Burping is important! It’s often the best thing you can do if your baby is experiencing a lot of spit up, is fussy, isn’t getting full feedings, or is struggling to settle in their crib. But, should you be burping a sleeping baby? What burping techniques are the best for newborns? Does burping help GERD? We’re answering these questions and more.
Why Do Babies Need To Be Burped?
When you feed your baby – breastfeeding or bottle feeding – they take in air as well as milk. This can cause them to feel full before they’ve had a full feeding. This air needs to be released via burping.
Another reason for burping your baby is gas. Gas can get trapped in your little one’s gastrointestinal system causing discomfort. By coaxing out a burp, the gas can move up the esophagus and out of their system.
Burping Methods For Newborns
Here at Baby Settler, we suggest parents burp babies before, during, and after each feeding.
Burping your little one before a feed will help prepare them for a full feeding by waking them and releasing any air they may have sucked in while crying.
Burping in the middle of feeding will keep your baby awake and engaged during the feeding, which will promote an effective feed. For breastfeeding mamas, you can burp your little one before switching breasts. For bottle feedings mamas, burp them every two to three ounces of milk.
Then, burping after a feeding will help relieve and prevent any tummy discomfort.
What is The Best Position To Burp A Baby?
These are two great positions to try when burping your baby:
- Place your thumb and pointer finger on your baby’s jawline to hold up their chin while they’re sitting upright. It’s important to counter the pressure of your fingers at their jaw with the pressure of your hand on their belly. Then, gently rub or pat their back to bring out a burp.
- You can also do the over-the-shoulder burping method. Simply place your baby over one shoulder, making sure that their stomach is on top of your shoulder, then rub and pat their back.
How Long Should You Burp A Newborn?
There is no specific length of time you need to burp a newborn. It’s more about the number of times your burp your baby – as stated above, before, during, and after a feed.
If you’re struggling to get your baby to burp, lay them on their back on a flat surface for one to two minutes then try burping them again.
A sign that your baby needs to burp more is crying and fussing. For example, if your baby cries after a few minutes in the crib, it may be tummy discomfort. Burp your baby again and then settle them back in their crib.
There are more signs that your baby needs to be burped more often.
What Are Two Signs To Burp Your Baby?
- They spit up frequently
Spit up is totally normal! It’s a small amount of milk or formula is regurgitated due to your baby’s digestive system not being fully developed yet. One of the reasons for spit up is baby swallowing air during feedings, so burping more frequently can help them keep milk down.
- They have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Spit up (along with poor weight gain) might indicate that your baby has GERD. This is when the lining of the esophagus becomes irritated and damaged by all the spit-up. If you think your baby may have GERD, visit your healthcare provider.
To treat GERD, it’s important to burp your baby frequently and to not overfeed them.
Burping Cloths Tips
Keep swaddles on hand for burping your baby. They cover a very large area, and they wash well! You can throw a swaddle over your furniture when you’re burping your little one over your shoulder. When you’re burping them while they’re sitting on you, you can use a swaddle to cover your clothes and furniture.
Is It OK To Put A Baby To Sleep Without Burping?
Often babies fall asleep while they’re feeding, especially during nighttime feeds. So, you might not want to wake them up to burp and instead put them in their crib. This is not recommended. Healthline explains, “Even if your baby falls asleep, try burping them for a few minutes before placing them back down to sleep. Otherwise, they make wake up in pain with trapped gas.”
Burping your newborn is a vital part of their early development and overall well-being. Following proper burping techniques and burping your little one often can lead to more efficient feedings, less spit up, and better sleep.
Navigating life with a newborn can be tricky, mama! That’s why we’ve created a free guide to newborn sleep. With this guide, get the information you need to navigate sleep, fussiness, and crying. Click here to get yours!