Baby burping 101

Baby burping 101! Burping a baby can be a bit of an art-form that every new parent must master. Most babies will swallow air while feeding, increasing pressure in the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause discomfort, spit up, and overall fussiness.


So how do you know when baby has swallowed extra air and needs to be burped? If your little one stops feeding, starts squirming, or becomes fussy during or shortly after a feeding, it’s a good sign they may need a burp!


How often a baby needs to pause a feed to burp depends on how much air they are swallowing while feeding. Babies tend to take in more air when bottle feeding over breastfeeding. A poor latch, oral ties, or a fast milk flow can cause excess air to be swallowed. Other factors, such as food sensitivities, can also cause the body to produce excess gas while digesting milk.


As a general rule, babies should be burped after every 5-10 minutes of feeding, whether breast/chest feeding or bottle feeding. This equals to about halfway through and at the end of a bottle, or after nursing on each side. Some babies may need more frequent breaks if they are prone to gas and/or spit up.


I am sure you have seen babies being burped over the shoulder, a very common position for burping. However, my favorite way to burp a baby is having them seated on my lap like in this photo of this post! Sit baby on your lap facing away from you, lean their weight slightly forward against one of your hands (making sure to support their chest and head) and pat their back. Make sure you’re slightly cupping your hand as you pat baby’s back and aim between the shoulder blades. If baby does not burp within 5 minutes, they may not be able to get the burp out or may just not need a burp. If baby is still squirmy or fussy, give them a bit of upright time and try again.


When can you stop worrying about burping during feeds? Generally, when baby can sit up independently, it’s okay to stop burping during feeds. That said, every baby is different, and some may need to be burped for longer than others. Pay attention to baby’s behavior for cues. You should keep burping a baby as long as they seem fussy during or after feedings.


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