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How to Burp a Newborn After Feeding? Baby Basics for New Parents

how to burp a newborn

If you have observed someone feeding a baby, you must have noticed that they make the baby burp afterwards. Is it just a ritual or does it have any health advantages? As a first-time mom, it is natural to have a range of questions about burping which is an excellent technique to get rid of trapped gas. But how to burp a newborn and what’s the best way of doing it? Here you’ll find answers to all your queries regarding burping.

Why Does a Baby Need to Be Burped?

how to burp a newborn

According to midwives, burping is a compulsory part of the feeding routine of a baby. That’s because whether you breastfeed or feed formula, your baby may end up taking in air. When there are gas bubbles stuck in the baby’s stomach, the baby feels too full. Bottle-fed babies are more prone to facing this issue as they tend to suck milk from the bottle faster.

Babies may also swallow air during nursing. This happens when the baby is too hungry and drinks fast or if there is an oversupply of milk. Gas can also form because of the breakdown of some foods in the baby’s large intestine. If a baby relies on formula, certain ingredients present in the formula can cause gas. The food that lactating moms consume also pass through milk and more gas is created in their body. Many moms have observed that the baby’s stomach is gassy if they (mothers) have the following foods daily:

  1. fruits and fruity drinks
  2. chocolates
  3. dairy products
  4. high-fiber foods like beans
  5. sugar-free gums and candies
  6. cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, etc.)

Doctors have observed that dairy intolerance is something that affects a large number of babies worldwide. Whatever the reason, trapped gas can cause discomfort and this is where burping comes to the rescue. It will help your baby sleep peacefully.

Signs Newborn Needs Burp

As a new mom, it can be difficult to figure out if your baby is feeling uneasy because of trapped gas. But babies have their unique ways of communicating with their mother. Over time, you will understand the different body languages of your little one.

Crying, clenching of fists, and arched back are three of the biggest indicators that your baby is in distress due to trapped gas in its abdomen. Babies also tend to draw their legs into the stomach and that should be your clue that it is time to lay your baby to induce burping.

When Should You Burp Your Baby?

When it comes to breastfeeding and burping newborn babies, ‘When to burp my baby?’ is a recurring question that parents ask. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that you need to burp after feeding and during feeding. After you hold your baby in an upright position, gently pat to make it burp on a daily basis.

It is impossible for you to know how much air has entered the stomach. Therefore, even when the baby seems fine, try to burp to make its stomach free from air bubble. This way, your baby won’t be fussy at all.

How Many Times Should You Burp a Baby?

Not sure how often you have to burn your newborn while feeding? If you are breastfeeding, burp each time you are switching breasts. Burp another time when you are done feeding the baby. Bottle-feeding moms can burp once the baby has drunk 3 ounces of milk. Burping is essential for the initial 6 months.

Another thing that you need to remember is that every baby is different. While some need to be burped frequently, others do fine without it. While burping is necessary to help trapped air escape, you must not disturb your baby when it’s having milk by unnecessarily attempting to make it burp. This will only prolong the feeding and irritate a hungry baby. If the baby is frustrated, it may end up swallowing more air in hurry.

Tips for Burping Your Baby

What are the most effective newborn burping positions that you can try? Let’s find out!

1. Over the shoulder

The over-the-shoulder style of burping is so easy that you can do it without anybody’s help. For this, you can sit in a comfortable position or stand. The perfect way to burp a baby in this manner is by ensuring its face looks over your shoulder and the chin rests on your shoulder. Place a soft cloth under the chin as it will absorb the spit-up resulting from the burp.

Your hand should be under the bottom of the baby for support. Tap the fingertips of your other hand across the shoulder blades of the infant. Don’t worry if the baby is moving back and forth as your shoulder is supporting its head.

2. Sitting on the lap

Lap-sitting burping is an equally effective and here’s how to do it in between feeding:

When your baby is sitting on your lap, place your baby on its side on your lap. The chest needs to be leaning forward. After that, keep your hand below its chin to give support to the head and chest. Pat the baby’s back and get the burp.

3. Face-down on the lap

Here’s are the steps for the lying-down burping technique:

Simply make the baby lie across your lap on its belly. The trick to doing this right is by ensuring that the head of the baby is positioned higher than the rest of its body. Rub consistently and pat their back and you will soon hear the burping sound.

Additional Burping Tips 

  1. Always use a burp cloth as you don’t want your dress or the bed to get messy.
  2. Refrain from burping a sleeping baby by rubbing firmly. When a baby hasn’t burped yet but has fallen asleep, your motions should be gentler.
  3. Remain patient as sometimes, it may take 4-5 minutes.
  4. If you achieved success in making your baby spit, you can stop burping.
  5. If you fail to make your baby burp, let it lie on your lap for at least a minute and start afresh.

When to Stop Trying to Burp Your Baby?

Although doctors don’t mention a definitive age when you don’t have to prioritize burping anymore, you can stop doing it once you begin giving solid food to your baby. That’s because as your bundle of joy will get older, its digestive system will gradually become stronger. Then burping will not be necessary. But if you still notice that your child is gassy, keep following the above-mentioned burping tips and positions.

Ways to Relieve Gas 

Burping is not the only way to give comfort to a gassy baby. While it’s important to burp, the following methods many help when baby won’t burp:

1. Use mild abdominal pressure

Gently massaging the tummy of a baby is a fantastic way to boost its digestive system. Push the legs back and forth as the baby is lying on its back. This is called the bicycling motion.

2. Adjust the milk’s flow

Before you feed your baby, do you shake the bottle properly? Shaking is a must as it will add enough air to the liquid. The type of bottle you use, and the size of the bottle’s nipple also make a difference. When you are breastfeeding, manually squeeze out some milk before inserting the nipple into your baby’s mouth. This won’t overwhelm its little mouth with a fast flow.

3. Understand the cause of the problem 

It is also crucial to examine why your baby suffers from excess gas. If you breastfeed, certain ingredients in your diet might be responsible for triggering the issue. Lactating consultants identify ice cream, cheese, etc., are some common culprits. So, avoiding these foods will be wise for a few months.

When to Contact a Healthcare Provider?

Gassiness is not a major concern, and it generally gets resolved in some time. If none of the above suggestions are of help, it will be better to reach out to your baby’s doctor. Sometimes, gassiness many be accompanied by some other symptoms like:

  • Excessive fussiness
  • 4 F or more body temperature
  • Bloody stools
  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea
     Doctor’s Advice:
  • Note that spit-ups are absolutely normal, and all babies do that. Projective vomiting, on the other hand, can be indicative of some underlying issue. If your little one often vomits up a lot of food after you feed, there can be a reason behind it. So, take your baby for a full body checkup.
The Bottom Line

So, now you know the best burping techniques for newborns that will quickly give relief to your infant. With this detailed burping guide, you will be amazed to see how cheerful your baby remains.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the best technique to burp a newborn?

Over-the-shoulder method and face-down on the mother’s lap are two newborn burping techniques that work for most parents. Scroll up to learn how to burp a newborn after bottle feeding or breastfeeding.

Q. How often should I burp my newborn?

You should have a newborn care burping routine that benefits your baby the most. Ideally, you should burp during and after every meal.


Burping your baby – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Why Babies Spit Up – HealthyChildren.org

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