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How to burp a baby

How to burp a baby

Table of Contents

How to burp a baby. What do you do when baby won’t burp? If you have ever pondered on this, please read on.

During feeding, babies often take in excess gas along with their milk. This results in gaseous bubbles stuck in their stomach.

While your baby may be unable to express their feelings explicitly, crying and/or squirming after feeding are common pointers.

If you notice any of tell-tale signs of discomfort after feeding your baby, consider a burp. This helps your baby to release gas bubbles.

Common Ways to Burp Your Baby

Sometimes, your baby may burp naturally. However, it’s common practice to want to help out. While there are several ways to achieve this, here are four conventional techniques to help burp your baby:

On Your Lap

  • Allow your baby lie, belly-down, across your laps.
  • Ensure their head rests sideways on one lap and belly-flat on the other.
  • Hold the baby securely with one hand and repeatedly pat her back gently with the other.

On Your Chest

  • Sit or stand upright and place your baby on your chest with their chin resting on your shoulder.
  • Hold your baby firmly with one hand and pat with the other.
  • Rocking your baby gently may increase effectiveness. A rocking chair would do.

Arm Hold

This works best for smaller babies:

  • Put an arm beneath the baby’s back. Allow them to rest on your forearm. This is already a typical feeding position.
  • Turn the baby’s body carefully and make them rest belly-down with their head positioned in your elbow’s crook. For stability, put your hand between your baby’s legs.
  • With your second hand, pat or rub the upper back carefully.

Sit-up

  • While seated, allow your baby to sit on your lap, back to you.
  • Allow your baby tilt slightly forward.
  • With one arm, try to support your baby at the chest and head.
  • Gently rub or pat with the other hand.

Why is it important to burp a baby?

Burping is one of several skills every parent – both fathers and mothers – should learn. Your baby may need burping until they become self-sufficient.

While more mature children can better position their bodies for an easy burp, babies can’t since they have no control over their body positions.

Talking burping, each baby is different. While some may require a burp after practically every meal, some eat without the need to burp. You may want to discuss reflux with your healthcare provider if your baby has too much gas or spit-ups.

Burping your baby after midnight feeding is an ideal routine, regardless of how much they burped during the day.

Indeed, it can be tiring to hold up your baby to burp at such wee hours. Well, you’re up already – just make the time worth it. A long, peaceful sleep often trails a midnight burp.

Make attempts to burp your baby after every meal. Remember, the air in their tummy makes them full and uncomfortable quickly.

Hence, attempt to burp your baby after every meal and avoid overfeeding.

Do breastfed babies need to be burped?

Although babies retain more air through bottle-feeding, breastfed babies may need burping as well.

But it depends.

Babies whose mothers’ breasts supply abundant milk or those who fuss while nursing tend to gulp more gas while they feed. These babies may need burping for comfort.

Remember, our babies feed differently.

So, what works for one baby may not work the same way for another. It’s important to understand your child’s unique condition. If you notice your baby cries uncomfortably after feeding, a little burping may help them.

Whether bottle-feeding or breastfeeding, making your baby sit upright may help reduce the air swallowed in the first place.

So while your baby may not always need a burp, pay attention to the signs they give. After nursing or if you notice some discomforting signals in your baby, they may need a burp.

When do you stop burping your baby?

It depends. Babies’ digestive systems develop and mature as they get older. Hence, the need to burp becomes less necessary as they age.

Typically, babies may no longer need burping anywhere between four to nine months. At this stage, they may have started out on solid foods.

That said, at any point your baby still feels gassy, keep up your burping. Soon, you’ll naturally feel the need to stop burping your baby.

How long to burp a baby for

A minute or two of patting is typical. In some cases, you may only need to position your baby upright for a burp to occur. Other times it may not be as easy – it may take a little longer and perhaps involve extensive back-patting.

A helpful tip is to ensure your baby sleeps in their cot while nursing. If you notice them almost dozing while breastfeeding or on the feeding bottle, pause and burp them for a while.

After burping for a minute or two, put them in their crib to sleep. The earlier you form this routine, the more easily it becomes a habit.

Depending on the individual baby’s reflux, they may have to maintain an upright position for as much as 30 minutes after feeding.

If your baby’s discomfort persists, discuss this with a pediatrician.

How to burp a baby when sleeping

Too often, babies doze off while feeding. As soon as they get filled, they become reassuringly calm and may quickly drift off.

But even when your baby seems satisfied and ready to drift off, you may make further attempts to burp them before placing them in their crib for a doze.

There isn’t much difference between burping a sleeping baby and an awake baby. However, you may go slower and more subtly for sleeping babies so as to not disrupt their sleep. For this, some positions work better than others.

Logically, using the sit-up position isn’t recommended for burping a sleeping baby. Since the baby does not feel relaxed, it’s challenging to maintain a good sleep in that position.

The on-the-shoulder position and the on-your-lap positions work best for burping a sleeping baby.

It’s good to have your baby poop after feeding. But, if this isn’t common, make sure to change their diaper before night feeding so you won’t have to disturb their sleep in the event they doze off while feeding.

My baby won’t burp

It’s completely okay if your baby won’t burp.

When it comes to burping, the experience differs among babies.

Do not expect a burp at every attempt. If, after a couple of minutes, your baby has yet to burp, you could try another position. If nothing changes, it’s okay.

You can put your baby down or proceed with the feeding. However, watch out for any suspicious signs. If your child’s moves suggest discomfort, position them for another bump attempt.

What if burping fails?

Sometimes, easing your child’s discomfort goes beyond burping. If you suspect excess-gas-induced discomfort, some other options may come in handy:

Massage

Baby massages may help the digestive and circulatory systems of infants. Although scientific evidence is limited, a light massage should help alleviate constipation and excess gas.

Research regardless, it’s common knowledge that massage can bring calm for babies – and even adults. That mild touch can do a whole lot.

Change bottles

There are no particular best bottles for eliminating reflux or reducing colic, spit-ups, and gas. However, some brands are specially made with venting designs and for optimum air control to prevent swallowing too much gas.

Or, change the bottle’s nipple flow

For bottle-feeding, the size of the nipple may be too big, which could cause your baby to take in excess air. Too narrow or too wide nipple holes could also cause excess air intake.

Adjust the nipple size to suit your baby’s need.

Legs Pedaling

Lay your child back down. Move their legs as with bicycle pedals. This may help exert pressure on the tummy to pass out unwanted gas. You may expect a poop with this formula.

Additional baby burping tips

Here are extra tips for a successful baby burp:

  • To prevent getting messed up, place a bib or clean napkin anywhere between the baby’s mouth and your clothing.
  • Have an extra piece handy in the event your baby spits up.
  • Getting your baby to burb may require a mild but repeated pat. However, you may need some patience with other babies.
  • When patting the back, focus on their left side. That’s the location of your baby’s stomach.
  • If your baby fusses while feeding, it could be a pointer to excess gas. The more your baby protests, the more air they gulp and the worse the discomfort. So, you may pause your feeding a bit and burb your baby to see if they’ll release some bubbles.

Wrap up

Babies burp differently. While some may require an extended upright time after feeding, others require a treatment plan for acid reflux.

Yet, some release the bubbles even before you attempt to make them burp.

So, there’s no one-technique-fits-all way to burp your baby – or to stop burping them.

Pay attention to your baby’s unique signals and, over time, you’ll know what works best for your little bundle.

That said, ensure you discuss things with your doctor if anything feels odd.

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