A mom burping her baby.
Bottle-fed babies should be burped halfway through the feeding.

How to Burp a Baby

Burping your baby is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. And while some babies burp easily, others might need a little extra help., which is why we are going to go over how to burp a baby.
Read on for our complete guide on how to burp your baby both effectively and safely.

Why Babies Need to Be Burped

Babies have a slightly different digestive process compared to adults. This is partially because babies are much smaller, meaning that their stomachs can only hold a small amount. However, the main difference between a baby’s and an adult’s digestion is diet.

Whereas adults eat a mixture of solid and liquid foods, a baby’s diet is primarily milk. Whether a baby is breast or bottle-fed, they are likely to swallow a lot of air along with their meal. This air can fill up the baby’s little stomach quickly, leading to discomfort.

Furthermore, if a baby swallows too much air while feeding, they may feel full before they finish their meal. This could lead to them not getting all of the nutrition and energy they need to grow and develop healthily.

Burping your baby helps to release trapped air from their digestive system. This will make them feel calmer and more comfortable. It also ensures that your baby is able to consume enough milk to get all the nutrients they need.

Why it is Important to Burp a Baby Properly

It is essential to burp a baby properly to ensure that they remain comfortable during and after feeding. This, in turn, will help them sleep for longer and get all the nutrients they need.

Some babies require burping more often than others. As a general guideline, experts recommend burping once midway through feeding for bottle-fed babies. Breastfed babies should be burped whenever you switch breasts. All babies should be burped at the end of their feed as well as midway through.

Step by Step Guide to Burping a Baby

There are several ways to burp a baby and no one is better than the other. The best method of burping a baby will depend on what feels most natural for you. We recommend giving each method a try and seeing which one feels right.

Over the Shoulder Method

  • Hold your baby against your chest and rest their chin on your shoulder.
  • Support your baby’s weight by placing one hand on their bottom.
  • Keep your baby’s back and tummy straight.
  • Use your free hand to gently rub and pat your baby’s back until they burp.

Sitting on the Lap Method

  • Sit your baby on your lap with their head facing away from you.
  • Support your baby’s chin with one hand, taking care not to put pressure on their throat.
  • Tilt your baby forward slightly.
  • Use your free hand to gently rub and pat your baby’s back until they burp.
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Lying Across the Lap Method

  • Lie your baby on their front across your lap so that their stomach rests on one of your thighs.
  • Support your baby’s chin with one hand, taking care not to put pressure on their throat.
  • Use your free hand to gently rub and pat your baby’s back until they burp.
  • You should burp your baby once midway through feeding and then again at the end. It is normal for a small amount of milk to come up when your baby burps and this is nothing to worry about. Keep a burp cloth handy to protect your clothes and wipe up any mess.

    After feeding, keep your baby upright for 10 to 15 minutes to prevent milk from coming back up. Increase this time for babies with gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD).

    Burping a Baby Dos and Don’ts

    As well as following our step by step guide, there are a few other things to keep in mind when burping a baby. Here are some common dos and don’ts:

    • Do keep a burp cloth or bib on hand to protect your clothing and clean up any milk that your baby brings up.
    • Don’t lie your baby down for 10 to 15 minutes after feeding to reduce the risk of bringing up milk.
    • Do burp your baby midway through feeding as well as at the end, or more often if necessary.
    • Don’t wait to burp your baby if they appear uncomfortable or cranky during feeding. Remember, some babies need burping more often than others.
    • Do focus on the left side when rubbing and patting your baby’s back as this is where their stomach is located.
    • Don’t worry if your baby does not burp much. As long as they seem comfortable, this is quite normal for some little ones.
    • Do learn to recognize the signs of trapped gas. These include crying, arching the back, pulling the legs in toward the tummy and clenching the fists. If these signs occur, try lying your baby on their back and gently rubbing their tummy, or moving their legs back and forth as if they were cycling.
    • Don’t use over-the-counter remedies like colic drops or gripe water without consulting your physician first. Some of these products contain ingredients that may be harmful to your baby.
    • Do burp your baby even if they fall asleep during feeding. Doing this could help them to sleep for longer and that is good news for your baby and for you!