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Parenting

How To Burp A Baby After Feeding

Last Updated March 4, 2021

By  Janice Warren

Burping is an essential part of feeding, which is why you need to learn how to burp a baby effectively. Burping your baby will help eliminate the air that the baby tends to swallow while feeding. Not burping your baby can make the baby spit-up, gassy or get a little cranky.

When the child feeds, he/she swallows a little air with the milk or formula, and since they drink all their food, it's inevitable. These trapped air bubbles in their tummy cause them to feel uncomfortable and full before they're full.

Making it quite helpful and necessary to burp your baby. Some babies are naturally gassier than others. Generally, babies need to burp a lot more often than older kids. Burping your baby should be done both day and night.

Isn't it remarkable how babies, especially newborns, can fall asleep while feeding? This means you may need to find a way to burp the baby while they sleep. When your baby falls asleep, try baby burping them for a couple of minutes and then place them back down so they can sleep. Babies will need to be burped so they won't wake up with trapped gas.

However, remember not all babies will burp, though, whether on their own or with your help.

Tips On How To Burp Your Baby

  • Always use a burp cloth or bib under the baby’s chin or on your shoulder
  • Keep a burp cloth or bib in case of a baby spit-up
  • Gently pat or rub the baby's back may get the burp out for most babies. However, some may need a firmer hand
  • The baby's stomach is located on the left side under the baby’s back, which makes a great place to focus on
  • Excess gas from swallowed air will cause your little one discomfort and cause them to fuss while feeding. Continued agitation causes them to swallow more air which then leads to more crankiness and a possible spit-up
  • Where your little one expresses discomfort, try burping baby immediately. It might be an air bubble in her tummy that’s causing that
  •  Try burping your baby every 5 minutes or every time they've fed 60 to 90 millilitres of milk if you bottle-feed
  • If you breastfeed, you'll need to switch breasts at intervals

How To Burp A Sleeping Baby

Babies, especially newborns, will tend to fall asleep while feeding, either while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. As the baby's tummy fills up, they become soothed and relaxed and often tend to drift off. This will most likely happen at night, but even then, some babies still need to get that burp out of before laying them back down.

The technique used in burping a baby who's asleep is the same you'd use on a baby who’s wide awake. You'll have to move a little slower to have them stay asleep. However, some burping positions are much easier to use on a sleeping baby. Here are a few ways to burp your baby as they sleep:

1. Burp before switching sides or mid-bottle

A sleepy baby may end up over-feeding without pausing. To avoid any significant gas pain, slow down on the feeding and burp your baby. Do it before you switch breasts or before finishing the bottle. This will not only help your baby make more room for more milk but also prevent them from burping and spitting out food.

2. Hold on the shoulder

As your young one is sleeping, you can put them in an upright position onto your shoulder. As you gently pat the baby, the shoulder's pressure will push on to the baby's belly to release gas. Keep a burp cloth on your shoulder in case the baby will spit up.

3. Hold lower on your chest

Hold up the baby upright, place the baby's head to lie on your chest. This .is quite comfortable, especially as they sleep. While in this position, their legs are in a frog position which is a bonus since they're able to release more gas,

Best Positions For Burping Your Baby

The American Academy of Pediatrics points out these three basic ways to burp a baby:

  • On the shoulder: Hold the baby firmly against your shoulder. Support the baby's bottom with one hand, then pat or rub the baby's back with the other hand
  • Face-down on the lap: Place your baby tummy down, across the lap. The stomach will be on one of the legs, while the head on the other. The head is then turned sideways and supported. It is slightly higher than your chest. With one hand securely holding your baby, pat or rub the baby's back with the other.
  • Sitting up: Hold your baby on your lap while you're in a seated position. Try to lean slightly forward. Support the baby’s head and chest with one arm while you pat or rub with the other.
  • Walk: Once the baby has great head balancing control, try holding them upright while facing out as you stand or walk. Put one hand under the baby's bottom while the other arm runs cross the baby's tummy to help apply some light pressure. The motion helps release any trapped air bubbles.

Frequently Asked Questions on Burping

1. What should I do if the baby doesn’t burp? 

Some babies don’t swallow as much air, and so they aren’t as frequent burpers. Other babies pass gas well enough with gas drops that they won't need to burp as other infants. If your little one doesn't burp as much, then gas pains are nothing you should be concerned about. 

2. How many times should I burp the baby?

Here's a little tip for the mom-squad. It all depends on how you feed your little one. Every feeding will need burping.

  • While bottle-feeding - burp the baby at least once, halfway through feeding or more often if she seems fussy
  • While breastfeeding - burping the child as you switch between breasts during feeding makes more room for more milk. Note that a baby full of swallowed air may refuse to feed because they feel uncomfortably full. Does your newborn manage to feed on one breast at a time? Burp midway as they feed on that same breast

Janice Warren


Janice is a full-time writer at Infantcore, writing about her experiences as mother of 4.

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