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How to Burp a Newborn.
Newborns are notoriously inefficient eaters and ingest large amounts of air when they are nursing.
Although breastfeeding your baby may reduce the need for burping, many infants still need help relieving excess gas after they eat.
In order to help your baby feel better, it is important to know when to burp your baby, the various ways to burp them, and how to aid their digestion.
Hold the baby against your chest or shoulder.
Let your baby’s chin rest on your shoulder while you support them with one hand and burp them with the other.
Gently pat or rub the baby’s back.
Sit upright or stand while you burp the baby in this position.
You can also try rocking in a chair.
Be sure to cover your back and shoulder with a cloth to avoid getting spit up on your clothes.
Let your shoulder press slightly into the baby’s stomach.
Place the baby against your chest and shoulder, but high enough up that your shoulder presses slightly into their stomach.
This should help coax out any gas in their stomach.
Gently rub their back with one hand and hold them with the other.
Check to make sure that your baby is not slumped over too far and still able to breathe properly.
This position may work better when they are at least four months old and have more head and neck control.
Put a cloth on your shoulder and back to avoid getting spit up all over your clothes.
Burp them sitting up.
Position your baby so that they are sitting on your lap or your knee facing away from you
Cradle your baby’s chin in the palm of one hand and rest the heel of that hand on the baby’s chest.
With your other hand, pat the baby’s back gently until you get a burp.
Check the position of your hand.
Make sure you are not holding the throat or making it hard for your baby to breathe.
This position may work better once your baby is around four months old and has better head and neck control.
Put a cloth on your baby and in your lap to avoid getting spit up everywhere.
Lay your newborn on their stomach.
Put the baby face down on your lap and make sure that they are perpendicular with your body.
Support their chin with one hand and gently pat their back with the other.
Keep the baby’s head higher than the rest of their body so blood does not rush to their head.
Flex the baby’s knees up to their chest.
If you baby is fussy, they may also need to pass gas from their bottom.
In order to help them with this, lay the baby on their back and slowly flex their knees up to their chest.
This will help them work gas out of both ends, but particularly the bottom.
If you are not having success with one position, try another.
Because of your baby’s anatomy, they may respond better to one method than another.
Also, as they grow, the baby’s body will change and you may find that the method you have been using no longer works and you need to try a new one.
Luckily, most babies grow out of needing to be burped after 4 to 6 months.
Knowing When to Burp
Give a few pats during the feeding.
Because babies swallow so much during a feeding, it is important to burp them midway.
This will help them expel gas that has built up in their esophagus.
It will also help them eat better and keep them from getting fussy later.
However, if your baby seems comfortable and happy, keep nursing.
For bottle feedings, burp the baby every 2 to 3 oz. (60 to 90 mL).
Burp breastfed babies every time you switch the baby from one breast to another.
In general, try burping your baby every 15 to 20 minutes
Stop and burp your baby when they get fussy
If your baby starts to cry or refuses to eat, a burp might be required.
Regularly burping your baby during feedings should prevent fussiness, but each baby eats at their own pace and you might have to wait for your baby to let you know that they need some relief.
If your baby cries when your interrupt their feeding, you should allow them to keep nursing.
Crying babies ingest air, which can make them more uncomfortable.
Burp your newborn at the end of the feeding.
Most babies will need a little pat at the end of a feeding.
They have usually ingested about 6 oz (180 mL) of breastmilk or formula, as well as a lot of air.
You should burp your baby after a meal even if they do not seem fussy.
This will help them release any gas that may build up later.
If your baby has not burped for four minutes after feeding, you may need to burp them.
Your baby should no longer need burping once they are 4 to 6 months old.
Burp a fussy baby in the night.
If your baby is fussy during the night, but uninterested in eating, they may be a gassy.
Picking them up and helping them burp might make them feel better.
Help relieve the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
This disease occurs when a baby’s esophageal sphincter is weak or not working properly, allowing stomach juices to flow back up into their mouths.
This can be painful and uncomfortable, causing your baby to be fussy.
Regularly burping your baby can help reduce the symptoms of GERD.
If your baby suffers from GERD, try burping them whenever they become fussy.
Talk to your doctor if your baby’s symptoms are causing them to be uncomfortable, to not want to eat, or to spit up a lot.
Aiding the Baby’s Digestion
Position the baby properly.
One of the keys to preventing babies from ingesting too much air while feeding is to position them so that they get a tight seal when they latch-on.
Try to sit the baby upright and feed them at roughly a 45 degree angle or greater.
You should also support the weight of the breast and let the baby wrap around you instead of dangling away from the breast.
This will help ensure a tight seal and minimize the baby’s intake of air.
Breastfeed the baby if you can.
Infants who are breastfeed have fewer problems with burping.
This is due in large part to fact that they can control the flow of milk, which allows them to better coordinate breathing and swallowing.
Bottles have a faster milk flow that babies are unable to control, forcing them to swallow air between quick gulps.
Try different bottles and nipples if possible. Some bottles have an angled shape or a bag inside to reduce the amount of air that your baby swallows.
Different nipples can also reduce air intake.
You can also try smaller nipple hole sizes to slow down the milk flow if your baby seems to drink too quickly.
Stop feeding if your baby is fussy.
If you are nursing your child and they get fussy, it may be better to stop the feeding than to continue.
Letting your baby fuss and nurse will cause them to ingest more air, which will only make them more uncomfortable.
Your baby might also spit up if they get too much air.
Listen to your baby
Some babies will need to be burped regardless of what you do.
They may be fast feeders and gulp lots of air, or the mother’s milk flow may be too fast for the baby to control.
It is therefore important to pay attention to what your baby is doing.
If they are fussy, take a break from feeding and give them a burp.
However, if they are not fussy, it may be better to continue on with your feeding.
If your baby is chronically fussy, they may be suffering from GERD or colic.
Be sure to consult with your pediatrician if you believe that your baby suffers from either issue.
Spitting up is normal for most babies, and not usually a cause for concern.
However, if you believe that your baby is spitting up more than normal or seems to be more uncomfortable or eating less, be sure to contact your pediatrician.