For the first eight months of my son’s life, I tracked every little thing his little body did. And I mean every damn thing.
It started when a lactation consultant suggested I log his feedings and nappies due to early breast milk supply issues after an emergency C-section. It morphed into me obsessively opening the Notes app on my phone to jot down the details of every nursing and pumping session, as well as every nap, pee, poop, smile, gurgle, bath, grandparent visit and grocery store outing.
Looking back, it was likely my way of dealing with postpartum anxiety, but it made me acutely aware of my son’s digestion — and lack thereof. So, of course, I still know that the first time I helped my son poop was the afternoon of Monday, 8 February 2016, when he was just seven weeks old.
Sure, everyone poops. And farts, too. Eventually. But when you’re a brand-new human whose bowels and muscles don’t quite know how to make that (literal) crap function, sometimes you just need a little help working it all out.
Enter the greatest parenting gadget of the 21st century: The Windi. Brought to you by the Florida-based Fridababy — the same company that gave the world that seemingly disgusting but super-effective Swedish snot sucker the NoseFrida — the Windi has become my go-to baby-shower gift.
It’s also my two-word answer to every single question relating to gas or constipation on Facebook mum forums. Newborn seems gassy? “The Windi!” Baby’s having trouble pooping since starting solids? “The Windi!”
New parenthood often comes with a certain amount of pain. Some of it is unavoidable - recovering from delivery and breastfeeding injuries takes time. But even if you didn't deliver a baby and you aren't breastfeeding, there is still much pain to be had! My own husband suffered from major wrist and back pain after our first son arrived - niceties such as "alignment" and "bending from the knees" tend to get forgotten in that new-parent fog of war. But over time, awkwardly holding a baby can lead to major issues in the neck, back and wrists.
An 8cm tube made of fairly soft BPA-free plastic, the Windi is basically a fart catheter, or as my husband likes to call it, a butt trumpet. And when used properly, it’s almost guaranteed to leave you with a much happier baby — as long as you’re comfortable putting something up your baby’s butt.
And if that idea has you nervous, the brand offers an animated video tutorial on its website that makes handling this plastic butt straw and getting blown in the face with baby farts look downright adorable.
Once you get over feeling like a monster for putting a piece of plastic where the sun don’t shine on your tiny little baby, the Windi really is quite easy to use. Narrow and rounded on the end that’s meant to be inserted, it features a large ergonomic guard and finger grip to ensure it never goes in too far.
And the instructions are straightforward: First, you do a little prep by rubbing your baby’s belly in downward strokes to get things moving on the inside, then you lubricate the tip (I always used coconut oil), lift baby’s legs, then just gently insert the Windi — remember, thanks to the guard, there’s no risk of putting it in too far — and it does the rest.
At this point, the scary part is over and you just get to hold it there while cooing and making faces to distract your gassy little bundle of joy until that glorious relief finally comes.
Now, here’s my only beef with the Windi: The instructions say it takes just “a few seconds” to work, but in my experience, it took anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes to get results.
What those results are, of course, will depend entirely on your baby’s unique situation and could range from a dainty little poof or whistle to a full-blown, all-hands-on-deck blowout. And since you never quite know what you’re getting into, you should always have a nappy under the baby and wipes open and ready.
The brand bills this magical little tool as “the gasspasser”, and while its main purpose is to relieve gas in infants, if there’s anything else that needs to come out, the Windi is going to get that job done, too. That’s because, by design, it’s likely to stimulate a bowel movement — the same way a rectal thermometer can.
A cheaper, DIY method involves a cotton swab, petroleum jelly, bravery, precision and confidence. And while I know you’re never supposed to stick a cotton swab in a baby’s anything, if you dip the tip in Vaseline or Aquaphor, then pinch it about 1cm under the cotton part, and insert it ever so slight into baby’s butt — keeping your fingers firmly in place so it has no chance of going in too far — you’ll eventually get similar results.
Still, the built-in safety precautions make the Windi a much more appealing option, even if it isn’t exactly cheap, at around $40 for a 10-pack.
But I have a little workaround for that, too. The packaging very clearly states that the Windi is a disposable device, and should be tossed immediately after the first use — which makes perfect sense considering where it goes. Sometimes, though, after less messy sessions, I’d wash it in soap and very hot water, then give it a long dip in hydrogen peroxide.
Like everything else relating to my baby’s digestion, I was probably a little too into the Windi. My husband expressed concern on more than one occasion that if I helped our baby poop too often, he’d never learn to do it himself.
But I’m pleased to report that once his body got used to digesting solids, he never had any issues. And well before turning two, he was relieving himself regularly on the potty — without any help from me or our friend Windi. And I was no longer logging and tracking a thing.