MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Why do newborn babies smile when they get wind?

Date: Wed Oct 28 09:26:56 1998
Posted By: Jeffrey Utz, M.D., Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 908615130.Me

The main reason why a newborn baby would smile while passing gas is 
relief. Before a babt passes gas, his lower colon and rectum are 
distended. After he passes gas, he feels relief because these organs are 
no longer distended. He expresses this by smiling.

A second reason why a baby might smile is that the anal area is a very 
sensitive area. When gas (or other stuff) flows through the anus, the 
stimulation might feel good. In addition, the gas would be warmer than the 
surrounding air, and he might feel this warmth as comfortable. How this 
sensation might contribute to a baby's smile would depend on several 
factors, like how distended he was before he passed gas, the amount of 
sensory endings in the baby's anal and how sensitive he is to bodily 

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