Burping happens naturally when you are an adult, and this is why you don’t think about it so much. As an adult, you can even burp on demand. Newborns and babies do not have this privilege to be able to burp when they want to without having little help from an adult. Yes, sometimes the burp will get out without any problem, but the baby will often struggle to let those unwanted gasses out from the body. Every parent, especially the new ones, will need help on how to assist their baby to let the burp out. Lucky for you, we have gathered some useful information in this article that will help you in that department.
Why babies need to burp, and what is burping?
Essentially burping is the process of releasing air or gas that is trapped in our digestive tract and through the mouth. We tend to swallow air every time we drink and eat. Also, when we digest the food in our stomach, gas is being formed during the process. When we cannot burp, those gases can cause us some discomfort in the form of abdominal pain and bloating.
The same thing goes for the babies! Babies also swallow air not only during breastfeeding or bottle-feeding but also when they cry uncontrollably. When the baby cannot burp and let those gases out, it becomes uncomfortable and fussy.
When should you burp your baby?
Doctors will tell you that it is best to burp your baby between feedings and just right after eating—moms who are breastfeeding need to burp their baby just before they switch breasts. For the bottle-fed babies, you should burp them after they have eaten 2-3 ounces.
If you notice your baby being gassy or fussy during feeding, you should try burping him/her every 5 min. during the whole feeding. You can also try feeding the baby in a slightly upright position or at least have his/her head a bit higher than their stomach. This way, you will minimize the amount of air the baby is swallowing. This position will also help the milk to go straight to the baby’s stomach, thus preventing unneeded air from entering the body.
What causes excessive air in the baby’s tummy?
- The inability to properly or incorrectly latch, which will cause the baby to swallow a lot of air.
- Baby being constipated
- Swallowing too much air while crying
- The baby’s digestive system is still maturing and developing
Signs and symptoms that your baby might have gas:
- A lot of crying and fussiness even when your baby has been fed and is not tired
- The baby’s tummy looks swollen or full
- The baby looks to be in pain and tends to lift legs towards the tummy
- Tends to arch his/her back while crying
How to burp a baby after feeding and in between feeding?
We all know that the easiest way to burp your baby is to lift him/her upright while holding in your arms and gently tap on his/her back while you bounce on the ground. The movement you make and the tapping on the back should help the gas bubbles in the baby’s stomach to come to the surface and get out as a burp. You can switch positions if nothing is happening.
What to do if your baby doesn’t burp and falls asleep?
It not unusual for babies to fall asleep while feeding, and even though you feel the urge to put him/her to bed, try to burp them first. If you leave the gas trapped in the baby’s tummy, it will cause him/her discomfort, and very likely that the baby will wake up crying during the night. This means that not only the baby will have a bad night, but also you will be left without sleep trying to calm that baby.
Try the following position to relive gas if your baby is struggling to burp:
Allow your baby to sit upright – Gently support the baby’s body and head with one of your hands and on your chest, have the baby sit on your lap a little, leaning forward. The upright position will move the air to the top of the baby’s stomach, and bending the baby forward will help put pressure on the stomach and let the air out. Another thing that might help is rubbing or tapping the baby’s back.
Lay the baby across your lap – put yourself in a sitting position and have your baby lay on his stomach across your lap and gently rub or tap his/her back, which should help to move the air from the tummy and release a burp.
Try holding the baby over your shoulder – Something similar to letting the baby sit upright, but additionally let your baby’s tummy lay on your shoulder, which will apply pressure. If you lean back, the baby will slightly lean forward, which will help release the burp.
Try holding the baby like a ball – just like when you would hold a ball in your hands, have the baby’s butt cradled in your palm and his/her head lay on your arm and put your hand down so that the baby’s head is placed higher than his stomach. Have the baby’s head sideways, so you won’t block the breathing and carefully tap the baby’s back with your hand. Try this position for 5-10 min. If it doesn’t work, switch arms. Usually, all it takes for a burp to happen is moving the baby from one position into another.
Other methods to try if the baby is still not able to burp:
Try belly massage – carefully massage the baby’s tummy, which will apply pressure on the stomach, and hopefully, it will help release the trapped gasses.
Gas drops for newborns – If you have tried everything and nothing has worked, you could try gas drops for newborns. This supplement contains simethicone, which helps in breaking up the gas bubble in the baby’s tummy. Please, check with your doctor before you decide to use this medicine.
Some babies will need your help to burp because their digestive system is developing. As they grow up, they will need less and less of your help. Remember that if you notice that your baby is in pain and struggles a lot to burp, go to your doctor and ask for help.