Burping your bottle-fed baby can be quite challenging at times. And according to Sally Johnson, a registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, babies should usually burp after eating and not needing burping is a rare occurrence. As a new mom, you might feel concerned about this, but in most cases, it is nothing to worry about. Your baby may need to be burped for a number of reasons, but the most common is that air is being taken in when your bottle-fed baby is feeding. Both bottle fed and breastfed babies should be burped, as trapped air can happen just as easily with both types of feeding.
Usually, if your baby doesn’t burp, there are a few things that can be done to help with burping. In most cases, a shift in the burping position can help. Adjusting the time you are performing the burping action may also help. Let’s get into this a bit more.
The Need To Burp
As mentioned, babies may need to be burped for a number of reasons, although trapped gas due to ingested air is perhaps the most common. Most babies will become cranky if they need to be burped and are unable to. They may cry, get flustered, and stop feeding with the annoying feeling that occurs. As such, it is important for parents to help to ease this gas for babies, especially newborns.
Burping may also take place while the baby is asleep, should they doze off during feeding. In order to burp a baby while asleep, similar steps can be taken as would if your baby was awake. Below we will do a deep dive into a few feeding positions that can be used.
Burp Your Baby at Several Points During Feeding
Most moms will wait until the end of feeding to burp their little ones. However, it may be helpful for you to burp at several different points during feeding, both with breastfeeding and bottle-feeding babies.
It is important to ensure that burping is still done at the end of feeding as well. Added to this, the changing of feeding bottles and even positions may help with burping issues.
There are several bottle feeding positions, although people typically use one. We will discuss various types of feeding options below.
Over the Shoulder
Over the shoulder burping is a common burping style, and many people use it. In this way, you place your baby over your shoulder and gently rub or pat their back. This rubbing or patting motion will help to expel any trapped air. Remember to have a burp cloth handy to catch any spit up or dribbles.
It’s important to note that you should not rock your baby up and down while burping in this position. And, it’s fine to place the baby closer to your breast, chest area, or a bit more toward the shoulders.
Sitting Up on Lap
This position is a simple one that can be used at any time. Many moms find this position more comfortable and it allows them to exercise more control. The position involves sitting the baby on your lap. Baby is sitting on their bottom and leaning forward with support at the chest and chin area. The other free hand should be used to rub or pat baby’s back to help expel any trapped gas. It may be helpful for you to use a bib or burp rag.
Facedown on Lap
Place your knees parallel to the floor while sitting in a comfortable position. Place your baby on their tummy across your lap, positioning your baby comfortably with support under their head and stomach. Following this set-up, you should rub your baby’s back gently to assist with burping.
Change the Bottle
As mentioned, there may be too much air being pulled in by your baby and as such, they may be required to be burped more often. One thing that may help to limit the amount of air being taken in is by changing the baby bottle or just the bottle nipple. This may help, and can even work with the change of position.
Take a Break
If the baby doesn’t burp within five minutes, then you should take a break. Try holding the baby upright for a bit. If you want to try and place your baby back down in their crib or safe sleeping area, this will give the baby a chance to move around and get some of those gas bubbles moving.
After a short break, pick the baby up and attempt to burp once more. If the baby still does not burp, then you may need to sum up that the gas might have already been passed. Either continue to monitor your baby, but know that it is nothing to be too worried about. You may also consider applying some of the general tips for burping which will be discussed below.
General Tips for Burping
So now that we’ve gone through a few ways that you can work through burping issues, we will share a few general tips on burping your baby.
- Remember to be gentle with the baby. When rubbing or patting your baby’s back to expel gas, you want to ensure that you are careful. Use gentle and predictable motions to assist with burping.
- Keep in mind that better results may be seen from burping several times during feeding, most commonly starting with half way through a feeding, as opposed to waiting to burp at the end. By developing this practice you may help to prevent issues with burping. This may also assist with any fussiness that the baby may display.
- As mentioned, a baby burp rag or bib will help you during burping. With a bib, you will protect your wardrobe as well as prevent yourself from needing to change your baby’s outfit due to mess up.
- Extra clothes are always a must with newborns. If your newborn happens to spit up, it will be necessary for you to change their outfit. This is especially important if you are leaving home with the baby for the day.
- Monitor your baby during feeding and be cautious. Although burping is a part of the feeding process you’ll want to ensure that you monitor your baby carefully.
- Keep in mind that the baby may have released gas through another means. Due to this, it is not uncommon for the baby to not need to be burped.
How Long Should I Burp My Baby?
With burping your little one, the action can take the entire feeding session because you will be burping in sections, depending on how old the baby is, it’s hard to narrow down an exact number of ounces that baby should be burped. A best practice according to Johnson is to burp halfway through and at the end. After the feeding is complete, a final burp needs to be done. Following that, babies should remain seated upright for a short amount of time after feeding. This practice will help with digestion.
It is important that this practice is maintained for both night feedings and daytime feedings. It is essential that you burp your baby after each feeding unless it is no longer necessary.
You may also be curious about when burping will no longer be necessary. IT’s hard to pinpoint an exact age, but the trapped air can usually work its way out easier when the baby is able to sit up on its own. At this point, baby’s should have developed self-burping skills and are able to do so on their own as they play or explore their environment.
Using a Baby Feeding Journal
A baby feeding journal will be a really helpful tool to help you navigate your new journey. You will also find it helpful to keep track of your baby’s diet and dietary changes. You may also make notes about anything that comes up such as difficulties burping. This way, you will have a great log for reference if needed. Keeping accurate notes will definitely help you to explain things more accurately for your pediatrician.
Getting your baby to burp is sometimes the goal before allowing the baby to get back to sleep after feeding. However, it is not uncommon for burping to not occur: many moms are then curious as to what to do if the baby doesn’t burp after feeding.
To this, we offer several quick tips that may prove helpful. A few of the aforementioned tips include changing the bottle or feeding nipple, trying various feeding positions, and burping your baby at different points during feeding as opposed to at the end. These are all great options to try.
Keep in mind that the baby may not always need to be burped, especially if gas is passed another way. If any of the solution options seem to prove unhelpful, then perhaps you can make a journal note then run your questions by your pediatrician as a final resource.