How To Understand Your Baby's Wind And When They Need Burping
Babies are hard work because their language is so different from ours... but sometimes they're just asking for help. Do you know what to look out for?
Wind is the term used to describe the small amounts of air your baby swallows as they feed – often brought up later in the form of a burp.
Most babies will become uncomfortable after a feed if the air they have swallowed is not brought up – and this is where the art of burping is so important because a burped baby is usually a settled baby.
Babies can be very windy individuals so here’s what you need to know about their ‘pardon me’ moments.
When does my baby need burping?
- Not all babies need burping, and in fact, most of those who need a lot of burping as newborns will grow out of needing burping within months of birth.
- Breastfed babies generally need less burping than bottle fed babies.
- Discomfort from wind will usually become obvious if you lie your baby down to sleep straight after feeding, or if he falls asleep while feeding. Within minutes of lying down, your baby will begin to squirm and grunt and perhaps cry until you hold them upright to burp them.
- If wind is the problem, your baby should settle quickly again after burping.
How to burp your baby
While many people associate wind with the air that is passed from both ends – bottom and mouth – these airs are quite different. Wind from the bottom, aka a ‘fart’, is created as a by-product of the digestion of milk being absorbed in his bowel – this air has not been swallowed.
Farts can cause your baby to feel suddenly uncomfortable for a minute or two, become red in the face, squirm, grunt and cry before passing the wind – and perhaps a bowel motion as well.
For some parents, getting the elusive burp after every feed can become a little obsessive. Generally, if your baby is going to burp, he/she will do it in the first couple of minutes after feeding. Sitting them upright, or placing them over your shoulder while gently stroking or patting his back, should get results – if there are any results to be had.
However, if your baby remains irritable, unsettled and cries, then it is unlikely due to ‘wind’, just probably the normal fussy behaviour that is common for most newborn babies from about two to 12 weeks of age, or perhaps due to reflux. If your baby remains unsettled, even after they burp, then their behaviour is likely to be for the same reasons.
Do wind drops work?
Some parents will purchase wind drop products. These products contain a medication called simethicone in drop form that is given before a feed (but no more than 12 times a day), and works to collect up the small bubbles of air to make bigger bubbles, which may help your baby to burp more easily. Some parents are big fans of these drops, while others don’t think they work at all. See what works for you and bub.
If you want to ‘wind’ your baby, or help them to burp, you will usually need to place them in an upright position by:
- Sitting them up after a feed for a few minutes and gently patting or rubbing them on the back. You will need to support their head while burping.
- Placing your baby over your shoulder, rubbing their back, or moving them slightly back and forth. It is a good idea to put a cloth nappy or fabric square on your shoulder in case your baby vomits while burping.
If you have any concerns about your child’s unsettled behaviour, please speak to your local health practitioner for advice.