How to burp a baby

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Most babies will need to be burped at some point as they often burp a lot more than older kids and adults. Babies drink all of their food and calories which means they can gulp a lot of air. Trapped gas can cause babies pain. So how should you go about burping your baby?

What is a burp?

A burp is the release of gas bubbles up the oesophagus which comes out of the mouth.

These gas bubbles can be released out of the other end of your baby as well.

Some burps may bring up some of the stomach contents which is why it is always advised to burp a baby using a burp cloth.

Why do babies need to be burped?

Babies need to be burped at each feeding.

When your baby drinks they cannot help but swallow a little air along with the breast milk or formula.

This can lead to air bubbles being trapped in the baby’s tummy which can make the baby feel uncomfortable and full before they have finished eating.

Burping a baby can bring up any excess air which has accumulated and is an important stage of the feeding process.

What are the best positions to burp your baby?

On your shoulder

To efficiently burp your baby on your should you should hold a baby firmly against your shoulder.

Be sure to support the baby under their bottom with one hand and then pat or rub their back with the other.

Babies can keep sleeping in this position as it feels comfortable for babies, while the pressure of your shoulder helps to release gas.

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Sitting on your lap

To burp a baby who is sitting on your lap, you should use your arms and hands to support the baby’s body and head.

The baby should be in a seated position leaning slightly forward.

Then with your other hand, you should burp the baby on their back through gentle pats or rubbing.

How often should you burp your baby?

You should burp your baby according to their individual needs.

When you bottle-feed a baby you should burp them at least once, typically halfway through feeding or more often if they seem fussy or appear to be taking a long time.

While breastfeeding it is best to burp a baby when you switch from one breast to another to make room for more milk.

Tips on burping a baby

To burp a baby effectively, you should:

  • Protect your clothes by always keeping a burp cloth or bib between your outfit and baby’s mouth.
  • Keep a cloth, diaper or bib handy in case baby spits up.
  • Use a gentle pat or rub may get the burp up for most babies, but some need a slightly firmer hand.
  • Focus on the left side of baby’s back, which is where your little one’s stomach is located.
  • Fussing in the middle of feeding may be due to discomfort from swallowed air, and continued fussing causes them to swallow more air which can lead to more crankiness and possibly spitting up.
  • Instead, try burping your baby right away to see if it is an air bubble in their tummy which is causing them to protest.

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