While your parenting journey starts when you conceive your baby, the real adventure begins at the moment you step out of the hospital. You and your newborn face the world together, without the midwives, nurses, and doctors who helped you during birth and recovery.
I’m sure your healthcare providers have given you some tips to ease you into life as a new parent, not to mention that your family and relatives will be offering pieces of advice, too. Plus, technology and the internet can help you with whatever question you have as you go along.
You might feel overwhelmed because you’ll need to do so many things for your baby during his initial 3 months, notably feeding, bathing, and putting him to sleep. Another important task is burping your baby.
Why burping your baby is important
With a newborn, an important part of the feeding routine is making sure your baby burps. When infants feed, they tend to swallow some air. If your baby swallows too much air, his tummy might hurt and make him fussy. Burping helps to release the air.
Not burping your baby can cause him to spit up, be gassy, and grow irritable. By burping, you can make sure every feeding goes smoothly.
Baby burping: bottle-fed vs. breastfed
One of the questions you will encounter is whether you really need to burp your baby when he is breastfed.
An advantage of breastfeeding is that babies don’t swallow much air because they have a tighter latch onto the breast, so they don’t need to release air from their tummy as often as bottle-fed babies do. However, it’s still important to burp your baby, especially if you have an oversupply of breastmilk, which makes your milk letdown swift. When this happens, your baby gulps air as he swallows.
Whether your child is bottle-fed or breastfed, burping is a vital part of the routine. Every baby is unique, and they have different ways of feeding, too. Just be on the lookout for signals that your baby is giving. Crying after being fed doesn’t only mean he wants to be fed more—it can also be a sign of tummy discomfort because of gas. So, be sure to take some time and burp your baby after feeding.
How to burp a baby
Your newborn looks so fragile, and if you’re a first-time parent, you may be afraid to carry him. Still, this shouldn’t stop you from burping your baby.
Techniques for burping your baby
When burping your baby, both of you should be in a comfortable position. Here are some common baby burping techniques and how to apply them:
- Leaning on your shoulder: This is perhaps one of the most popular techniques for burping a newborn. Your baby is facing you, leaning against your shoulders with his chin is placed on top of it. One of your hands supports your baby’s bottom and the other his back, doing some gentle tapping.
- Sitting on your lap: In an upright position, sit your baby in your lap. Hold his face by cupping your thumb and your index finger in his chin. Gently lean your baby forward as you rub or tap his back.
- Lying across your lap: Carefully lay your baby across one or both of your knees. Be sure to support his head using the palm of your hand. Use your other hand to rub or pat his back.
Burping issues for you and your newborn
Some new parents will find burping their baby an easy task, but you may be one of those who find it a challenge. Here are some of the issues you may encounter and ways of dealing with them.
- Sleeping baby-Your newborn sleeps most of the time. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to wake him up from his deep slumber after his feeding. However, you should still make sure to burp your baby by slowly moving him to the position both of you are most comfortable with. You can use any of the techniques, and practice will make you a pro when it comes to baby burping.
- Baby having hiccups-Burping actually helps prevent hiccups. Although not really harmful, they can worry you sometimes. You can avoid hiccups by making sure that you burp your baby after every feeding. This will reduce the air in his stomach, which may be pushed to the diaphragm and actually cause a spasm. If your baby starts to hiccup in the middle of feeding, stop and burp him so that air can be released from his stomach.
- Colicky baby-Colic is one of the most dreaded events for a new parent because the crying doesn’t seem to stop. Colic usually resolves when your baby feels relieved after passing gas or having a bowel movement. Burping is a sure way to expel gas from your baby’s tummy, so make it a routine to burp your baby along with using other home remedies for colic issues.
- Baby is hard to burp-Is your baby hard to burp? Try the different positions and make sure to burp your newborn when he is calm rather than when he’s having a crying fit. You can also try rubbing instead of patting your baby’s back with a little pressure. By the way, did you know that sometimes your baby doesn’t need to burp at all?
How long should you burp your baby?
The length of time differs although, in most cases, you can hear your baby burp within 1 or 2 minutes. Sometimes, your baby burps the moment you put him in an upright position, but there are times when burping seems to take longer than usual.
For breastfed babies, burping is recommended when you switch breasts because you can’t really tell how much milk your baby has consumed in the first place. On the other hand, bottle-fed babies need to be burped when they are halfway through the bottle. There are also recommendations for burping after every 2-3 ounces of milk for a newborn.
Burping in the middle of feeding and right after it will ensure that the air in your baby’s tummy is reduced. This will give him comfort and also allow you to catch up with your chores or even grab some sleep.
When can I stop burping my baby?
Generally, you can stop burping your baby by the time he is 4-6 months old. The age varies because this depends on your child’s development. When to stop burping your baby also depends on factors such as:
- Your feeding preference-Breastfed babies can stop being burped sooner than bottle-fed ones.
- Your baby’s feeding habits-Your baby’s fussiness when he feeds can affect how long you should burp him. When feeding is accompanied by crying, your baby can swallow much more air than a calm baby. Gassy babies also need to be burped longer.
- Your baby’s motor development-If your baby can sit up and has good motor skills, you will probably stop burping him sooner.
When it comes to burping your baby, follow your parenting intuition. More often than not, you are on the right track. Just be sure to communicate regularly with your baby’s pediatrician and contact him for accurate medical advice.