How to Burp a Newborn: Easy Tips & Tricks For Parents

how to burp a newborn
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By the time New Moms have their Little Ones on their arms, you’ve likely learned how to breastfeed, change a diaper, shower the baby… but did you know you can’t skip one final step after meals? We’ve got you covered on how to burp a newborn!

Burping a baby is an essential step that is executed also during the breastfeeding, not only afterwards. 

If you want to keep your child comfortable and help in their digesting process, here’s what you should know.

Important notice: keep in mind that all these recommendations apply to children in general and that they don’t suffer from gastroesophageal diseases/conditions. If your pediatrician informs you that your Little One needs different processes, please follow your doctor’s specific orders!

Why do newborns need to burp

Babies need to burp because they “swallow” air while they’re eating and drinking. This air is stuck in their stomach and the Little Ones will deal with the distress the only way they know: crying to let you know something’s not right

Also, the air stuck can make them feel fuller than they actually are, and they might end up eating less than necessary for their appropriate nutrition.

Burping your baby is necessary because the air that is trapped inside of them can cause discomfort – which no parent ever wants to happen.

Air trapped happens more commonly with bottle fed babies in comparison with those breastfed; regardless, all babies need to be burped during and/or after eating.

How often newborns have to burp

The general rule is that babies should be burped after 10 minutes since the start of the meal. You might need to do it sooner if you notice your baby is fussy or agitated during the bottle or breastfeeding, or if they stop sucking the milk several times during the process. This could indicate they’re already feeling discomfort.

If you’re breastfeeding, make sure to burp the baby when switching from one breast to the other.

If you’re on the bottle fed phase, burp the Little One every 2 or 3 ounces of milk.

When is it time to stop burping the baby?

Parents are advised to get used to burping the baby, because that will happen quite often during the first months of their lives. Consider that burping is necessary after every single meal. 

You’ll know the extra help is no longer necessary when the child can sit on their own and stand their posture.

Although helping to burp it’s yet another habit necessary to take good care of your newborn, it doesn’t last forever. Soon enough, your infant’s body will be stronger, more prepared, and capable of handling gassy situations on their own.

Techniques on how to burp a newborn safely

There are three popular ways to help your newborn burp. Before jumping into them, consider the things they hold in common.

  • The baby’s back is always straight.
  • With one hand, you’ll hold the front of your baby’s body. The other hand is used to massage and pat the baby’s back.
  • However the position you choose, keep a clean cloth or bib closeby to the baby’s mouth before initiating the burping process: a “wet burp” with undigested milk can happen, and you don’t want your clothes ingrained with that!
  • Be gentle while handling the baby. When patting or rubbing their back, use a firm but gentle touch. Remember that your newborn is fragile and you don’t want to cause any harm to them.

Now here are the most common (and effective) ways to burp your tot.

Over the shoulder

1) First, support your baby’s chin and chest with one hand, cradling their jaw (not throat) on your shoulder.

2) Gently pat or rub their back with your other hand. Work your way up and down their back between the shoulder blades. It might help to walk around while you do it, if possible.

Face down on your lap

This one is similar to the Over The Shoulder, but the baby’s body position shifts.

1) Lay your baby face down on your lap, with their head turned slightly to one side. Keep their chin elevated with your hand (aiming to be higher than their chest). Don’t put any pressure on the baby’s throat.

2) Similar to the shoulder position, use your other hand to gently rub or pat their back. Try to keep a steady rhythm to help the baby relax.

Sitting on your lap

1) Sit your baby upright on your lap, facing away from you. One hand is used to support their chin and chest, and keep their head upright. Be careful not to press the baby’s throat.

2) Use your other hand to pat or rub their back between the shoulder blades.

Other ways to help the baby burp

  • Massage the left side of their back, where the stomach is located. Be gentle and don’t push it too hard because you don’t want to hurt your gassy infant!
  • With the baby laying down on their back, kindly take their legs and bring them to the front and back. Think of mimicking the movement to ride bicycles! This also helps release the air from their stomach.
  • Babies might need to burp even if they’re sleeping. Just as you’ve probably gone through the experience of having your baby fall asleep while they’re being breast or bottle fed, the same could happen when it comes to burping! Just use the same positions we’ve described above. If you want to lessen your chances of waking up your Sleeping Beauty, try to hum and gently bounce the baby while you’re burping them.

My newborn doesn’t burp: what am I doing wrong?

Just as every child is unique and specific, the same is true when it comes to burping: some babies don’t do it as much as others. This can happen because they don’t swallow much air during the meal, or simply the gas is not stuck inside them.

Keep an eye on your infant for demonstrations of discomfort in their belly: but if they don’t show they have air stuck and need help with it, don’t “push” the burping on them.

There you go, Mom! Now you have instructions on how to burp a newborn, and enough knowledge to understand the importance of this proceeding.

What else are you going through in your journey in Motherhood? Do you feel overwhelmed in any form? If so, here’s a little advice for new moms we invite you to read.

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