Like most things you start for the first time, burping your baby may take a little practice.
It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous when you burp your little one. But rest assured it becomes very easy once you get the hang of it. Even if you find burping your baby difficult at first, keep trying and don’t be too hard on yourself. Many other mothers feel unsure about burping their babies in the beginning.
Why should you burp your baby?
When your little one feeds they suck in air at the same time. Sometimes the air they swallow when feeding can cause them to feel uncomfortable.
Try burping your baby when they’re feeding. This can help to prevent wind working its way lower down in their digestive tract and causing discomfort.
However you choose to feed your baby, it’s a good idea to at least attempt to burp your baby. However, remember that every baby and every feed will be different. Some babies need to be burped every time they feed while others might not need burping at all.
When is the best time to burp your baby?
Your best guide is your baby. The best time to burp your little one is when they appear uncomfortable. As the days go by you’ll start to recognise when they have wind.
Some signs that may indicate your baby has wind include:
- A change in their sucking pattern
- Squirming or wriggling
- Stretching out their arms or legs
- Crying or becoming unsettled
If your baby is calm or happy to keep feeding, then they may not have any trapped air and might not need to be burped.
However, in general babies need to be burped midway through a feed and again when they have finished.
How to burp your baby in 3 easy steps
There are a number of different ways you can burp your baby. The best technique is the one that works best for you and your little one. When you’re starting out, don’t be afraid to try a few different ways.
When it’s time for burping, follow these three simple steps:
1. Choose a comfortable position for you and your baby. Hold your baby either:
a. Against your chest, so their chin is resting on your shoulder,
b. Sit your baby on your lap or knee and support their head and jaw with your hand, or
c. Lay them belly-down on your lap and support their head so it is higher than their chest.
2. Use an absorbent cloth to protect yourself and catch any milky spills. Some milk may come up when they burp, which can get a bit messy.
3. Gently rub or pat your baby’s back. If your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes, don’t feel you need to keep going. They may not always have trapped wind.
Colic and what to do if you have trouble burping your baby
Sometimes your baby may have trouble releasing trapped air. This could cause them to cry which can become distressing.
It’s important to remember that all newborns cry. Some cry more than others and some will go through a period of excessive crying, also commonly called colic. No one knows exactly what causes colic and there aren’t any specific tests for it.
Although it could be upsetting to see your baby crying, it’s important to know that colic won’t harm your baby. Most babies grow out of colic between three and five months of age.
There may be times when your baby’s crying is difficult to tolerate. Don’t feel alone, this is very normal. There are many things you can try to help soothe your little one, including:
- Try to remain calm in the moment. Having a level and clear mind is always your best asset.
- Check your baby’s nappy . A clean nappy can often do the trick.
- Use a common ‘colic hold’. Cradle your baby on their belly in your arms and gently swing them from side to side or walk around the room.
- Massage your baby’s belly in a gentle clockwise direction. This may help to move any trapped air along their digestive tract.
- Go for a walk. The movement of the pram and some fresh air can do wonders – for you both.
Do you need to burp your sleeping baby?
Sometimes your baby will fall asleep during a feed. If they seem content, it’s not crucial that you burp them right away.
Just place your baby down for a sleep as you normally do. If they are unsettled or don’t want to sleep for as long try burping them again.
Last Published* November, 2021
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.