Knowing how to feed your baby is as important as knowing what to feed them. The hold, the latching, followed by burping are all essentials of a good feed. But knowing the importance of these factors make the task easier. Babies burp because they swallow air bubbles while feeding. Since they are at a delicate stage, it is important to teach them how to burp properly.
What is a Burp?
Babies tend to swallow air bubbles during a breast milk or formula feed. These air bubbles get trapped in the baby’s digestive tract making them uncomfortable and gassy. Burping is the process of releasing the gas from the digestive tract through their mouth.However, there are other reasons that may contribute in these air bubbles reaching a baby’s digestive system, some of which are discussed below.
3 ways in which babies swallow air:
- While milk feeding: A bottle/breastmilk feed requires a baby to suck continuously during which the air bubbles may enter their system
- Food: This situation holds good for a baby that has already started on solid feed. Certain foods create gas while breaking down in the intestine.
- Allergies: Allergy or intolerance towards certain food types can also lead to formation of gas in a baby’s stomach.
Why Does Your Baby Burp?
When the air bubbles get stuck in a baby’s stomach, it causes discomfort and uneasiness to them. They feel full and bloated and therefore squirm or cry signalling they need your help to provide some relief. . It is recommended that babies should be burped even if the baby does not get fussy. Burping is considered quite beneficial for babies, especially for those who experience frequent gastrointestinal problems. It is also commonly believed that breastfed babies may not require as much burping as a formula fed baby because they tend to swallow lesser air during the feed. However, it completely depends from a baby to baby and you should mostly be looking for their cues when they are required to be fed.
Why is Burping Important For a Baby?
Babies need help to get the air trapped in the stomach out. When a burping newborn gets bouts of burps, you need to understand why it is important:
- Colic: Many babies suffer from colic (stomach ache) due to excessive air getting trapped in the stomach. A baby who is suffering from colic could break into bouts of crying and become extremely cranky. To reduce the effects of colic, it is important that you help your baby burp properly post a feed. .
- Lack of sleep: Sometimes, mothers complain that their babies do not sleep well during the night or keep waking up. If you feel that your baby feels better when you make him or her sit, then chances are that the air trapped inside their stomach is causing discomfort.
- Dangers of choking: You should also burp your baby before you feed him/her as , this helps clear the air inside and helps avoid choking instances while the baby is being fed.
- Build a healthy habit: Burping your baby will make him or her more receptive towards you and lead a healthy life.
When To Burp Your Baby?
The best time to burp your baby is immediately after feeding time, especially in the first six months. For the first six months, you can hold your baby in an upright position for about 10 or 15 minutes (sometimes this can be longer if the baby spits up).
Do not worry if the baby spits as it is natural and good for the child.
How To Burp a Newborn Baby?
You should be aware of the correct burping techniques that can be used for burping a baby.s faster. By placing them in the right position, you can get the gas out of their digestive system. Although some babies tend to fall asleep right after a feed and hence burping them may become slightly challenging. Here are the best ways of how to burp a sleeping baby, or one that is awake:
Best Positions for Burping Your Baby
The first and the foremost point to correct is the hold and the postioning followed by the various techniques. Here are a few ways in which you may burp your baby:
Burping baby upright on your chest or shoulder –
- Hold the baby against your chest while sitting upright and resting their chin on your shoulder. Keep a cloth on your shoulder till your back to protect your clothes in case the baby spits up. With one hand support baby’s back with one hand and keep rubbing or patting gently.
- If your baby has more head and back control then you could hold him/her further up your shoulder in such a way that your shoulder gently presses the baby’s belly. This will help create a little pressure and let out the burp. Support baby’s back with one hand and keepi rubbing and patting gently.
Burping baby in the lap–
- Place a bib on the baby and sit in a way that the baby is facing away from you. Use one had to support baby’s body by placing it on the chest with your fingers on their chin and jaw. Lean the baby forward slightly and gently rub or pat baby’s back with the other hand.
- On the lap with the baby’s face down- Place a bib on your lap and lay the baby face so that the baby is lying across your knees, perpendicular to your body. With one hand support the baby’s chin and rub or pat the baby’s back gently. Be careful not to lower baby’s head too low, to avoid blood rush to the head.
Burping baby while walking –
- This technique can be tried once the baby has good head control. You may hold your baby upright, facing away from you while you stand and walk. Place one hand beneath the bottom and the other across the baby’s tummy to apply slight pressure.
While feeding formula, burp your baby after feeding every 60-90 ml milk. . If you are breastfeeding the baby then you should burp him/her whenever you switch breasts.
If you want to know the best technique on how to burp a baby after feeding, you should do so while the baby is asleep by placing him/her on your shoulder facing towards you and gently rubbing the back. You can keep cuddling your baby as you continue burping him/her..
How Often Should You Burp Your Baby?
The frequency of burping your baby depends on how many times you are feeding him/her. .
- If the baby has a tendency to be gassy or spitting up, try burping after every ounce (about 30 ml) of bottle feed or every 5 minutes during breastfeeding.
- If your baby does not burp after a few minutes then you may consider switching your burping technique.
What if Your Baby Spits up While Burping?
The process of burping may trigger spitting of a little formula/breastmilk. In case of formula fed babies this also happens because some of the formula brands come with trapped air.
Precautions if your baby spits up –
- You should stop feeding your baby if he/she begins to turn away from the bottle or breast. Overfeeding increases the risk of spitting or throwing up. .
- You can hold the baby in a semi-upright position after feeding.
- Burp your baby more often while feeding or once every ounce, if the baby frequently spits up.
- Keep rubbing your baby’s back in a circular motion.
- If your baby is bottle -fed, you should avoid using a smaller or larger nipple hole.
Reasons Why Babies Cry During Burping
When the baby swallows too much air along with the milk or formula during a feed , it leads to discomfort which causes the baby to cry. Another reason for crying could be when the baby spits up (has a gastro-oesophageal reflux).
Burping the baby several times during feed and feeding the baby in a more upright position may help with this.
What To Do if Your Baby is Not Burping?
Babies should be burped at regular intervals during feeding and after that. You might try different techniques to make your baby burp. However, it is alright if the baby does not burp as long as there is no vomiting. If vomiting occurs once or twice it is not a cause for concern. Sometimes, the baby maybe happy and comfortable. Therefore, it is alright if he or she does not burp. You should observe your baby’s behaviour after meals.
When To Stop Burping a Baby?
There is no specific age to stop burping your baby, however as a baby grows older, the digestive system matures and burping becomes less necessary. As the baby becomes 2 to 3 months old, regular burping may not be required. Since babies learn to sit upright by then, they will be able to burp on their own.
Best Tips on Burping Your Baby
- It is important to know your baby’s body language to recognize when they are gassy and need to burp.
- You should track the number of times your baby needs to be burped.
- Babies who are being bottle-fed burp more often because they swallow more air than breastfed babies. However, notice your baby’s pattern as this may differ from case to case.
- If the baby does not burp after trying for a few minutes, then you may try a different technique and if it too does not work then you should stop forcing as your baby may be comfortable.
- You should not force your baby to burp if they seem comfortable.
- Gently rubbing the baby’s back during burping helps.
- While breastfeeding make sure that the baby is latched tightly so that he/she does not swallow a lot of air. Also, while bottle feeding ensure that the nipple is not too big or too small for the baby to gulp in a lot of air.
- The baby should be fed in a quiet place to cut down on burping.
- Spit ups from the mouth and nose during burping is normal. However, if there is excessive vomiting then you may need to contact your paediatrician.
When To Take Medical Advice?
Medical advice should be sought if the baby has fever of 100.4 degrees, diarrhoea, bloody stools, and excessive gassiness.
Conclusion: If your baby is gassy but is feeding well, then there is no cause of worry. Babies generally tend to burp because their digestive systems are still developing. Only if they aren’t burping, you will need to ensure that they do. Don’t hesitate to consult a doctor if you feel that is necessary.
Read this article in Arabic: كيف تجعل طفلك يتجشأ