Burping Your Baby

Nervous about burping your baby? Not sure how she ended up face down and sideways? Just looking for a basic how-to? Well, not to worry! Burping your baby is an important part of infant care, and we can help! This guide covers helpful tips and information about burping, so grab a baby, a spit-up cloth, and get reading!

The mechanics of burping

So why do babies need to be burped anyway? Newborns and young babies are often voracious eaters, sucking down milk like there is no tomorrow. When this happens, they inhale air along with the milk, causing it to become trapped as hard pockets inside their bellies. This is naturally very uncomfortable and often the reason for fussiness and crying, gassiness, and spitting up. Burping releases the air and accompanying pressure, not only relieving the pressure but also creating more room to continue eating.

In general, breastfeeding babies don’t need to be burped as often as bottle-fed babies because they don’t usually swallow quite as much air when they eat. Some kinds of bottle tips are designed to keep out excess air when your baby is eating, so if you are bottle-feeding your baby, look for these to reduce the need for burping.

Remember:  Every baby is different. Babies need to be burped more often than you may think. Some need to be burped even before they feed. Often, while they are feeding, while many require it far more frequently. Some babies spit up a small amount when they burp, and others only make a cute baby belch! Pay attention to your baby’s moods and movements, and soon you will learn what your baby needs.

Baby just won’t burp? A slight adjustment might be all you need – it could be just enough to move the air bubble and release the burp.

When to burp your baby

So why do babies need to be burped anyway? Newborns and young babies are often voracious eaters, sucking down milk like there is no tomorrow. When this happens, they inhale air along with the milk, causing it to become trapped as hard pockets inside their bellies. This is naturally very uncomfortable and often the reason for fussiness and crying, gassiness, and spitting up. Burping releases the air and accompanying pressure, not only relieving the pressure but also creating more room to continue eating.

How to burp your baby

All you need to do is rub or pat! No pounding necessary. There are three main positions that most mothers find helpful.

  1. Place your baby against your chest, with its chin on your shoulder. Support the baby with one hand and pat with the other.
  2. Sit your baby on your lap, facing away from you. Place the palm of one hand on his chest and use the fingers of that same hand to support his head by gently cupping his chin. Use your other hand to pat or rub his back.
  3. Lay your baby face down on your lap. Use one hand to support the head and ensure that it’s raised slightly higher than the rest of the body. Use the other hand to pat. (Note: For the first six months, this method is not the best option for babies who have a full stomach, as it can often cause them to spit up everything they’ve just eaten.)

Tips

  1. The need to burp is a very common problem with babies, and practice with the Dunstan Baby Method can be extremely beneficial in learning when your baby has trapped air inside. Once you learn to listen for specific cries that indicate discomfort or fussiness due to air pockets, you will be able to provide relief right away!
  2. At your wit’s end? Baby just won’t burp? Sometimes a slight adjustment might be all you need – reach for your water bottle, answer the phone, change the channel – that small movement could be just enough to move the air bubble and release the burp. Also, be patient! Sometimes it can take a few minutes for the air to release.

Happy burping!

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