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.
So, let’s find out everything there is to know about how to burp a baby.
In this article: 📝
- Why do you need to burp a baby?
- How to burp a newborn: the basics
- 3 baby burping tricks and tips:
- Where do you hit a baby to burp?
- How long should I burp a newborn?
- When to stop burping a baby
- How can I make my baby burp faster?
- What happens if baby doesn’t burp?
Why do you need to burp a baby?
Do you know why burping a baby is important?
Turns out, 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, which is why burping baby is so important.
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
Totally new to burping a newborn?
Here are the basic steps on how to burp 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!)
That’s it! Who knew burping a baby could be so easy? But wait, there’s more…
How to burp a sleeping baby
What about burping a sleeping baby?
Sometimes, baby will fall asleep during feeding and need burping afterward.
This is because if you put them down to sleep straight after eating, they could wake up with painful trapped gas. No one wants that.
So, now for how to burp a sleeping baby.
Firstly, don’t worry about waking them up ‒ most of the time, baby will still sleep through their burping, and they don’t need to be awake to burp.
The only real difference between burping a baby who’s asleep versus an awake baby is that you move a bit slower, to help keep them asleep.
Other than that, it’s exactly the same as how to burp a baby who’s awake!
How to burp a baby with reflux
Got a baby who has reflux? Poor thing, and poor you ‒ it’s not exactly the most fun experience as a mama.
When it comes to burping a baby with reflux, burping them frequently during and after feeding is the key.
Try to keep baby upright to help with their reflux while feeding and while burping, because that’ll be much more comfortable for them.
How to burp a baby that is hard to burp
As we mentioned before, the key to burping a baby that’s hard to burp is patience.
Even babies who don’t have a hard time burping can sometimes get a little trapped wind that needs jiggling out.
If gentle pats won’t work, try slightly firmer pats, or patting baby’s bottom ‒ it’s one of the many baby burping tricks from our mamas on Peanut!
If that doesn’t work, try bouncing baby up and down on your leg ‒ gently.
3 baby burping tricks and tips:
The mamas on Peanut have a ton of handy baby burping tips and tricks, but here are a few that we’ve tried and tested:
1. Burping a baby? You might get wet.
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. Baby burping positions
Spoiler alert: there are several positions to try when you’re burping a baby.
It’s up to you to find the baby burping position that works for you (and baby).
Give these baby burping positions a try to see which ones work for both of you:
- You = sitting up. Baby = across your chest. The classic baby burping position. 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.
- You = sitting up. Baby = over your shoulder. If baby’s particularly hard to burp that day, try them slightly further over your shoulder (not too far!). Baby’s belly should be resting on your shoulder, with their head hanging slightly over. You must have a good grip on baby and feel secure for this baby burping position.
- You = sitting up. Baby = sitting on your lap. Have baby sitting on your lap facing away from you (you don’t want to be in the splash zone when it comes to burping a baby!). Support their chest and chin with one hand (not applying pressure to their throat), and lean them forward a little. Then use your other hand to rub or pat baby’s back.
3. When to burp baby
So, there are definitely no hard and fast rules when it comes to the best time for burping a baby but there are some guidelines you can follow:
- If you’re breastfeeding, you should be burping 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, the best way to burp a newborn who’s bottle feeding is to burp after every 2-3 ounces.
Where do you hit a baby to burp?
First, consider the hardness of your patting your baby to burp.
It should be a gentle pat, but you can add a little firmness if baby won’t burp easily.
Your patting should never leave a mark on baby’s skin.
As for where to pat when burping a baby? Aim for just below between their shoulder blades with a flat palm.
How long should I burp a newborn?
Burping a newborn doesn’t need to take very long.
In most cases, you’ll have a burping baby in your arms in a few minutes.
But if baby doesn’t burp easily, it can take a little longer. But likely no more than 5-10 minutes.
When to stop burping a baby
We know, it’s a pretty big age range, but, as we said, every baby is different.
There are a few key signs to look out for if you’re keen to find out when can you stop burping a baby.
This leads us to…
When do babies burp on their own?
As we said, babies can burp on their own between 4-9 months.
But there is one key sign to look out for when to stop burping baby.
If they burp by themselves, then you probably don’t need to burp them. Simple as that!
But even a fully burping baby has some hard times getting the air out of their stomach, so if they’re really fussy and not burping by themselves a few minutes after feeding, they might need a little help before they can settle down.
How can I make my baby burp faster?
We get it, time is of the essence, here!
But there is no one way that will get a baby to burp faster.
What works for your baby may not help another baby get burping.
Try the different burping positions and baby burping tricks we mentioned, and see what works for your little one.
What happens if baby doesn’t burp?
Well, a few things can happen if baby doesn’t burp at all after feeding:
- They could be cranky
- They could be in pain from trapped gas
- They could spit up more
So it’s always best to try all you can to make sure you have a burping newborn before they go to sleep.
Is it OK to put baby to sleep without burping?
You can put baby to sleep without burping, it won’t cause any real harm to baby, but they may be a little pained from trapped wind.
Ultimately, 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 on how to burp a baby or anything else.
Embrace the grossness! And most of all, trust yourself.