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As parents burping is one of those crucial things that we need to learn along with changing a diaper. But it is also something that is never really explained to us or why it matters.
So why do we need to burp babies? Well, when babies eat, they can swallow a lot of air and this gas builds up in their tummies. They need to get rid of this excess gas in the form of burping. This helps to prevent colic and discomfort for your baby.
This excess gas comes from the air that they swallow during feeding as we said above. But it also comes from the natural gas that is created during digestion.
This gas or air can build up in your baby’s stomach and make them feel full and also cause them a great deal of discomfort. And this discomfort can cause a great deal of unhappiness and crying in your little one – and no parent wants that!
This is why it has been recommended that babies are burped for decades during and after feedings.
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Best Ways To Burp A Baby
There are many different ways to burp a baby but we are going to show you the three most popular techniques used.
This is the most commonly used technique. Place baby over your shoulder while patting or rubbing their back to expel any trapped air. Ensure that you have a protective layer such as a burp cloth.
There is a slight change in technique depending on who is doing the burping. If mom is doing the burping, lay the baby so that their tummy is on your breast.
This adds a padded layer of pressure into your baby’s tummy that can help to expel that troublesome air. If dad is doing the burping then raise the baby up a little higher so that their tummy is on your shoulder for the same reason.
Whoever is doing the burping just ensure that you do not bounce them as you burp them.
2. Face-down on Lap
Sit on a stable chair or couch with both of your feet flat on the ground. Lay your baby on their tummy across your legs, with one of your legs under their tummy and the other under their head with their head turned to the side.
Ensure that you have a burp cloth down to protect you from any wet burps. Use one hand to secure them and the other to gently pat or rub their back in circular motions.
3. Sitting up
Sit your baby in an upright position on your lap, lean them forward slightly and use one hand to support their head and chest and the other hand to rub or pat their back.
You can also gentle rock your baby back and forth while supporting their head and chest with one hand and their back with the other.
When To Burp Baby
As you become familiar with your baby you will begin to recognize the signs that they need burping. But if you are in any doubt there are a few simple rules to follow.
For those breastfed babies, a good time to burp them is when you are switching from one breast to the other.
If your baby usually only feeds from one breast during a feed, burp them during the usual halfway point. So if you know that your baby usually feeds for around 20 minutes a session, burp them at around the 10-minute mark.
When you burp during a bottle feeding is going to very much depend on the type of bottle that you are using.
If you are using one of the anti-colic bottles such as Dr. Brown’s or Comotomo, then it doesn’t need to be very often. If you are using a non-vented bottle then you will need to burp them after every 2-3 ounces consumed.
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No matter if you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding after feeding burping is critical. Try not to wait until your baby is just about to fall asleep, they will not appreciate being rudely awakened by a burping session.
Once you notice that your baby starts to slow down, or is not actively sucking, gentle bring them to whichever burping position you are using.
How Long Should I Burp Baby For?
This should not be something that takes you a very long time.
If after a minute or so of burping them they do not burp, they probably don’t need any additional help. But sometimes it can take a little time for the air to work its way to the top of the stomach.
But if you notice that your baby is wriggling around and generally not looking very happy then you can always give it another try.
You could always try to give him upright for a little while after he has fed as this will help nature take its own course. This is not going to work if they are going for a nap.
As Baby Gets Older – What Changes?
The way in which babies digest their food doesn’t really change much at all. Digestion will always produce gas, and so will drinking out of a bottle.
But other things do change as your baby goes from newborn to baby and this is when it may be time to stop burping them. The first thing that happens is that your baby starts moving around.
This increase in motor control plays a huge role in whether or not babies can move themselves into a more comfortable position and even burp themselves.
This usually happens around 4-6 months of age, when your baby will be sitting up on their own.
When you have a newborn they have an extremely sensitive digestive system. But as they grow older, their stomachs get a little tougher and are able to handle things a little better.
Around 6 months old your baby will be ready to start weaning and once they are ready for this their digestive system is much less likely to be bothered by a few gas bubbles from milk.
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When Do I Stop Burping My Baby?
The quick and simple answer is that it depends!
Most experts will tell you that your baby should no longer need burping around 4-9 months. But there are a few factors that this is dependant on:
- How mobile your baby is – if they are less mobile you may need to burp them longer.
- Breastfed babies usually stop needing to be burped sooner than bottle-fed babies.
- If your baby is a happy little muncher who has little to no fussiness then you can probably stop burping sooner.
So as with everything about babies, they will do it in their own time and not to anyone else’s schedule!
Is it ok to put the baby to sleep without burping?
It is fine not to burp a baby if that is what works for them. Every baby is different and has different needs. Some go to sleep without burping and sleep with no problems, while others won’t sleep comfortably unless they have been burped properly.
Do I need to burp my 7 months old?
It is recommended that you burp your baby during feeding breaks and when they have finished feeding. If you are breastfeeding you could try burping before you switch breasts.
For bottle-fed babies, it is advised that you burp them every 2-3 ounces from newborn up to around 6 months old.
Is one burp enough for a newborn?
Any burp is enough as long as it eliminates the air that your baby has sucked in while feeding. So whether that is one big burp or lots of little burps it really doesn’t matter as long as it has done the job.
The Final Thought
There is no one answer that fits all to this question and you should follow your baby’s lead. They will let you know when they no longer need your help to get rid of that excess gas.
If you feel that your baby is ready to give up the burping you could always try a few feeds where you do not burp them and see how it goes – if it doesn’t work then you just go back to burping them, no harm done.