How To Burp A Baby: A Complete Guide

Burping a baby can be a confusing task for new mothers and caregivers. Read this detailed guide to know different techniques on how to burp a baby

Why Should You Burp Your Baby?

Burping a baby helps to release gas. During feeding, a baby may often swallow air. This may cause trapped gas or lead to pain in his or her abdomen. If infants don’t burp, it causes retention of the trapped gas, which can cause distress. Swallowing air can also make the baby spit-up. This could put the baby in a cranky mood, and he or she may have difficulty falling or staying asleep. If the gas does not come out, the baby will be overall uncomfortable.

Milk can also cause indigestion and result in retained gas. Many foods that the mother consumes cause gas and get passed through breast milk. This can be resolved by burping the baby. You should also pick only the best baby food for your child.

Babies drink a lot of milk. In this process, a baby may ingest air. So, a mother has to make a baby burp after feeding. In a day, a baby feeds for almost 12 times or whenever he or she is hungry. So it’s essential to burp your baby during the day or night. Every time after you feed your baby, it’s crucial to burp him. 

How Long Does It Take For A Baby to Burp?

It normally takes 5-10 minutes to burp a baby. Though burping a baby is easy, you’ll need to practice to get it right. Try different techniques and choose the one that works best for your baby.

How To Burp A Baby

Many new parents find burping a challenge. They usually have many questions about the time, duration, and procedure of burping. Let’s answer them-

There are many techniques to burp a baby. Choose one which is comfortable for you and your baby. We recommend placing a towel under the baby’s chin. Babies may dribble or spit while they burp. Having an absorbable cloth will prevent you from cleaning up in case of a mishap.

Burping Techniques

1. Over The Shoulder Technique

This technique is used for neonates and babies up to 6 months. You can burp them this way while you are in a sitting or standing position. 

  • Hold the baby up on your chest with his chin resting on your shoulder.
  • Tuck your arm under the baby’s bottom for support.
  • Place a burping cloth over your shoulder.
  • Use your dominant hand to firmly pat the baby’s back between the shoulders, working your way up and down. 
  • You can also rub your baby’s back after a few pats to release any trapped air. 

2. Sitting Up

This technique works well with babies who have difficulty burping. You can also use this for infants who have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

  • Make your baby sit upright on your knees.  Use one hand to support the baby’s jaw, and your thumb and forefinger to hold up the baby’s head. So, here you are supporting the baby’s chin with one hand. Your forefinger and thumb hold the chin as a wedge. Your palm is also pressing the baby’s belly, making the air come up.
  • Place a cloth on your lap. Make the baby lean forward.
  • Pat the baby’s back with the other hand between the baby’s shoulder, working your way up. You want the air bubble to move up.

3. Lap Position

Try this technique if your baby feels uncomfortable  10-15 minutes after a feed. If he has a hard time settling and is fussy, use this method. Use a burp rag as there is more chance of spit up in this technique. This position helps in pressing the baby’s stomach so that air can come out. You can use this for older babies, too.

  • Make your baby lie on your lap or his/her belly. 
  • Support your baby’s head and turn it to the other side.
  • Rub the baby’s back in a circular motion. You don’t need to pat them in this position as here, the baby’s belly presses on your lap. If you want to pat, gently stroke the baby’s back for 1-2 minutes.
  • Do not let your baby’s head droop lower than the body level as it may cause a head rush.

4. Burp Your Baby As You Walk

If your baby has good head and body control, you can use this position.

  • Hold your baby upright with her body outwards.
  • Support her bottom with your hand.
  • Press on her tummy lightly to burp her.

When To Burp Your Baby?

Babies swallow air while feeding, so make sure they latch well to the breast while you are providing them breast milk. 

Latching is the process where the baby attaches their mouth to the mother’s breast while feeding. The baby should suckle the nipple, and part of the areola should be inside his mouth. There should be no gap between the baby’s mouth and your breast because if there is, your baby may swallow air.

You should hear a clicking sound when your baby starts to feed. If you don’t, it means a suction is created

If you are bottle-feeding your baby, make sure you attach the correct nipple size for their age and keep the bottle at an upright angle.

Burp your baby throughout the feeding. If your baby doesn’t suffer from reflux or trapped gas, you can do it halfway through your feed. You can do it when you switch breasts or when they are halfway through the bottle. If they are struggling with reflux or are swallowing air, do it every 2-5 minutes while nursing. When you burp your baby, the baby’s belly should be able to eject gas.

Keep In Mind

  • Breastfed babies usually burp less because they take in less air during feeds.
  • Sometimes, babies don’t burp at all, which is completely normal.
  • Burp your baby for a minute and then feed them.
  • If the baby is cranky during feeding, stop feeding. Try burping the baby while you are standing up or talk to the baby while you are burping him or her. 
  • If you are breastfeeding, burping the baby when you switch breasts will give him more time to ingest the milk and prevent spitting.
  • If you are bottle-feeding, burp your baby in between feeds. 

Even after trying 1 or 2 techniques, the baby may not be ready to burp. If your baby doesn’t burp in the first few minutes, give them some time and try burping again. You can keep them upright for 10- 30 minutes before you lay them down after eating. This helps to work up the gas. When you lay them down do some tummy time to let out any uncomfortable gas. Tummy time is placing your baby on their backs, with their legs folded when they’re awake. Do it only for 1-2 minutes as it is an uncomfortable position for a baby. 

Pat with every session of breastfeeding if your baby.

  • Is Gassy
  • Spits up a lot
  • Has gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
  • Is cranky or fussy
  • Cries from discomfort 

To prevent your baby from spitting up or vomiting milk, keep him upright for 10-15 minutes.

At times the baby may wake up from his sleep, crying due to trapped gas. 

How Many Times Should You Burp Your Baby?

Burp your baby after breastfeeding.

If you have expressed your breast milk and someone else is feeding the baby, try burping him halfway through and at the end of the feeding.

If your baby fusses while you are feeding him, it may indicate that he needs burping.

Be patient with your baby, and over time, you will learn what he needs and what he likes. Burp for 2-5 minutes in between feeding. It is also a good way to wake up a baby if he falls asleep during feeding. 

Sometimes, the baby may spit up through their nose or mouth. As long as the color is milky, do not worry. If the spit up is forceful and green in color, get a consultation with your paediatrician. 

Burping Your Baby 

In the first few days of its life, the baby doesn’t drink that much. So practice with them for some days, but you won’t get a decent burp initially. While breastfeeding, feed for 10-15 minutes on one side and then switch to the other.  Always keeps the baby’s back straight while you burp him/her. Give 5-10 minutes after you burp the baby to resume feeding.

How To Burp A Sleeping Baby

A sleeping baby may not understand the amount of milk that he should consume. As a result, they overeat and may vomit their food. 

Sleeping babies often get too comfortable while feeding. If a sleeping baby ingests air, then he will have discomfort. He may wake up and cry as well. Burp your baby at night to ensure a peaceful sleep for your baby and yourself. If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, you’ll have to burp them, but if your baby doesn’t burp and pass gas, that’s okay, too. Here are some ways in which you can help him sleep without discomfort 

  • Before he falls asleep, hold him upright for 5 minutes.
  • Move around while you are holding your baby or sway a bit. Don’t try any vigorous movements.
  • Lay your baby down and make him/her do elbow to leg movements. Take his left elbow and gently make it touch the right knee. The knee may not touch his elbow, but as he moves it will help him pass gas.
  • Place him in an incline as it presses the belly, which may help the gas come out. Don’t do this if your baby is sitting up.
  • Try the sitting up burping technique. 

At times, your baby may wake up from sleep due to colic. Colic is a condition where the baby cries a lot for more than three hours, and it is difficult to control. Colic may be due to abdominal pain that occurs due to excess gas formation in the baby. If the baby wakes up crying, burp him or her. You can make your baby sit upright for some time and support his head before putting him back to sleep.  

Crankiness and wailing after feed are indicators that your baby needs a burp.

For a sleeping baby, you can use the sitting-up lap position, the chest position, or you can burp them as you walk.

Chest Position

This position is similar to the shoulder position. 

  • Hold your baby upright at your chest area.
  • Support the baby’s head.
  • The baby’s legs may stay folded in a frog-like position.
  • Pat the back of your baby.
  • This will help release the gas.

FAQs

Q1. My Baby Isn’t Burping, Should I Be Worried?

Not at all. Some babies do not burp, and some learn to digest while feeding as they grow older.

Q2. How Do I Know My Baby Needs Burping?

If your baby is crying, cranky, or unable to sleep, burp your baby. It may take a few minutes for your infant to start burping.

Q3. How Often Should I Burp My Baby?

While breastfeeding, burp once halfway.While bottle-feeding, burp the baby twice, once in between the feed and once after completion of feeding. If he is fussy while nursing, burp him.

Q4. Do Bottle-fed Babies Need More Burping?

Babies, breastfed or bottle-fed swallow air while feeding. This is a common problem seen more while bottle-feeding. Use a bottle whose nipple size suits the baby’s age. If you are using the formula, make sure the air pops out of the bottle before feeding the baby. Don’t use a nipple size bigger than the baby’s mouth. 

Burping a baby is also a good way for the mother or the caregiver to bond with the baby. When you hold and burp your baby there is increased contact with the baby and you’ll get to know your baby and you will understand his or her needs.

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