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How to burp your baby: Basics, positions, methods and tips for both breastfed and bottle-fed babies

Monali Bordoloi Monali Bordoloi 3 Mins Read

Monali Bordoloi Monali Bordoloi


Are you burping your baby after every feed? Babies can get cranky if there is trapped air in their stomach. Burping your baby reduces discomfort and calms him down. We tell you how

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How to Burp Your Baby

New mother Anagha Mohan always struggles when it comes to feeding and burping her three-month-old baby boy. For her, it seems like an endless chain of feeding and burping. Also, every time, the baby burps, he spits up milk too. Anagha is still trying to find out the best position to burp her baby boy.

Anagha is not alone. Many new mothers report that feeding and burping babies can become a little intimidating for them.

Why does your baby need to burp?

For infants, feeding and burping are interlinked. During feeding, babies swallow some air too. When the baby burps that trapped air from the stomach gets released. Babies feel comfortable when the air is out. If there is too much air in their stomach, the babies can refuse to eat. They also become cranky. Some babies spit up too and cry a lot as they feel uncomfortable due to gas.

Best positions to burp your baby

Dr Madhuri Prabu, pediatrician, Motherhood Hospital, Alwarpet, Chennai, says, "Best position for burping can vary from one mother to another. In fact, any position where both mother and the child are comfortable is good for burping."

Bottle-feed babies need to be burped more than breastfeeding babies. Burping should continue once you switch from liquids to semi-solids.

Use the trial and error method to decide on the best position for burping which is comfortable for you and your baby.

Popular methods of burping

  1. Put baby on the shoulder: Put the baby on your shoulder, her stomach should be on your shoulder blades. Gently pat on her back. You can try this position when your baby has more head and neck control.
  2. Put baby against the chest: Sit straight and hold your baby against your chest. Make sure that your baby's chin is touching your shoulder. Support the baby with one hand, gently rub her back with your other hand.
  3. Put baby on your lap: Sit straight comfortably and put your baby on your lap. The baby should lay flat on her tummy. Keep your baby's head higher than the chest. Then, slowly rub or pat your baby's back.

How to burp your baby

To burp your baby, repeatedly pat or rub her back. Do it gently. "Babies six months and younger should be kept in an upright position for 10 to 15 minutes after feeding. It will prevent milk spit-ups to some extent", adds Dr Prabu.

Best time to burp

According to Dr Prabu, "The best time to burp your baby is definitely after every feed. Sometimes, babies suffer from indigestion, then frequent burping is recommended. If you observe that your baby is uncomfortable during feeding, burp her more frequently, even between feeds."

How long should you burp your baby?

Ideally, you should gently pat or rub your baby's back until you hear the burp sound. If your baby doesn't burp after a few minutes, change the baby's position and try for another few minutes before feeding again. Always burp your baby when feeding time is over. However, if your baby falls asleep during or after a feeding, skip the burping.

Burping should continue till your baby reaches the age of 6-7 months.

What if your baby doesn't burp?

There is no need to worry if your baby does not burp every time you rub her back after feeding. "Babies, who suffer from colic or have milk reflux do not burp after every feed. Sometimes, holding them upright for a longer time will help them burp. However, if your baby is fine and comfortable, don't bother about not burping after a feed," Dr Madhuri adds.

Messy burping?

Does your baby throw up after burping? Throwing up while burping is common. As trapped air comes out of the stomach with a force, it brings along with it some milk in the stomach. To prevent messy spills during burping, always put a bib or small towel under your baby's chin.

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