How to Burp Your Baby: Positions, Tips and More

How to Burp Your Baby: Positions, Tips and More

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Knowing how to feed your baby is as important as knowing what to feed him. The hold, the latching, followed by burping, are all essentials of a good feed. Also, knowing the importance of these factors makes the task easier. Babies burp because they swallow air bubbles while feeding. Since they are at a delicate stage, it is important to teach them how to burp properly.

Video: How to Burp a Baby – Positions, Tips and More

What Is Burping?

Babies tend to swallow air bubbles during a breast milk or formula feed. These air bubbles get trapped in the baby’s digestive tract, making them uncomfortable and gassy. Burping is the process of releasing the gas from the digestive tract through the mouth. However, there are other reasons that may contribute to these air bubbles reaching a baby’s digestive system, some of which are discussed below:

  • While milk feeding: A bottle/breast milk feed requires a baby to suck continuously during which the air bubbles may enter his system.
  • Food: This situation holds good for a baby who has already started on solid feed. Certain foods create gas while breaking down in the intestine.
  • Allergies: Allergy or intolerance towards certain food types can also lead to the formation of gas in a baby’s stomach.

Why Does Your Baby Burp?

When the air bubbles get stuck in a baby’s stomach, it causes discomfort and uneasiness. The baby feels full and bloated, and therefore, squirms or cries signalling they need your help to provide some relief. It is recommended that babies should be burped even if he does not get fussy. Burping is considered quite beneficial, especially for those babies who experience frequent gastrointestinal problems. When a baby burps, he gets rid of the trapped gasses or air through his mouth. It is also commonly believed that breastfed babies may not require as much burping as formula-fed babies because they tend to swallow lesser air during the feed. However, it completely depends on the baby, and you should mostly be looking for cues to burp your baby.

Why Is Burping Important for a Baby?

Why Is Burping Important for a Baby?

As mentioned earlier, babies need help to get the air trapped in the stomach out. When a burping newborn gets bouts of burps, you need to understand why it is important:

  • Colic: Many babies suffer from colic (stomach ache) due to excessive air getting trapped in the stomach. A baby who is suffering from colic could break into bouts of crying and become extremely cranky. To reduce the effects of colic, it is important that you help your baby burp properly post a feed.
  • Lack of sleep: Sometimes, mothers complain that their babies do not sleep well during the night or keep waking up. If you feel that your baby feels better when you make him or her sit, then the chances are that the air trapped inside their stomach is causing discomfort.
  • Dangers of choking: You should also burp your baby before you feed him/her as it helps clear the air inside and helps prevents choking instances while the baby is being fed.
  • Build a healthy habit: Burping your baby will make him or her more receptive towards you and lead a healthy life.

When to Burp Your Baby

The best time to burp your baby is immediately after feeding time, especially in the first six months. For the first six months, you can hold your baby in an upright position for about 10 or 15 minutes (sometimes this can be longer if the baby spits up).

Do not worry if the baby spits as it is natural and good for the child.

How to Burp a Newborn Baby?

You should be aware of the correct burping techniques that can be used for burping a baby. By placing the baby in the right position, you can get the gas out of his digestive system. Some babies, however, tend to fall asleep right after a feed and burping them may become challenging. But, a slight modification in the burping techniques can help you tackle this issue. Here are some ways you can burp your baby:

Best Positions for Burping Your Baby

The first and the foremost point to correct is the hold and the positioning followed by the various techniques. Here are a few ways in which you may burp your baby:

1. Burping the baby upright on your chest or shoulder.

1. Burping the baby upright on your chest or shoulder.

  • Hold the baby against your chest while sitting upright and resting his chin on your shoulder. Keep a cloth on your shoulder till your back to protect your clothes in case the baby spits up. With one hand, support the baby’s back, and with the other hand, keep rubbing or patting gently.
  • If your baby has more head and back control, you could hold him further up your shoulder in such a way that your shoulder gently presses the baby’s belly. This will help create a little pressure and let out the burp. Support baby’s back with one hand and keep rubbing and patting gently.

2. Burping baby on the lap.

2. Burping baby on the lap.

  • Place a bib on the baby and sit in a way that the baby is facing away from you. Use one hand to support the baby’s body by placing it on the chest with your fingers on their chin and jaw. Lean the baby forward slightly and gently rub or pat the baby’s back with the other hand.
  • You may also try another technique by placing the baby on the lap with his face down. Place a bib on your lap and lay the baby stomach-down across your lap, perpendicular to your upper body. With one hand, support the baby’s chin, and with the other hand, rub or pat the baby’s back gently. Be careful not to lower the baby’s head too much to avoid blood rush to the head.

3. Burping the baby while walking.

3. Burping the baby while walking.

  • This technique can be tried once the baby has good neck control. You may hold your baby upright, facing away from you while you stand and walk. Place one hand beneath the bottom and the other across the baby’s tummy to apply slight pressure.

While feeding formula, burp your baby after feeding every 60-90 ml milk. If you are breastfeeding the baby, you should burp him whenever you switch breasts.

If you want to know the best technique on how to burp a baby after feeding, you should do so while the baby is asleep by placing him on your shoulder facing towards you and gently rubbing the back. You can keep cuddling your baby as you continue burping him.

How Often Should You Burp Your Baby?

The frequency of burping your baby depends on how many times you are feeding him.

  • If the baby has a tendency to be gassy or spitting up, try burping after every ounce (about 30 ml) of bottle-feed or every 5 minutes during breastfeeding.
  • If your baby does not burp after a few minutes, you may consider switching your burping technique.

What If Your Baby Spits Up While Burping?

The process of burping may trigger spitting of a little formula/breastmilk. In the case of formula-fed babies, this also happens because some of the formula brands come with trapped air.

Here’s what you can do prevent the baby from spitting up:

  • You should stop feeding your baby if he begins to turn away from the bottle or breast. Overfeeding increases the risk of spitting or throwing up.
  • You can hold the baby in a semi-upright position after feeding.
  • Burp your baby more often while feeding or once every ounce if the baby frequently spits up.
  • Keep rubbing your baby’s back in a circular motion.
  • If your baby is bottle-fed, you should avoid using a smaller or larger nipple hole.

Some babies cry and squirm during burping, too. Let’s take a look at why that happens.

Reasons Why Babies Cry During Burping

When the baby swallows too much air along with the milk or formula during a feed, it leads to discomfort, which causes the baby to cry. Another reason for crying could be when the baby spits up (has gastro-oesophageal reflux).

Burping the baby several times during feed and feeding the baby in a more upright position may help with this.

What to Do if Your Baby Is Not Burping

Babies should be burped at regular intervals during feeding and after that. You might try different techniques to make your baby burp. However, it is alright if the baby does not burp as long as there is no vomiting. If vomiting occurs once or twice, it is not a cause for concern. Sometimes, the baby may be happy and comfortable. Therefore, it is alright if he or she does not burp. You should observe your baby’s behaviour after meals.

When to Stop Burping a Baby

There is no specific age to stop burping your baby; however, as a baby grows older, the digestive system matures, and burping becomes less necessary. As the baby becomes 2 to 3 months old, regular burping may not be required. Since babies learn to sit upright by then, they will be able to burp on their own.

Best Tips on Burping Your Baby

  • It is important to know your baby’s body language to recognise when he is gassy and needs to burp.
  • You should track the number of times your baby needs to be burped.
  • Babies who are being bottle-fed burp more often because they swallow more air than breastfed babies. However, notice your baby’s pattern as this may differ from case to case.
  • If the baby does not burp after trying for a few minutes, then you may try a different technique, and if that too does not work, you should stop forcing as your baby may be comfortable.
  • You should not force your baby to burp if he seems comfortable.
  • Gently rubbing the baby’s back during burping helps.
  • While breastfeeding, make sure that the baby is latched tightly so that he does not swallow a lot of air. Also, while bottle feeding, ensure that the nipple is not too big or too small for the baby to gulp in a lot of air.
  • The baby should be fed in a quiet place to cut down on burping.
  • Spit ups from the mouth and nose during burping is normal. However, if there is excessive vomiting, you may need to contact your paediatrician.

When to Take Medical Advice

Medical advice should be sought if the baby has a fever of 100.4 degrees, diarrhoea, bloody stools, and excessive gassiness.

If your baby is gassy but is feeding well, there is no cause of worry. Babies generally tend to burp because their digestive systems are still developing. Only if they aren’t burping, parents need to ensure that they do. Don’t hesitate to consult a paediatrician if you feel that is necessary.