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Best Burping Techniques For Newborns

Written by Dr. Jatin Bhide on Thu, 01 December 2022 — Fact checked by Dr. Burtseva Tamara Viktorivna

Key Highlights

  • A newborn or infant experiences various digestive discomforts.
  • Gas formation is common in babies.
  • Burping is a simple way to relieve the gas
  • There are various burping techniques that parents can adopt. are followed by parents.
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Burping is one of the most important parts of a baby’s feeding routine, especially for newborns and infants. Babies cannot burp on their own so, it is important for the parents to learn how to burp a newborn baby.

There are a few techniques you can employ for newborn burping. This article will tell you how to burp newborn, newborn burping techniques, and newborn burping positions. There are many different burping techniques for newborns. The best burping techniques for newborns involves the time after their meals. This ensures that the gas formed after eating is released in a safe manner.

Good burping techniques for newborns are also about knowing the right time to burp. Read on to know more.

Common forms of discomfort faced by infants

  • Being gassy: When there is more gas formation in the infant’s body
  • Colic: When a healthy baby cries inconsolably due to various factors like gases, stomach reflux, food allergies, etc.
  • Diaper rash: It is a rash in the diaper area of the infant due to excess moisture resulting from long periods of contact of urine or stool with the skin which further cause bacterial or yeast infections.
  • Spitting up: During the first three months of life, many babies experience their stomach contents coming back up into the esophagus, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux, infant reflux, or infant acid reflux. It differs from vomiting in the way that the reflux contents flow up easily as compared to the forceful flow in vomiting.
  • Hiccups: These are common in babies and are caused due to irritation in the diaphragm at the base of the lungs.

What causes gas in infants

As newborn babies and infants develop their digestive system and the gut microbiota, gas formation occurs as a normal response.

What causes gas in infants

Various factors may contribute to gas formation in infants and newborns which include:

  • Mother’s diet during breastfeeding
  • Digestion of lipids from the breast milk or formula milk
  • Poor latching on the breast or nipple
  • Swallowing air during feeding or crying

Burping

Burping is the release of gas from the upper digestive tract (esophagus and stomach). Babies (mostly newborns and infants) tend to swallow air when they are feeding or when they are crying.

This forms air bubbles in their tummy, which may become gas that gets trapped and causes discomfort and pain. Burping helps to relieve this trapped gas and comfort the newborns and infants.

It also helps prevent spitting up and stops the hiccups of the baby. It helps to prevent the build-up of air in your baby’s body.

How to know when to burp your baby

Babies generally show distinct signs of trapped gas which can signal you to burp them. These include:

  • Crying
  • Arched back
  • Drawing legs into the tummy
  • Clenching the fists

How many times should you burp your baby

There are no rules on burping a baby. However, since it does ease some of the discomfort and pain associated with trapped gases in the baby’s tummy, it seems beneficial to burp the baby.

Burping is usually done after the baby has finished his meal or during the meal. If your baby seems to be fussy during his feeding, stop feeding, burp the baby, and feed again. Try burping your baby after every two to three ounces of milk, if he is bottle-fed, or each time you switch breasts while breastfeeding. This has been recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics.

Further, try burping your baby every ounce during bottle-feeding or every five minutes during breastfeeding, if your baby:

  • Tends to be gassy
  • Spits a lot
  • Has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Seems fussy during feeding

What happens if you don’t burp your newborn or infant

If the baby does not seem too fussy during feeding and if he does not show signs of discomfort like those representing trapped gases, you may need not burp him.

However, if the baby shows signs of discomfort during feeding and is unable to release gases, it is better to burp him. Not being burped often and swallowing too much air can make a baby spit up or seem cranky or gassy.

What if your baby is unable to burp even after you try

If your baby doesn't burp after a few minutes, change the baby's position and try burping for another few minutes before feeding again. You may massage his belly and move his legs to help move the trapped gas.

Techniques to help burp your newborn or infant

Knowing how to burp your baby is one of the best things new parents can learn.

When burping your newborn or infant, pat their backs gently and repeatedly to gain maximum benefit from burping.

Cup your hand while patting since it is gentler than a flat palm. Place a napkin or a bib under the infant’s chin or your shoulder to prevent cleaning the mess that may result from a wet burp.

Try different positions for burping that are comfortable for you and your baby. Some of the best burping techniques for newborns are easy to do and comfortable for you and your baby.

Techniques to help burp your newborn

Here are some good burping techniques for newborns:

  • Over the shoulder: Hold your baby upright with the head resting on your shoulder. Pat the back with your other hand.
  • Sitting on your lap: Sit your baby on your lap supporting the chin and chest with one hand. Rub or pat the back with your other hand.
  • Lying across your lap: Rest your baby face down, on your lap, and gently rub or pat the back.
  • Sitting upright and holding your baby against your chest: Your baby's chin should rest on your shoulder as you support the baby with one hand. With the other hand, gently pat your baby's back. Sitting in a rocking chair and gently rocking your baby while you do this may also help.

The best burping technique for newborns will generally differ for babies and parents. Use the method that works best for you.

Things to Remember When Burping a Baby

  • Burping is beneficial for a newborn baby or an infant but it is not mandatory.
  • Not all babies will burp. Try burping the baby after a few minutes from the first burping attempt.
  • Do not force your baby to burp, let him burp naturally.
  • Since burping may cause the baby to spit up, always place a napkin under the baby’s chin or on your lap or shoulder to avoid a messy cleanup.

Conclusion

Burping is a handy method to relieve your baby from the trapped gas. It also prevents the build-up of gases and is preferred to be adopted by many new parents. Not much research is available to show the efficacy of burping.

Breastfed babies generally burp less because they swallow less air. By the time your newborn is four to six months old, he will surpass the need to be burped. Parents, especially mothers, can often tell that a baby needs to be burped if he or he is squirmy or pulling away while being fed. As parents, it is up to you to monitor your newborn and decide based on the signs of discomfort or gases during and after feeding if he needs to be burped or you may skip burping.

Keep in mind the good burping techniques for newborns mentioned above. But remember that the best burping techniques for newborns are the ones that suit you and your baby. We hope that the article answered most of your queries about how to burp a newborn, along with different burping techniques for newborns.

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Dr. Jatin Bhide

Dr Jatin Bhide is an Ayurvedic doctor with over 16 years of enriching experience in Marketing and Strategy across OTC/FMHG, herbal medicine and Nutraceuticals (Europe) industries. He did his Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Mumbai University, before moving on to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Management.

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