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How to Burp Your Baby

For the first 6 months of their life, your newborn will be dependent on your breast milk. Whether they feed on the breast or the bottle, it is unavoidable that they end up swallowing a bit of air along with milk. This can lead to gas and colic pain.

Burping a newborn can help reduce or at times even completely eliminate the troubles of gas and colic pain that your little one might go through. This article will help you explore the art of how to make a newborn burp, newborn burping positions, and everything related to burps (of your newborn, of course, 😉)

Why Do Newborns Require Burping?

Before we get into details like newborn burping techniques or ways to burp a newborn, let us understand why newborns require burping. 

Babies don't always swallow air while feeding. This usually happens when they are hungry and try to gulp the milk faster. The milk flow in the case of bottle-fed babies is faster; thus, bottle-fed babies tend to swallow more air while feeding.

Even with newborn babies who have not yet learned to latch properly yet, they might end up gulping air up and having gas and colic pains. 

Burping can help babies release the trapped air they swallowed during feed time and reduce the chances of gas and colic pain. This is the main reason doctors and parents advise burping a newborn after breastfeeding or even bottle feeding. 

When To Burp Your Newborn?

Although burping is often associated with avoiding gas and colic pain, the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends that a baby who is still on a milk diet should be burped regularly, even if they do not show any sign of discomfort or gas. 

For fussy babies and babies who experience gas more often, it is advised to burp them even between feeds. For example, while changing the breast or middle of the bottle, give them a break and burp them to release any gas they might have swallowed. 

How To Burp a Newborn?

There is no "one solution fits all." approach that works when burping a newborn baby. However, if you need some newborn burping tricks and tips, the following are the best positions to burp a newborn:

  • ▪ Over your shoulder – This is the most natural position and works best for you if you wonder how to burp a sleeping newborn. First, place your baby's help on your shoulder and your arm firmly under their bum. Then, gently pat and rub the back of your baby using the other hand till they burp. 
  • ▪ Sitting on lap - Make your baby sit on your lap and make them lean a bit forward for little pressure on their tummy. Support the chest with one hand while gently patting and rubbing the back with the other hand to help them burp.  
  • ▪ Face down on your lap – Cap the face of your baby from the chin with one hand and make them lay face down on your lap. Keep the head slightly elevated and sideways, rub the back, and gently pat them to let the burp out.  
  • ▪ Walking – A more convenient position for little older babies with head control and who do not fall asleep during feeding. Make your baby sit on your arm facing outwards, back towards you, and place your palm firmly on their belly while walking. The walking motions will help release the trapped air.  

The method you choose to use most often will depend on what helps your baby burp easier and comfortably. 

How often to burp a baby? 

How often to burp your newborn baby will depend on how frequently your baby feeds. 

  • ▪ When breastfeeding – burp your baby while switching between breasts. If you feed on only one breast at a time, burp your baby mid feel.  
  • ▪ When feeding with a bottle – burp your little one after every 60 – 80 ml feed, or more often if your baby takes longer to feed. 

What To Do If Your Baby Does Not Burp

Burps are the air that babies swallow while breastfeeding or feeding on a bottle. Thus, the baby doesn't need to always burp after a feed. Also, if your baby has not swallowed any air, they might not burp at all. 

Although there is nothing to worry about if the baby does not burp, at times, there might be a bit of air trapped that can later cause colic pain or gas for your baby, thus try the following if your baby has not burped after a feed. 

  • ▪ Lay the baby down for a few minutes if they have not burped, even after a few minutes of patting and trying after the feed. Then, pick them up and try burping them again after a break. 
  • ▪ Keep the baby upright after the feed. You can either carry them on your shoulder or carry them in a wrap or sling in an upright position. This will help them burp after a while and ensure that they do not experience colic pain even if they do not burp at all. 

When To Stop Burping Your Baby? 

Are you wondering how long to burp a newborn? Well, there is no specific age at which you need to stop burping your baby. However, as babies grow, start to sit, and start on solid foods, the need to burp them reduces over time. 

Do not stop burping them altogether in one go. However, you can try stopping one meal at a time, and you do not notice any gas or discomfort in your baby after the meals; it might be time to say goodbye to burping! 

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