How to Burp a Newborn After Feeding
Burping your newborn after feeding is an important part of the feeding process. When babies eat, they tend to swallow some air along with milk or formula. This can cause them to become gassy and uncomfortable if the air is not removed from their stomach.
Newborns have underdeveloped digestive systems and are unable to burp on their own, so they need your help. Burping helps remove the excess air they have swallowed so they can avoid issues like gas, spit-up, and colic.
Here are some tips on how to properly burp your newborn after feeding:
Holding Positions for Burping
The key to burping is getting your baby in a vertical position so that any trapped air bubbles can rise to their mouth. There are three main holding positions that work well for burping:
1- Over the shoulder: Place a cloth over your shoulder, then hold your baby against your chest so their chin rests on your shoulder. Support their head and back while gently patting or rubbing their back.
2- Sitting upright: Hold your baby sitting upright with their head resting on your chest. Support their chin and jaw with one hand while patting their back with the other.
3- On your lap: Place your baby face down across your legs so their chest is resting on your thigh and their head is slightly higher than their chest. Use one hand to support their head while patting their back with the other.
When to Burp
Aim to burp your baby at natural breaks during the feeding process. Some good times to burp are:
1- After every 2-5 minutes of feeding
2- When switching breasts while breastfeeding
3- After your baby stops sucking and takes a short break
4- When the bottle is empty or breast is drained
If your baby is fussing or turning away from the breast or bottle, it can also signal a need to burp.
How to Burp:
Positions for Burping
The key to effective burping is holding your baby in an upright position and applying gentle rhythmic pressure to their back. You can use several different upright positions – over your shoulder, sitting upright on your lap, or laid face down along your thighs.
Use a Burp Cloth
Whichever position you choose, make sure to support their head and neck since newborns lack head and neck control. Keep their chin resting on your shoulder or tilted slightly upward to allow air to come up.
Apply Back Pressure
Use a cloth burp rag on your shoulder or lay your baby on your lap when burping to catch any spit up. With your baby upright, use your fingers, palm, or heel of your hand to pat or gently rub their upper back between their shoulder blades. You want a firm but gentle pressure – imagine patting firmly enough to dislodge an air bubble without jostling or pounding too hard.
Use a Rhythmic Motion
A rhythmic patting motion works better than random patting. Think of a gentle “thump, thump, thump” in a slow, steady rhythm. Make sure to keep your wrist loose and avoid tense motions that could be uncomfortable for the baby. If patting doesn’t work, try making small circular motions with your fingers along their upper back.
Burp for 2-3 Minutes
Continue patting or rubbing for 2-3 minutes allowing time for burping. Keep burping until you hear or feel your baby emit a burp. They may give a small polite burp or a large, satisfying one! Burping brings relief as it removes excess air from their belly. If your baby seems unsettled, cries, or pulls off during feeding, burp them again at any point.
Burp Anytime When Needed
The key is finding a pressure, rhythm, and position that works for your baby. With some practice, you’ll learn to identify when your little one needs to burp for comfort during and after feeding. Gentle, consistent burping gives babies relief and aids their digestion
Tips for Successful Burping:
Try Different Positions
Each baby may respond better to different burping positions. Test out burping over your shoulder, sitting upright on your lap, or lying face down on your legs. Pay attention to which position seems most effective and comfortable for your baby. Finding the right position helps get the best burps for relief.
Use a Burp Cloth
Keep a cloth burp rag handy whenever burping your newborn. Position it on your shoulder or place the baby on top of it when burping. Burp cloths catch any spit-up or vomit that may come up while you are patting and rubbing their back. Using a cloth helps keep you and your baby clean.
Elevate Baby’s Head
Even when holding your baby upright against your body to burp, make sure to slightly elevate their head. Keeping their chin tilted upward allows air bubbles to rise more easily. Support their head and neck since newborns lack head and neck control.
Gently Rub Back
In between rhythmic pats on the back, try gently rubbing in circular motions. This can help relax the baby’s back muscles and encourage the release of air. Lightly circle the baby’s upper back with your fingers or palm. Combining patting and rubbing may get a burp out faster.
Go Slow and Steady
Rather than patting fast and sporadically, use a slow, steady rhythm. Think of making a gentle “thump, thump, thump” pattern on their upper back. Going too fast can cause excess jostling and discomfort rather than a productive burp. Aim for a calm, consistent rhythm.
Handle your baby gently right after a feeding. Avoid too much bouncing or other disruptive motions that may upset their stomach. Use a soothing motion to burp and provide comfort. Harsh jostling can cause spit up or vomiting if done too soon after a feeding.
Watch your baby for signs they need to burp, like fussiness or pulling off the breast or bottle. Don’t wait to burp just at the end – burp them anytime they show cues during the feeding. Mid-feed burping provides relief and lets them take in more milk.
After Gentle Sucking
Burping may be easier when your baby has been feeding in a more relaxed, gentle rhythm. Breastfeeding or using a slow-flow bottle nipple involves less vigorous sucking. The calmer feeding can allow air bubbles to come up more readily when burping.
Burping is a simple but important task that aids your newborn’s digestion and comfort after feedings. Try using different burping positions and techniques to see what works best. Look for signs your baby needs to burp, like fussiness or pulling off the breast or bottle.
Consistent, gentle burping will help minimize gas and spit up and ensure your little one feels their best after eating. Don’t forget to burp your newborn after every feeding session! Learn here more about baby care and healthy growth.
Q: Why do babies need to be burped?
A: Babies swallow air when they eat, which can make them uncomfortable. Burping gets the air out of their stomach to avoid issues like gas, spit-up, and colic.
Q: When should I burp my newborn?
A: Aim to burp after every 2-5 minutes of feeding, when switching breasts, when they pause feeding, and after feeding. Watch for signs they need to burp like fussiness.
Q: What are the best positions to burp a baby?
A: Good positions are over your shoulder, sitting upright, and lying face down on your lap. Support their head and keep it slightly elevated.
Q: How do I burp my newborn?
A: Hold them upright and pat or rub their upper back gently but firmly. Use a rhythmic motion like “thump, thump, thump”.
Q: How long should I try burping for?
A: Keep patting or rubbing your baby’s back for 2-3 minutes to allow time to burp. Burp until you hear or feel the air come up.
Q: How firm should burping be?
A: Use a pressure that is firm enough to dislodge air bubbles but not too hard to hurt or jostle the baby.
Q: How do I know if my baby needs to burp?
A: Signs of needing to burp include crying, fussiness, pulling off the breast or bottle, and discomfort.
Q: Is it okay to burp while breastfeeding?
A: Yes, burp them anytime they need it during feeding, not just at the end. Burping provides comfort and relief.
Q: What can I do if my baby won’t burp?
A: Try different positions, rhythm, and pressure. Rub their back in circles. Take a break then try burping again. Call your doctor if still struggling.