Ah, motherhood. One minute you’re eating cute cupcakes at your baby shower, and the next you’re searching for insider secrets on how to burp a baby.
We know what you’re thinking: how did everything get so gross so fast?
But don’t worry, mama. You’ve got this.
And no, you weren’t supposed to just know the best way to burp a baby. You didn’t miss any memos.
Like so many aspects of being a new mama, when it comes to burping your baby, it’s surprising that your little human doesn’t come with an instruction manual.
With every feed, anxiety rises:
What happens if baby doesn’t burp? Will they explode?
And, of course, those moments when you frantically search on Peanut:
How can I make my baby burp fast? We’re on a tight schedule here, you know!
Take a deep breath. This will get easier.
First things first, let’s take a look at why we do this at all:
Why burping a baby is important
Unless you want a baby that would put both Oscar the Grouch and the Grinch to shame in a cranky contest, mastering the best way to burp a baby is vital. Why?
Because, just to make parenting a little more complicated than it already is, when babies swallow food, they tend to swallow air as well.
This air gets trapped in their gastrointestinal system and voila! You have a gassy baby.
Now, nobody likes the feeling of too much gas—so that’s why you have to give your little one a bit of assistance when it comes to letting the air out.
So let’s look at how to burp a baby so that both of you feel safe, comfortable and (relatively) clean.
How to burp a newborn: the basics
Here is the 1, 2, 3 of burping a baby:
- Step 1: Find the right position (more on that later!)
- Step 2: With a cupped hand, gently pat your baby’s back.
- Step 3: If your baby doesn’t burp, change position and try again before you resume feeding. Knowing how to burp a baby that is hard to burp is a matter of patience. (Yep, patience. You may want to find a series to binge for these moments!)
And now for some pro tips:
3 baby burping tips:
1. Things can get messy.
Uh. Ever heard of (or experienced) a “wet burp”?
For this and other fun reasons, like the simple baby spit-up, you might want to find some sort of barrier.
This could be a bib for your baby, a cloth over you, or (for full protection) both.
2. Places everyone!
Spoiler alert: there are numerous positions to adopt when you burp a baby.
You have to find the burp position that works for you, i.e. you have to choreograph your own burp dance.
Try these two options:
- You = sitting up. Baby = across your chest. Hold your baby so that their head is rested on your shoulder. Get burping with your free hand. This can be a super-efficient position and easy to control.
- You = sitting up. Baby = belly down on your lap. One important note for this, make sure that your baby’s head is higher than their chest to avoid things going the wrong way. And support their head with your hand.
3. It’s all in the timing.
So, there are definitely no hard and fast rules when it comes to burp timing but there are some guidelines you can follow:
- If you’re breastfeeding, burp your baby when you switch breasts.
- If you’re bottle-feeding, consider the bottle you are using. Some will cause more air build-up than others. However, a rough guide is to go for the burp after every 2-3 ounces.
And remember more than anything:
The best way to burp a baby is the way that works best for you.
As most new mamas know, everyone loves to throw in their two cents when it comes to best mama practices.
Sure, getting the right advice from those in the know can be useful, but ultimately this is your experience and your baby.
Head to Peanut for more advice. Embrace the grossness. And most of all, trust yourself.