds and noises that might come from your baby.
- Grunting while passing a bowel movement
- Gurgling or growling as food passes through the intestines
- Passing gas
Everyone has these sounds. Estimations are that humans pass gas around 20 times per day. As an adult, you might not grunt as much while passing a bowel movement, but your stomach growls when it’s hungry and gurgles when you eat too fast.
Noises are part of digestion; it’s not a severe problem most of the time.
Is It Normal for Baby’s Stomach to Gurgle While Feeding?
Absolutely! In the middle of the night, it might be strange to hear gurgles and growls coming from your baby’s belly, but gurgling is the formula or breast milk moving throughout his intestines as he eats. Gurgling is a typical sound that comes from your baby’s digestive system.
Gurgling, tinkling, or rumbling sounds can happen every 30 seconds to one minute during normal digestion.
5 Reasons Why Your Baby’s Tummy Rumbles
Aside from being a regular part of digestion, your newborn baby’s stomach gurgling might be due to several other reasons. Let’s take a look at what can increase digestive noises.
Your Baby is Hungry
The most apparent reason for rumbles and growls is that your baby is hungry. Your stomach makes noises when you’re hungry, and babies are no different.
Stomach growling starts when your stomach is empty and starts to contract, moving air around. Moving air in an empty space leads to some strange noises.
So, if you hear rumbling or growling and it’s been two or more hours since your baby’s last feeding, it’s time to feed your baby again.
Gurgling Caused By Gas
If you hear a baby’s tummy rumbling while feeding, it is gas or air movement through their digestive tract. These noises are normal and typically don’t cause discomfort for your baby unless the gas becomes trapped.
Gas pain can interfere with your baby’s sleep, leading to crying and fussiness. If you hear gurgling and growling, that’s gas!
Babies experience an increase in gas for several reasons, most of which center on taking more air into their tummies than necessary.
- The bottle used doesn’t have enough air vents, causing your baby to take in excess air while feeding.
- Long crying sessions lead to babies taking in extra air.
- Sensitivity to formula or foods that mom ate could cause gassiness.
Sometimes, if your baby is in the wrong position, it can cause you to hear gurgling and rumbling because that position makes it harder for gas to escape. Putting your baby up on your shoulder in a burping position is the first thing you should try while patting his back or butt.
Another option is to put your baby on his back and gently move his legs up and down, bending his knees like a bicycle motion.
Changing positions while feeding, whether using a bottle or breastfeeding, can be a good idea if the problem is chronic. This might mean that the feeding position allows your baby to suck into much air while feeding, leading to gassiness.
Have you ever eaten something, and it caused weird stomach sounds? Whatever you ate upset your stomach, which also happens to babies. When a baby’s tummy rumbles and has diarrhea, chances are something that your baby ate bothered his stomach.
What does a baby eat? Milk – either formula or breast milk.
One case of tummy rumbling and diarrhea for formula-fed babies is rarely concerned; we all have upset stomachs randomly, and excess gas can cause an upset stomach. If it becomes a chronic problem, the formula selected for your baby might not work for him, and changing formulas should be discussed with your pediatrician.
For breastfed babies, something that the mother ate could upset your baby’s stomach. In the early weeks, keeping track of what you eat and when your baby’s stomach rumbles and has diarrhea is a smart idea. These food diaries help you pinpoint triggers.
Some common triggers that you might need to remove from your diet include:
- Spicy foods
- Acidic foods
Each baby is different; what triggers one won’t trigger the other. In most cases, if your baby’s stomach is gurgling and he’s crying, then he has a bellyache, and something he ate was the trigger.
You Hear Liquid Sloshing
Perhaps one of the weirdest sounds you could hear is the sound of liquid sloshing. It’s almost like your baby’s stomach sounds like water.
What in the world causes that?
Think of a water bottle that isn’t full to the top with some air inside. If you move the bottle, you hear the water sloshing and moving around instead of the bottle. That goes for your baby’s tummy as well.
Sounds Are Better Than No Sounds
It might be upsetting when you hear your newborn’s stomach growling, but hearing digestive sounds is better than suddenly not hearing them.
A sudden reduction or absence of noise is a cause for concern. It could indicate intestinal blockage if you usually hear a deep, rumbling sound and suddenly hear a high-pitched, squealing, or whining sound. Call your pediatrician immediately.
What Helps Settle Baby’s Stomach?
No parent wants to see their baby in discomfort, so all parents need to learn how to settle their baby’s upset stomach. Here are some simple tricks to try.
- Try Baby Massage
Learn how to use a baby massage properly. Massages help to relax your baby and allow gas to move throughout his digestive tract properly. Plus, your baby might drift off to sleep after a good massage.
- Bicycle Legs
Trapped gas is the worse! If your baby is bringing his legs up, he might have gas that he’s unable to pass. Help him out by gently moving his legs back and forth as if he was pedaling a bicycle. Babies love this, especially when paired with a silly song. They think it’s a game, but it helps to get the gas moving and out of his belly.
- Take a Warm Bath
Warm baths help with gassiness and constipation, especially if you take a dip with your baby. The warm water soothes your baby’s upset stomach while relaxing his body, making it easier to pass gas and, hopefully, a bowel movement.
- Use a Warm Compress
Sometimes, it’s the wrong time to take a bath, so an easy alternative is a warm compress. The trick here is to ensure you don’t accidentally burn your baby. DIY rice socks (rice poured into a sock and knotted shut) or wet rags can be heated in the microwave and laid on your baby’s belly for 5-10 minutes. It feels relaxing and helps get things moving in his digestive system.
- Burp More
If your baby frequently has gas or belly aches, you might need to burp more often. Some feeding positions or bottles cause more gas to accumulate in your baby’s digestive tract, so they might need to burp more.
- Keep Baby Upright After Feedings
After feeding, keep your baby upright for 15-20 minutes rather than lying down. It helps the milk digest and reduces periods of acid reflux.
- Try Gas Drops
Sometimes, in a bind, gas drops are a lifesaver. Make sure to use the appropriate dosage listed on the box. Gas drops work fast, offering much-needed relief to your baby.
- Try Gripe Water
Another option is to give your baby gripe water. It’s supposed to help with colic and digestive problems. Gripe water is safe for babies over the age of two weeks old.
How Do I Know If My Baby Has Digestive Problems?
Still, feeling worried that your baby’s stomach gurgling and rumbling is a sign that something is wrong? Eating and digesting food properly is essential for growth and development, so you should know the real signs of something wrong.
All babies spit up a few times, but vomiting is different. One vomiting incident rarely warrants a call to the doctor, but something could be wrong if it happens frequently. Look for forceful or projectile vomiting that contains large amounts of milk.
Call the doctor immediately if you notice discolored or green-tinged vomit, which might indicate an intestinal obstruction. Also, call if your baby starts vomiting frequently.
Relevant: How to differentiate between baby vomiting and spitting up!
Occasional spit-up is never a big deal, and it happens to all babies at some point, but if your baby continually spits up all or most of his feedings or gags and chokes during feedings, he might have reflux. Acid reflux causes the stomach contents to rise back into the esophagus, which easily becomes irritated.
When the stomach contents come back into the esophagus, it causes vomiting or aspiration. Not to mention, it’s quite uncomfortable for your baby. Speak to your doctor about proven ways to reduce acid reflux in babies.
Now that you’re a parent, you’ll realize many things revolve around poop. Diarrhea will happen from time to time, but when babies have diarrhea frequently, it’s problematic.
All babies have loose stools, so it’s essential to identify diarrhea in a baby. Diarrhea for babies is watery and very loose bowel movements. Babies may or may not have cramping with diarrhea, leading to dehydration quickly.
During the first three to four months, colic is problematic, leading to stress for both parents and baby. Colic is prolonged or excessive crying in a healthy infant that lasts several hours per day.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive method for treating colic, and it eventually goes away on its own. You can try several home remedies to bring relief during this time, but your doctor won’t have any cure. It’s best to have your child checked out before diagnosing them with colic to be sure nothing is wrong.
When you hear your baby’s stomach gurgling and rumbling, it’s normal to be concerned, but don’t panic. In most cases, those are normal sounds caused by the digestive tract doing its job. If the noises happen frequently, your baby might have gas or be sensitive to something in her diet. Speak to your pediatrician about making the right changes.
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.