How to Make a Baby Burp Properly

Featured image of baby laying on bed with burp cloth

New parents have it tough: they are new and inexperienced in parenting, and it seems like there is so much to learn. It can be overwhelming: the right way to bathe the baby girl or baby boy, how to feed the baby, how to burp a baby… What is more, the advice they get from other parents can often be conflicting because children are not the same, and what works for one baby doesn’t necessarily work for the next one. We have taken it upon ourselves to prepare a few tips on how to make a baby burp properly.

Why your baby burps

Babies have a lot to learn, including how to eat, and in the beginning, little bubbles of air will get trapped in your baby’s stomach when she eats. As harmless as this is, the bubbles will also make your child grizzly and uncomfortable, which can lead to her being restless and crying. When you know how to make a baby burp after a meal, you will help free her stomach from gas bubbles, and as a result, she will be content and eat much longer. Burping is also useful if your baby has reflux, sometimes brings up a little bit of milk after she is fed, and if she is colicky. On the other hand, there is absolutely no rule that says that you have to burp the baby every time you feed her, as some babies don’t have to burp as often.

Be prepared

Before you make your baby burp, you should know that little “accidents” often follow the burping process, so you should be prepared if you’re hoping to save yours and your baby’s clothes. By keeping a burp cloth or a bib between the baby’s mouth and your clothes, you will ensure that there aren’t any stains. What is more, you should also keep a bib or a cloth close in case your baby spits up (it’s common), but pay attention to see if they are grabbing the cloth because they can move it. To help your baby burp, you should gently rub or pat her back after feeding, but keep in mind that some babies need a slightly firmer hand, so don’t be afraid to be firmer if you feel that gentle rubs aren’t enough.

Image of mother hugging baby

Best positions to burp a baby fast

If you notice your baby being fussy in the middle of feeding, it’s usually a tell-tale sign that she swallowed some air and should burp. If she continues to fuss, she will only keep swallowing more air, which might even cause her to spit up, so you should react as soon as you notice it. Here’s how to burp a baby fast:

Over your shoulder

This is the position that’s very simple and very effective, and most people find that it’s working for them and their baby. Hold your baby up so that her chin is resting comfortably on your shoulder, and keep your hand under her bottom for support. Use your other hand to gently pat and rub her back until she burps, but don’t forget that some babies need a bit firmer pats. Try to focus your pats and rubs on the left side of baby’s back because this is where her stomach is located. Also, it’s always a good idea to keep a bib, a diaper, or a cloth on your shoulder in case baby spits up.

Face-down across your lap

This is a bit less common position, and some people hesitate to try it on because it looks strange. While sitting comfortably, place your baby on your lap so that she is face-down on your legs. Position her body at a right angle so that she can be comfortable lying across your knees, and support her chin and jaw with your hand. Feel free to hold her head firmly and try keeping it slightly higher than the rest of her body. This will prevent the blood from rushing to her head, and she will be more at ease. Use your other hand to rub or pat her back until she burps. As before, we advise you to keep a cloth over your knees to protect your pants from accidental spit-ups.

Sitting on your lap

This is a more convenient position, especially for breastfeeding moms: sit the baby on your lap so that she faces away from you, and firmly support her body with one arm so that her chest rests against the palm of your hand. This way, you can use your fingers to gently support her chin and jaw and keep her head in a good position. Still, try to keep your fingers away from her throat because this is uncomfortable for her and she will be fussy otherwise. Lean her slightly forwards and use your other hand to pat or rub her back for a while.

Walking

As your baby gets older, you might want to try walking her around until she burps. You should wait until your baby has good head control to try this method. If you notice she is fussy in the middle of her feeding, try holding her upright in front of you so that she’s facing out, and stand up and walk around the room for a bit. One of your hands should be placed under her bottom for support while the other should be kept across her tummy so that you can apply light pressure. The motion and gentle rocking might be able to help give an additional release.

Alternative burping techniques

Sometimes, no matter how good we are at following rules, our baby simply won’t burp. This is where you might reach for some alternative methods to help her release those air bubbles. If stroking or patting aren’t making a difference, try giving your baby a warm bath and follow it up with a gentle massage of her stomach. Warm water will help relax her muscles and smoothing her tummy with circular, clockwise motions will help release trapped wind. You should also try speaking or singing to your baby softly as it will also help soothe her, or you can play in the tub too. Make sure you clean the bath toys properly afterwards, though, as some of them may develop mold. And make sure you have the best bath toys for your kids needs.

How often should you make your baby burp?

The frequency of helping your baby burp depends greatly on how you’re feeding her and how often. If you bottle-feed, try to burp the baby at least once during feeding, best in the middle, but don’t hesitate to do it more often if it’s taking a long time or she stays fussy afterwards. If, on the other hand, you’re breastfeeding, you can burp the baby when you switch from one breast to the other. This will help make room for more milk because if the babies swallow a lot of air during breastfeeding, they will feel full and refuse to eat more. In case your baby is only managing one breast at a time, try burping in the middle of feeding on the same breast.

It’s only natural that the new parents are scared, and sometimes, parents who have more than one child can experience fits of unease and slight panic when they get another child. Infants and babies are very fragile and gentle, and it’s necessary to be careful and make sure they are safe at all times. Burping a baby might seem like a mundane and important task, but it is not so – when you know how to burp a baby, you will ensure they stay calm and sleep peacefully.

Author: Jonathan M. Ward
Author: Jonathan M. Ward

Himself a father of two, John is obsessed with getting the most out of every children’s product on the market, finding value wherever it can be found. His years of study in developmental psychology coupled with his passion for parenting make him an invaluable asset to our team.

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