Being a parent is one hell of a task that requires mommies and daddies to focus on infinite baby related issues that somehow seem to manifest all at once. Right from bathing a newborn, to feeding it, to even burping it, everything that you might have considered trivial or inconsequential becomes a cause of concern. Although it’s not a thing to fear if your baby spits up while being fed, it’s definitely a thing to be taken care of as it’s related to a whole lot of other things that can get you fretting and sweating over your baby’s well being. While feeding, babies tend to swallow in some air that makes their little tummies uncomfortable. Small as they are, the job to let out air on their own is a little too troublesome for them and they need external help to get them through. However, in the midst of all the things and know-how on sticking to important tasks, this one, the most basic of them all, takes a backseat while parents try to figure out why their babies aren’t attending well to the milk even when it’s been quite a while since they were last fed. The answer is it may just be gas. However, just as we have said before, there is nothing that can be trivial or inconsequential when it comes to babies so you need to make the baby burp to make it feel better. Perplexed!! Relax, nothing to worry about, just follow some tips and tricks and you will soon get a hang of it.
What happens if baby doesn't burp? (Is burping my baby really important?)
It is easier for adults and kids to release their own gas, but when it comes to your newborn, it is too small to do it on its own. With every feed your baby usually swallows a little air and those air bubbles trapped inside his stomach might make him uncomfortable. So burping your baby becomes one of the tasks of the caregiver or parents besides many others till the time the baby grows and becomes more self-sufficient and is able to release its gas on its own. Babies have little control over how to position their bodies and thus, they need help to release gas or to avoid spit-up.
However, if you find that your baby spits-up frequently or has a lot of gas, you should consult your doctor regarding reflux. Make sure that you try to burp your baby after every feed and especially after the night feed; it may help you and your baby get a comfortable stretch of sleep at night.
How long do I burp a newborn?
Burping a baby usually takes a minute. There can be times when as soon as you move your little one upright, it might burp. Other times you might have to gently rub or pat the tummy or back to help your baby with a burp.
However, consult your doctor if you find that your baby is often uncomfortable and stiff. There can be times when babies with bad reflux might need to stay upright for as long as thirty minutes after eating.
Is it OK to put baby to sleep without burping?
Each baby is different from the other. Some babies usually swallow air while they feed and some do not swallow much air. For those who don’t, they might not need burping frequently. Some babies pass enough gas and thus, they also do not need to be burped frequently. In few days you will be able decide if, when and how your baby needs burping.
For those babies who need burping after every feed, sometimes the burp might not come in easily even when you try hard. You may lay you tiny tot or try changing position which may help them to burp. Still if you are unable to get one, relax, you may try it after the next feed.
Positions to Burp a Baby
Take a cloth or a towel and place it on that side of your shoulder on which you plan to rest your baby’s head. Now hold your baby upright, tightly with one hand, and rest its chin on your shoulder. Using the other hand, gently pat and massage over baby’s back to force the gas trapped in its stomach to come out. While doing this, it is better if you walk around or sit on a rocking chair, as the same would speed up the burping process.
Sit Up Burp
Make the baby sit on your lap while firmly supporting its body, chest and head straight. Now pat and rub the baby’s back with your other hand for about 15-20 seconds. Repeat the process for until you make your baby burp. Again repeat the patting and rubbing until the baby totally gives up on the burping. This is the best way to force out stubborn baby gases that simply refuse to give away.
Take a pillow and place it on your lap. Cover it with a blanket to ensure that if it’s a semi liquid burp, the pillow doesn’t get ruined. Now tummy facing down, place the baby down on it. Once again, gently pat the baby on the back or massage with soft hands. Doing it for a few a minute or so is good enough to induce a burp out of baby’s gaseous tummy.
In-between Feed Burps
Sometimes the babies eat just fine, but then all of a sudden, they start to throw tantrums and pull away from the food. Food not tasting good may be one reason but mostly, it is because of the gas that babies deviate from food. If you sense so, stop feeding your baby at that very moment, lest it throws the food all over. If the baby is being breastfed, switching over generally allows the baby to let out a burp. If eating solid or semi solid food, the shoulder burp or the sit up burp can used to let the baby let out stuck up gas.
After Feed Burps
Walking aids in digestion after meals; it’s a well known fact. Infants can’t walk: it’s another well known fact that makes it all the more important to aid them in digestion. Many infants are prone to gastro oesophageal reflux (GERD) that prevents milk from coming back up and need a way to release the built up gas after every time they’ve been fed. Rubbing the baby’s belly or stroking the back will relieve it from gas.
Tips for burping a baby
- Do not worry if your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes of being fed. Also, not all babies burps after every single feeding.
- Do not force your baby to burp when it’s still in the middle of feeding session. Wait for the baby to pull away and then make it burp.
- Do not make the baby burp if it’s crying.
- If one position doesn’t make the baby burp, then try changing the position rather than stopping altogether.
- If the baby spits up too often during feeding, try to make it burp every five minutes during feeding.
What are the signs that suggest my baby needs to burp?
- If your baby stops feeding, there are chances that your baby is full but it is also a sign that she might need to burp.
- If your little one wriggles or squirms while feeding, that may be a sign your little one needs a break from the meal and wants you to help it burp.
- There can be times when your baby might just wake up from sleep because it needs to burp. So if your baby wakes up from sleep and your find her uneasy, try to help her burp before offering her milk.
- If your baby is in pain, it might scrunch its knees. This can be a sign that your baby is gassy or needs to burp to release the gas.
- If you find your baby making faces, frowning or is grumpy when your offer her milk, she might want to say “ease the gas first momma and feed me latter.”
- If your baby spits-up, one reason could be that your baby might need to burp after every meal. However, if spit-ups occur frequently, you should meet your doctor.
When can I stop burping a baby?
Generally, when your baby turns 4 to 6 months old, you can stop burping your baby. But there is no thumb rule to it, because every baby is different and so are their needs. Depending on your baby’s needs, you may decide when to stop burping your baby. I burped my elder baby till she turned 11 months old while I stopped burping my younger one after 5 months. So it usually depends on your baby and her needs.
However, it is advised that newborn babies should be burped after every feed be it bottle or breast feeding.
What to do if burping doesn't seem enough?
Sometimes ever burping your baby may not help in reliving the discomfort that your baby has. There are other methods to release gas that you may try if burping doesn’t help your baby in releasing the gas.
Massaging the baby
Though there is little scientific research to back this, it is said that massaging your baby can help your tiny tot with constipation and gas. There is no harm in giving it a shot.
Bicycle your baby’s legs
Gas can be worked out if you lay your baby on their back and try pedalling their legs like a bicycle. You never know, if your tiny tot is working on pushing the poop out, this might just help in releasing the gas and the poop both!
Changing the bottle and nipples
If your baby is on formula, changing the size of the nipple might help. Sometimes the size of the nipple can be the reason of extra air being swallowed in while feeding. A size up or down might just bring in the required comfort.
Switching the brand of the bottle might help as some brands do focus on air control measures, however, there is not such type of bottle that has proven to be the best at eliminating reflux, lessening spit-up or gas and reducing colic.
Switching up formulas
If your baby is on formula and her stomach hurts quite often you might try switching up formulas. However, you should speak to your paediatrician before you try switching to some other formula or premix. The breastfeeding mothers may consult their doctor about their diet which might be one of the causes of discomfort in your baby after breastfeeding.
Note: Even after your best attempts to alleviate your baby’s gas, your little one seems uncomfortable and in distress, you should visit your doctor which will help you in ruling our any other potential problem that is causing discomfort to your bundle of joy.
As a mother, when I travel back in time, burping my baby looked like a game without clear rules. Sometimes the gas was released even before I got a chance to burp her and other times I used to keep patting my teeny weeny’s back and it seemed like forever. When to burp? How long to burp? When not to burp,? etc, all questions ran my mind, just like yours. However, with each passing day, I got a hang of it, so will you. In few days you will be able to decide when to burp and when not to. As days will go by you will be able determine how frequently your little one needs to be burped and when to stop burping your tiny tot. Till the time you figure it out, just keep trying and keep muslin or burp cloth handy. After all who doesn’t aim for a good belch after a hearty meal! Wink Wink.