Feeding a baby for the first time is an exciting experience for
. It can also be a little intimidating, especially if you don't
know what to expect. So here's a quick guide to one important
aspect of feeding - burping.
Burping helps to get rid of some of the air that babies tend to
. If babies aren't burped frequently, too much swallowed air
can lead to spitting up, crankiness, and gassiness in some babies.
While babies with
- 3 or more hours a day of continued crying - may have gas, doctors
are not sure what causes colic. A colicky baby can develop gas by
swallowing too much air during crying spells, which can make the
baby even more uncomfortable. Using antigas drops has
proven to be an effective way to treat colic or gas.
How to Burp Your Baby
When burping your baby, repeated gentle patting on your
baby's back should do the trick - there's no need to pound
hard on your baby's back. To prevent messy cleanups when your
baby spits up or has a "wet burp," you might want to
place a towel or bib under your baby's chin or on your
You may also want to experiment with different positions for
burping that are comfortable for you and your baby. Many parents
prefer to use one of these three methods:
Sit upright and hold your baby against your
Your baby's chin should rest on your shoulder as you support
his or her head and back with one hand. With the other hand,
gently pat your baby's back. Sitting in a rocking chair and
gently rocking with your baby while you do this may also
Hold your baby sitting up, in your lap or across your
Support your baby's chest and head with one hand by cradling
your baby's chin in the palm of your hand and resting the
heel of your hand on your baby's chest (but be careful to
grip your baby's chin - not throat). Use the other hand to
pat your baby's back gently.
Lay your baby on your lap on his or her belly.
Support your baby's head and make sure it's higher than
his or her chest. Gently pat your baby's back.
If your baby seems fussy while feeding, stop the session, burp
your baby, and then begin feeding again. Try burping your baby
every 2 to 3 ounces (60 to 90 milliliters) if you bottle-feed and
each time you switch breasts if you
. If your baby tends to be gassy, has
, or seems fussy during feeding, try burping your baby every ounce
during bottle-feeding or every 5 minutes during breastfeeding. If
your baby doesn't burp after a few minutes, change the baby's
position and try burping for another few minutes before feeding
again. Always burp your baby when feeding time is over.
For the first 6 months or so, keep your baby in an upright
position for 10 to 15 minutes (or longer if your baby has
gastroesophageal reflux) after feeding to help prevent the milk
from coming back up. But don't worry if your baby spits up a
few times. It's probably more unpleasant for you than it is for
Sometimes your baby may awaken because of gas - simply picking
your little one up to burp might put him or her back to sleep. As
your baby gets older, you shouldn't worry if your child
doesn't burp during or after every feeding. Usually, it just
means that your baby has learned to eat without swallowing excess
Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: July 2007
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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