How to Burping a Newborn: A Comprehensive Guide for New Moms
Have you seen people burping newborn babies? What are they doing? Little air bubbles are…
Have you seen people burping newborn babies? What are they doing? Little air bubbles are formed in a baby’s digestive tract when they suck air while feeding. Gas could also form due to the food that a nursing mother had and passed on through breastfeeding. Such gas formation happens while bottle feeding as well. It is said to be more in bottle-fed babies because they gulp too fast. This gas could be uncomfortable for babies and make them feel full even when they are not. They may be unable to feed further, vomit, or have stomach aches.The simple solution to this is to burp the newborn baby during and after every feed. You can pat your baby gently on his back to help him burp and release the trapped air. Here, we will discuss all about burping and how to burp a newborn baby.
Signs that a Newborn Needs to Burp
Your little one is not yet ready to tell you that he is uncomfortable and needs burping. Ideally, it is best that you burp your baby after every feed. This is enough for some newborns. Whereas some other babies may need burping in between the feed too. How would you know which kind your baby is? You’ll need to watch out for some indicators.
- If the baby looks uncomfortable (crying, squirming, clenching fists, etc.), the first thing to do is burp the baby again. If that doesn’t work, you can check if the baby is hungry, has a wet nappy, or has any other discomfort.
- If the baby pulls away from feeds, he/she might feel like they would vomit if they have any more milk. Burping could help ease them.
- When the baby curls up by lifting his legs towards his tummy and cries, he may have a stomach ache. You can try to burp them to help them get some relief.
- GERD- All babies spit up due to an underdeveloped digestive system. But some babies spit up more often. They have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This mostly resolves on its own when the baby is 1 or 2 years old. In such cases, burping the baby often can significantly help the baby.
You might notice these signs before, during or after the feed. If so, try burping them. Especially if you feed him with a bottle, he might need burping after every 2-3 ounces. While breastfeeding, if you have, you can burp before switching sides.
Methods for Burping a Newborn
There are some easy methods for burping a newborn. You may try these methods on different occasions and see which helps your baby faster. Remember to use cupped hands rather than flat hands so that the baby isn’t hurt when you pat.
The Shoulder Method
Place your baby on your shoulder so that he is looking over it. Make sure you have a clean cloth on your shoulder and a bib for the baby in case he spits up while burping. By the way, such a spit-up is normal. Support his bottom with one hand. With the other hand, pant his back gently for one minute or so. If the baby doesn’t burp with this method, you may need to try another method.
The Lap Method
Sit down, and place your baby facing down, laying on his tummy. Remember to hold the baby’s chin up with one hand and pat his back gently across the shoulder blades with your other hand. Carefully support the baby’s head and neck because it is still unsteady.
The Sitting Position Method
Sit down and support your baby by holding his chin and chest. Remember. He still can’t hold his head up without your help. Now, with your other hand, pat his back gently with cupped hands.
Tips for Effective Burping
As easy as it sounds, burping is often frustrating for many parents because they may not be successful quickly. It requires patience from the parent to try until the baby burps. If one position doesn’t work, try another one. Some positions work better for one child than for another. Ensure that you and the baby are in a comfortable and upright position. Avoid overfeeding or forcing the baby to feed even when he looks uncomfortable. You can use the same methods to burp even if the baby has fallen asleep. If he is not letting out gas even after persevering for a long, you can let him be and wait to see if he shows any signs of discomfort.
Common Mistakes to Avoid While Burping
There are some mistakes commonly made by parents while burping. For example, sometimes it may take 5 minutes or more for the baby to let the air out. But you must remember not to pat the baby for 5 minutes continuously. The little one might feel hurt. Similarly, as we mentioned earlier, a newborn’s head and neck need support. Neglecting to give physical support could lead to more severe problems than gas. Therefore, always try to hold the baby’s head up while trying to burp.
It is okay if the baby doesn’t burp every time after a feed. But you must do it frequently so that the air in the gastrointestinal tract doesn’t build up.
Tips to Avoid Gassiness
Gassiness is uncomfortable for babies and adults alike. You can take some steps to avoid gassiness in your little one. Here are some tips:
- If the baby is bottle-fed, use nipples with a smaller hole and slower flow. With a slower flow, the chances of the baby swallowing air are significantly reduced. Let the formula settle after you shake it so that the air mixed while shaking also settles down.
- For breastfed babies, gassiness is also formed due to the food that the mother has. Take note of your diet and the days that your baby is gassier than other days. You can help the little one by avoiding having such food. Often dairy products cause gas.
- You can apply slight pressure on his tummy during the baby’s play time with a gentle massage. Or you can make the baby ‘cycle’ to help him relieve gas.
Burping a newborn is routine for all parents until the infant is almost 4-5 months. If none of the methods we mentioned have been effective in your baby’s case, you may seek medical attention. If your baby cries persistently or refuses to feed for long, it could mean more serious underlying medical conditions. Watch out for the following symptoms as well:
In such cases, it is better to contact a healthcare provider to determine what is wrong.
Burping a newborn is almost as important as feeding him. With a gentle pat on the back, you can help your baby let off the air bubbles in his tummy and be comfortable to feed, sleep or play. You can burp the baby in between the feed and after it. It is better to burp the baby every time after a feed; if not, try every alternate feed. Since it could be a little frustrating sometimes, we suggest the non-nursing parent or any other caretaker takes turns burping the little one. If your baby doesn’t get out of the wind and continues to be uncomfortable, he might have other difficulties. You should meet a doctor to resolve any other issues. We hope now you know how to burp a newborn baby and be a pro at it!
After giving 30-60ml milk if the baby is bottle-fed if being breastfed, you can burp while switching the breast and at the end of the feed. Some babies would need burping only after the feed.
The trapped air bubbles in your baby’s tummy could make her uncomfortable and cranky. They would feel full without being full and start crying again soon because they are still hungry.
Yes. The gassiness of one baby may be different from another. Some babies do not burp every time. It is ok as long as your baby doesn’t look uncomfortable. If he continues to be uncomfortable and unable to burp with all the different methods, seek medical help.
A newborn baby is likely to swallow gas whichever way he is feeding. Especially, when they drink too fast, they swallow more air.
If with a bottle, it would be better to choose a nipple with a smaller hole and angle the bottle so that minimum air enters. If he is breastfed, the mother can help the baby by avoiding food that can make him gassy such as dairy, beans, etc.