How To Burp A Baby – Is There A Right And Wrong Way?

Learn How To Burp A Baby

Many new mothers are confused about how to burp a baby, and why it is even necessary. The bottom line is that there is no one correct way to burp your baby. There are some ways that work better than others, though. Luckily, generations of mothers before you figured out some ways that worked well for their babies. Of course, every baby is different. Your baby may burp a lot while a friend’s rarely seems to build up excess gas during feeding. This means that you’ll have to figure out what your baby needs and which methods work best for you.

Why Do Babies Need to be Burped?

Babies need to be burped for the same reason adults belch — they have too much air in their stomachs. For babies, though, it’s not because they’ve had a carbonated soda. Instead, babies have little control over how much air they swallow during feedings. This air gets trapped in their tiny stomachs, causing pressure and pain.

Many babies get fussy, cranky or even spit up if not burped at this point. Additional feeding only extends their stomachs further, making the gas build up more painful. Burping relieves the pressure and also opens up more room in their stomachs for food. Pausing in the middle of a feed to burp the baby also forces him to feed slower, meaning he will take in less air and have less gas later.

Is My Baby Likely to Need Burping Frequently?

We’ve already discussed that all babies are different, but there are some things that make it more likely for your baby to build up gas in his stomach and need to burp. These include:

When To Burb 1 Being bottle-fed. Bottle nipples allow milk to flow faster, giving your baby less control over how much milk he is getting. This means he has to swallow faster, and is more likely to swallow air in the process.

When To Burb 2 Feeding in a reclined position. Another reason breastfed babies typically need less burping is because they naturally feed in a more upright position. To reduce the chances a bottle-fed baby swallows excess air, they should be fed in a position that is between 45 and 90 degrees.

When To Burb 3 Feeding quickly. Babies who are fast feeders tend to swallow more frequently, increasing the chances they will swallow air. This is a major reason why babies who are fed up-right by the breast still need burping.

When To Burb 4 Spitting up frequently, having gastroesophageal reflux disease or other intestinal issues. These babies typically experience relief of symptoms when they burp.

How Do I Know When to Burp My Baby?

How often a baby will need to be burped depends on a lot of factors. These can include whether he is being fed breast milk or formula, what type of formula, the age and size of the baby, the type of bottle and nipple and even how he is positioned. Before the advent of formula, mothers used to burp their newborns each time they switched breasts.

Today, with formula and breast pumps playing a role in feeding many infants, mothers must use other indicators. The easiest way to determine when your baby needs burping is to watch for a slowdown in feeding. Another indication is if he becomes fussy before he has eaten his usual portion. When this happens, you can attempt to burp him.

Whether or not that is successful, another attempt should be made when he is finished feeding. Many mothers worry because their newborns fall asleep during a feeding, and they are not burped. There is nothing to worry about in this case. A content baby shouldn’t be disturbed. He most likely has little excess gas to expel.

How To Burp a Baby?

There are a number of ways mothers have figured out to force the excess air from a newborn’s stomach. There are three positions which are the most popular, but limitless ways to achieve the same result. Some use one of these positions exclusively, some use a combination, and some create their own methods. As long as it is comfortable and effective for both your baby and you, then that’s how you should burp him!

Many mothers begin by experimenting with the three most common methods, then developing their own habits from there. These three positions are:

3 Positions For Burping Your Baby

These are the three most common positions for burping your baby.

Over your shoulder.   The most well-known position for burping a newborn is to place him against your shoulder. Don’t forget to place a cloth over your shoulder first, just in case he spits up! While sitting or standing up, lay the baby’s head on top of your shoulder. Support his bottom with one hand while you use your other hand to gently pat his back.

Sitting up.   Burping a baby sitting up calls for sitting the baby in your lap, with the top half of his body leaning slightly forward toward his toes. This puts pressure on his stomach and helps to force the air out. Support his chest and chin with one hand while using the other to pat his back gently.

On your lap.   Burping a baby on your lap feels awkward for some, but it can be very effective and comfortable for others. Simply sit with your legs together, and lay the baby across your lap. His head should be on one leg, with his stomach draped over the other. Hold the baby with one hand while patting his back with the other.


Should I Be Worried?

There are a few common issues parents face when trying to burp a newborn. The first is simply that nothing seems to be effective. In most cases, when babies won’t burp, it’s simply because they don’t need to. Some infants are born with an efficient way of eating that prevents them from swallowing excess air. Those who feed slowly, eat small meals and are fed upright are less likely to need to burp after a feeding than those who are bottle-fed in a reclined position. As long as you’ve made the effort and your baby seems content, there is little to worry about.

Another common issue parents run into is a baby who spits up when he burps. This is more common than you probably imagine, and is very different from vomiting. As long as it is only a tablespoon or more, spit up is totally normal for a newborn. The milk is sitting in his stomach on top of the excess gas, and both are forced out by the burp. With some babies, spit up occurs with every feeding while others may only spit up occasionally.

By the time your baby has reached four to six month in age, he will probably require much less burping. Babies this age have learned to eat without swallowing as much air, in addition to developing the capacity to burp on their own. Until that time, have confidence in your knowledge about how to burp a baby. Experiment with the methods we’ve discussed, and find the way that’s most comfortable for you and your little one.


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