How To Burp A Baby: The Complete Guide For New Parents
Burping is an important part of your baby’s feeding time. If your baby is constantly fussy during or after feedings, helping them let out a good burp could ease their discomfort. Learning how to burp your baby is a great place to start!
In this article, we provide a complete guide for burping your baby, including why it’s important, when to do it, and the best ways to do it.
The Importance Of Burping Your Baby
Burping your baby should always follow a feeding session. This is because when your baby eats — whether from a bottle or breast — they will swallow some air. That air gets trapped in their tummy as little air bubbles that need to be released.
When you burp your baby, you’re helping the air bubbles escape. If they don’t escape, this can cause discomfort and your little one may become fussy and cranky.
When To Burp A Baby
During a feeding session, your little one will need to be burped anywhere from one to three times. It all depends on your baby and how efficient they are during their feedings.
If your baby is bottle-fed, burp them after they consume one to two ounces of formula. If you’re breastfeeding your baby, burp them every time you change sides.
Expert tip: If you’re nursing, try Mustela’s Nursing Comfort Balm to moisturize and protect your nipples between all those feedings! It eases discomfort and helps replenish and restore your skin during and after breastfeeding. This will help keep your skin comfortable while nursing.
And if you’re comfortable while you’re nursing, both you and your little one will be more relaxed. And that makes for an efficient nursing session.
How To Burp A Baby
To get all of those air bubbles out of your baby’s tummy, their back needs a little pat and their tummy needs a little pressure. These two things work together to force the smaller bubbles to collect into one large bubble, which can then be released.
Gently pat your baby’s back repeatedly and apply pressure on their belly by using one of the positions below to help them burp.
Sitting Lap Position
- Sit your baby in your lap
- Place the palm of your hand over your baby’s stomach
- Support and hold your baby’s chest and chin with your fingers of the same hand you’re using to apply gentle pressure on their stomach
- Lean your baby forward
- Start patting your baby’s back
- While sitting down, lay your baby down on their stomach on top of your thighs
- Place your baby’s legs between your legs
- Lean your baby over one of your thighs and support their head with your hand
- Gently pat your baby’s back with your other hand
The Shoulder Position
- Hold your baby in the upright position and let them rest on your shoulder
- Support them by placing one hand on their bottom and one hand on their back
- Lean them over your shoulder just a little bit to add slight pressure to their stomach
- Gently pat your baby’s back
The Cradle Position
- Cradle your baby in your arm with their head facing away from you and their chin resting on your elbow
- Your arm will support and add pressure to their belly (place your hand between their legs)
- Use your free hand to pat your baby’s back
Here a few tips to keep in mind when you’re burping your baby:
- Always have a burp cloth nearby or, better yet, draped over your shoulder or leg
- If your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes, change their position and try again
- Keep trying to burp your baby before you continue their feeding session
- Keep our Cleansing Wipes or our No-Rinse Cleansing Water on hand for quick cleanups when spit-up accidents happen
Keep in mind that not all babies are frequent burpers. Some babies pass enough gas that they won’t need to burp much.
If your little one doesn’t seem to burp a lot, isn’t bothered by gas pains, and is on track for their growth and weight gain, there’s no need to worry about whether or not they’re burping enough.
On the other hand, if your infant seems to be uncomfortable after feedings but isn’t burping much, there may be something going on.
Take a look at these common burping challenges and what you can do to help your little one release painful air bubbles.
Baby Won’t Burp, Wants To Sleep
During your baby’s first week of life, you might discover that they’re more interested in sleeping than burping...or anything else, for that matter!
If you’re trying to burp your baby and they’re falling asleep, sit them in an infant seat instead of laying them down flat on their back.
Sitting your baby in an upright position for 10 to 15 minutes will help keep their milk down and, eventually, the air bubbles will go away on their own. Gravity is amazing! This is also helpful in preventing reflux in your baby.
Note: Only use an infant seat during daytime feedings. Avoid sitting your baby in an infant seat after the late-evening feeding and middle-of-the-night feedings.
Spitting Up And Projectile Vomiting
Sometimes some of the ingested milk might come back up with your baby’s burp when the air bubble is released.
Spitting up is nothing to be concerned about but, rather, something that can be a normal occurrence in most babies. It often happens with sudden motion, like moving too quickly after eating.
If this is the case, it usually means your baby consumed more milk than their stomach can process in one feeding. When their stomach builds up pressure, spitting up is a way to release any excess milk.
Monitor how often this occurs, and if it happens pretty frequently, there’s a good chance you may need to reduce the number of ounces per feeding that your baby receives.
A different type of spit up that’s more alarming to parents is projectile vomiting. This type is more forceful and much greater in volume.
Occasional spells of projectile vomiting can be expected, but routine spells are something to keep an eye on. This could mean your baby isn’t getting enough calories and can become dehydrated.
Reach out to your baby’s pediatrician if projectile vomiting becomes the norm for them. Use your mommy or daddy instinct! It will let you know if their spit up or projectile vomiting spells are normal or something that needs medical attention.
Hiccups Or Gas
Burping doesn’t always relieve all the trapped air bubbles in your baby’s tummy. Hiccups or passing gas is the result when that happens.
Unfortunately, with passing gas, some babies resist the sensation and tighten their bottoms, which makes them super uncomfortable.
To help your baby get a little more comfortable and release the gas, place their back on your chest and pull their knees up to their chest.
If gas isn’t causing discomfort with your baby but hiccups are, treat them like a burp by using one of the burping positions we mentioned above. Gently pat your baby’s back and see if that helps.
If your baby gets the hiccups often after feedings, try offering less formula or breastmilk at one time. Instead, offer an additional feeding session. This way, your baby is still getting the same amount of milk, but it’s spread out rather than all in one feeding.
Taking Care Of You And Your Baby
After your baby is born, it’s a natural instinct as a parent to care for them. Burping your baby is one way to do just that.
Burping helps your little one stay comfortable and release any air bubbles that may have accumulated during a feeding. Burp your baby after they consume one to two ounces of formula or every time you switch breasts.
Gently patting your baby’s back by applying pressure to their tummy is the most effective way to burp your baby. Refer back to our four burping positions to see which one is best for your little one, and keep our tips in mind for more comfortable feeding sessions.
Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself in the meantime! Treat yourself by trying our Maternity Skincare Set that safely supports and cares for your changing skin.
Now you’re ready to care for your new bundle of joy!