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If your baby is under the weather, they may have a hard time releasing trapped air after they eat, which can make them feel more uncomfortable.
Try feeding your baby frequently, but remember to burp them during the session.
Gently rubbing and patting your baby’s back can release trapped gas that’s causing nausea or tummy trouble.
Then, keep your baby close and upright so they feel calm and secure.
Trying Comfortable Burping Techniques
Hold your baby over your shoulder to make them feel close to you.
Bring the baby’s chest against your upper chest so their chin rests on your shoulder.
Use your other hand to support the baby’s bottom.
Then, rub and pat your baby’s back for up to 1 minute or until you hear a burp.
This classic burping position is great for small babies that don’t have much upper body control.
Some babies enjoy it if you walk around slowly while in this position.
Try to burp older babies while they sit on your lap.
If your baby has good upper body control, set them on your lap so they’re facing away from you.
Bring 1 arm in front of your baby and lean them forward slightly so they’re resting on your arm.
Then, use the palm of your other hand to gently rub and pat their back.
Consider tucking a burp cloth into the top of your baby’s shirt like a bib.
This will catch any spit up.
Ensure that you’re not applying pressure to the baby’s throat as you support them.
Consider placing your baby over your knees if the other positions don't work.
If your baby is unwell, it might be difficult for them to release any trapped air.
If your baby hasn’t burped, try laying the baby across your lap so their face is pointing down.
Use your hand to support the baby’s chin and rub their back with the other hand.
If your baby seems uncomfortable in this position, switch back to a different position.
Your baby might not like the pressure on their stomach.
Keep your baby upright after feeding.
If your baby has an upset stomach, avoid laying them down once you’ve finished feeding and burping them.
Instead, hold the baby upright for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from choking on spit up or vomit.
Sitting in an upright position will also help them digest food and will prevent stomach acid from flowing up into the esophagus.
Give your baby smaller feedings.
Your sick baby may not want to eat as much, but if their appetite hasn’t changed, avoid feeding them as much as they normally eat.
Feeding smaller, more frequent meals is gentler on their sensitive stomachs and they’ll be less likely to vomit it up.
To help you monitor your baby’s illness, you might want to write down when you feed the baby and about how much they ate or how long they nursed.
Then, make a note if they keep it down or vomit shortly after.
Burp your sick baby 2 to 3 times during each feeding session.
Watch for when your baby pauses during a feed and use the opportunity to burp them.
Try to do this 2 to 3 times while they eat and spend less than 1 minute burping, stopping even if they haven’t burped.
If your baby hasn’t burped after you’ve tried burping them for 1 minute, they probably don’t have trapped gas to release so let them go back to feeding.
Avoid swinging or jiggling your baby.
Your sick baby might not enjoy the sensation of movement, which can make them feel nauseous.
Instead of swinging or bouncing your baby, cradle them in your arms and hold them steady.
Cuddling your sick baby can reassure them and make them feel more comfortable.
Give your baby a massage or bath to relax them.
If your sick baby seems gassy and unable to burp, put them into a baby bathtub that’s half full of warm water.
After the bath, dry your baby and lay them on their back. Then, use lotioned hands to gently rub across their tummy in a clockwise direction.
The warm bath can relax their stomach muscles and the massage can release trapped air so the baby burps.
Adjust your baby's bottle to prevent them from swallowing air.
If your baby swallows a lot of air during a feeding session, they may become gassy or have to burp a lot.
To reduce discomfort, consider buying anti-colic bottles that are designed to make it easier for your baby to suck without swallowing a lot of air.
You can also check the baby bottle nipples to ensure that milk isn’t flowing too quickly, which can cause your baby to choke.
Getting Medical Attention
Recognize the difference between spitting up and vomiting.
It’s common for babies to spit up after eating, especially if they’re very young.
If your baby is spitting up, they won’t look uncomfortable, agitated, or cry.
If your baby is vomiting, the vomit may look forceful and painful.
Your baby will appear upset and they may also have diarrhea.
Spitting up happens regularly for some babies after they eat, but vomiting could happen any time of day.
Look for crying, choking, and signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
In very rare cases, babies can develop GERD, which makes it difficult to eat and gain weight.
Your baby may have GERD if they choke on spit up and aren’t gaining weight.
They will probably cry as they eat because the heartburn makes them uncomfortable.
Eating too much during a feeding session can make GERD symptoms worse.
This is why it’s important to feed your baby smaller meals.
Schedule a doctor appointment if you suspect your baby has GERD.
Contact your baby’s pediatrician if your baby has signs of GERD.
You should also talk with the doctor if the spitting up is getting worse, your baby cries inconsolably, or your baby doesn’t seem to be recovering from their sickness.
Get emergency medical care if you think your baby needs urgent attention.
Don’t hesitate to take your baby to urgent care if you see blood or green bile in the spit up.
You should also get emergency attention if your baby chokes on spit up and turns blue or goes limp.
If your baby is less than 1 month old, take them to the doctor if you suspect anything is wrong.
If your baby is less than 12 weeks old and they’ve been spitting up but it changes to forceful vomiting, get immediate medical care.
Follow the doctor's treatment plan for your baby.
Depending on their age and what’s causing the sickness, your doctor may recommend monitoring the baby in the hospital or will send you home with medication for treating reflux.
Since dehydration is a concern with sick babies, you’ll probably need to feed the baby smaller meals more frequently.
Severe GERD can be treated with a medication that prevents the stomach from producing as much acid.