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No idea how to burp your newborn? We've got you



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Created on Apr 08, 2024 · 5 mins read
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Burping your newborn is a key step in caring for them.

During feeding, your baby swallows air with their milk. This air can get trapped in their stomach and lead to discomfort. Imagine having a bubble stuck in your tummy that you can’t get rid of…..you wouldn’t be too happy either.

So, in the words of Elsa, it’s time to ‘let it go!’ — ‘it‘ being the air bubbles. And here’s how parents can help!

The importance of burping your newborn

Both breastfed babies and bottle-fed babies need a good burping break when they are fussy or gassy. Burping your baby is important as it helps babies release air and feel better while preventing spit-ups after feeding.

Optimal timing for burping newborn babies

While there’s no set rule, some babies prefer to be burped partway through their feed, while others prefer after.

“So when do I burp my baby and release gas trapped in my baby’s stomach?”

Great question!

And one you can answer by observing your baby’s cues.

If your baby is squirmy and uneasy during bottle-feeding or breastfeeding, stop and see if burping helps bring comfort. However, you can wait until they’re done if they’re feeding peacefully. Just trust your instincts and understand your baby.

Quick facts about newborn burping

Burping your baby comes with its surprises: smelly, gassy, and otherwise.

  1. Whichever position you choose for burping, be prepared. Keep a burp cloth or muslin square on your shoulder if your baby spits up. They can also be lifesaving in the case of projectile vomiting.
  2. Listen, learn, and practice. Every baby has a unique burping sound so pay attention when burping your baby. This will also tell you when to stop burping your baby.
  3. Sometimes, burping might take a few minutes, and other times, it might happen right away. If your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes, it’s okay. Change the baby’s position, from shoulder to across your lap, and pat or rub to see if they burp.
  4. Try to burp your baby between feeding sessions, each time you switch breasts.

How to burp your baby: Meet the techniques

It is an art to burp a baby, and we’re helping you master it with three golden techniques.

The “shoulder” technique

This shoulder technique is the classic and most effective way to burp your baby. Hold your baby upright against your chest with their chin resting on your shoulder. Then place one hand on your baby’s bottom for support and use the other to gently rub or pat their back. The hand supporting the back should be high enough to secure the head and shoulders, ensuring your baby’s head doesn’t flop backward. Balance rubbing both firmly and gently (you can practice this while sitting, standing or even walking).

The combination of gravity and gentle pressure helps release trapped air from your baby’s tummy.

The “lap-sit” technique

An alternative burping method is the “lap-sit” technique. Start with the baby upright, sitting on your lap facing away from you. Then place one hand across your baby’s chest and use your palm to provide gentle support without pressing too hard. Use your fingers to support their chin and jaw, ensuring not to apply pressure near the throat.

With your baby’s chest supported, hold your baby and lean them slightly forward. This forward tilt helps to naturally compress the stomach slightly, aiding the release of trapped air. Use your free hand to gently pat or rub your baby’s back. You can alternate between a rub or pat to find what seems most effective and comforting for your baby. The gentle pressure and motion on the back will help to coax the air bubbles up and out.

Make sure your baby is stable when sitting on your lap throughout and keep your supporting hand firm to prevent them from slipping.

The “lying across lap” technique

The “lying across the lap” technique requires you to sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the ground and your thighs together, creating a secure, stable surface for your baby. Place your baby face down on your lap or your forearm,

Rub or pat till you hear a burp. Keep your baby’s head slightly higher than their chest to support digestion and comfort.

When your baby won't burp: Troubleshooting tips

Still need to burp?

Gently move your baby’s legs in a bicycling motion and massage their tummy to release trapped gas. 

Consider experimenting with different burping positions if these methods don’t bring relief. For instance, adjusting your baby’s feeding position to be more upright can prevent air swallowing. If your baby shows discomfort and trapped gas (excessive crying, clenched fists, drawing legs, arched back), chat to your pediatrician.

Frequently asked questions about burping a newborn

How long do you burp a baby/newborn for?
For newborns, typically, a couple of minutes of gentle rubbing or patting is sufficient. If your baby burps in less time, that’s okay too. 

Is it okay if my newborn doesn’t burp?
Yes, it’s perfectly fine! Some babies don’t need to burp because they don’t swallow a lot of air while feeding.

What happens if my baby doesn’t burp and falls asleep?
If your breastfed or bottle-fed baby doesn’t burp and falls asleep, it’s okay. They’ll likely pass any trapped gas on their own, reducing the risk of spit-up or discomfort in their digestive system. But if you need to burp your baby, gently rub or pat their back using the shoulder technique or while laying them across your lap without waking them up.





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