Baby basics: How to burp your baby

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Feeding your baby can be an awkward time for new parents, especially when it comes to burping. Here’s a handy guide to help your baby expel excess air from his or her belly.

There are so many techniques to learn when you become a new mum. How to burp baby after a feeding is something which can seem a little hard at first, but it is fairly easy. With time, it will become a simple routine that you will do over and over again!

Why is it important to know how to burp your baby?

Burping aids digestion in their little tummy. During a feed the baby will ingest gas and feel discomfort and fuller than they actually are. Getting rid of the air from the stomach during and after each feeding will ease this discomfort and normally make room for more milk!

Trapped gas in the stomach can lead to colic which is quite painful. It is important to learn how to burp baby as early as possible. Always ask your paediatrician or a lactation consultant for more guidance when needed.

How to burp your baby: when to do it?

how to burp baby

If you are or planning to breastfeed your little one then they may need less burping than if you bottle feed. This is because the baby can control the milk flux from your breasts so it is normally only necessary to burp once you change breasts. A breastfed baby also tends to swallow less air than a bottle-fed baby because the baby's mouth closes around and latches onto the mother's nipple.

When feeding your baby formula or breastmilk through a bottle, it is best to burp them a few times during each feed. If your baby is particularly gassy then you can try and do it more often. A latex teat can be difficult for some babies to latch onto. Also, the flow of milk during bottle-feeding may not be as constant during breastfeeding.

You should also keep the baby upright after a feeding in order to prevent it from spitting out the milk.

How to burp your baby: techniques

There are a few techniques of how to burp baby correctly. Before you attempt to burp your baby, make sure you have an extra towel in case they spit out any milk.

Baby burping techniques:

  1. Hold your baby in an upright position against your chest. Support him with your shoulder and chin. Hold his head with your hand and with the other firmly but gently pat on his back.
  2. Hold your baby upright in your lap and support his chest. Lean the baby slightly forward and pat on his back. You can also use circular movements to encourage burping.
  3. You can also place your baby in your lap on his belly. Put your hand underneath the baby’s chest. With your other hand apply circular movements and light patting on the his back.
  4. If your baby has more trouble burping, try bending his legs towards the chest. This might help the gas come out.

For best results, burp your baby during a feed and at the end of the feed. If he or she cries, try to burp your baby before feeding so that he or she can take in as much milk as possible.

Your baby deserves a (gentle) pat on the back

While burping your baby, pat him or her on the back but there is no need to pound too hard. Start off with a few gentle rubs in a circular motion and then lightly pat your baby on the back between the shoulder blades.

Don’t worry if your baby has a ‘wet burp’ that regurgitates some swallowed milk - this is completely normal. To avoid a mess, just place a towel under your baby’s chin.

Additional baby burping notes:

  1. When using any burping method, give up or try a different position if you don't get a burp after a few minutes. Your baby may not be ready to burp just yet.
  2. It is also important not to let your baby cry too much before a feeding as they could ingest more air before they take the milk. It’s also a good idea to take one or two breaks during the feed to help milk digest and to give you time to relieve any discomfort through burping.
  3. Remember that as your baby grows, the need to burp so frequently will decrease. An older infant will be able to get rid of the extra gas without your help – you will find their BIG burps hilarious!