How to Burp a Baby + Tips and Tricks for Trapped Gas
Have you ever experienced joy in hearing another person burp? Welcome to parenthood! The formally rude or gross sound is music to the ears of many parents of young babies. Like tummy time and ensuring they get enough sleep, burping a baby is an important part of caring for your newborn or young child. When baby eats, they swallow air along with breastmilk or formula. This can cause discomfort and even pain if the air is not released. Burping helps to remove some of that gassiness from the baby’s stomach, making them more comfortable and reducing the risk of spitting up. Like learning to swaddle and soothe, some parent-proven techniques will help make burping a baby easier. Here, we’ll dive into signs baby needs to burp and how to burp a baby correctly.
Why Babies Need to be Burped
We burp our little ones to relieve trapped gas. One way your baby might communicate their discomfort with trapped gas is by crying, arching their back, drawing their legs into their tummy, or clenching their fists. (Did you know baby’s cries can have different meanings? Read about the four types of baby cries and what they mean.)
Infant gas, fortunately, isn’t a medical condition, but it can sometimes cause your little one pain or discomfort. However, there are things you can do to help relieve your infant’s gas—even simple tactics such as massage can help.
One way to proactively help your baby with painful and upsetting gas is with Infants’ Mylicon™ Gas Relief Drops. Mylicon works gently to help a baby’s natural process of getting rid of gas, relieving pressure and discomfort. Safe for use with all infants—even the newest of newborns. Mylicon can be used at every feeding, up to 12 times a day (use only as directed).
When Should a Baby be Burped
There are no set rules or recommendations for when to burp baby. Some kiddos will need a few breaks every feed, while others will be unbothered and infrequently require burping. Should you find that your baby eats better with a few burp breaks, consider stopping every two to three ounces for bottle-fed babies and approximately every five minutes if you’re breastfeeding. You might find it helpful to experiment with different feeding positions.
How to Burp a Baby
Step 1: Find a burping position that works for you and your baby
Positioning your baby correctly and comfortably can help them relieve gas with a burp. The most common positions are over your shoulder, sitting on your lap, and lying on their stomach while on your lap. Here’s an explanation of each burping position, but remember, always support your baby’s head and neck.
- Over the shoulder: Rest baby’s chin on your shoulder and use one hand to support their bottom while the other hand pats and rubs their back.
- Sitting on your lap: Sit with your knees slightly apart and lean baby forward slightly while placing the palm of your hand flat against their chest and supporting their chin and jaw (don't put any pressure on the throat area). Use the other hand to pat and rub their back.
- Lying across your lap: Place baby face down on your lap with their head turned to one side. Support their head and neck with one hand and use the other hand to pat or rub their back.
Step 2: Work out the burp
Now that you’ve found a position that works for you and you feel comfortable supporting your baby, it’s time to gently rub or pat their back. Start with a gentle touch and gradually increase the pressure until you find a level that works for your baby. Remember, this is an exercise in gentle-yet-effective pats and rubs.
Step 3: Listen for a burp
There is no right answer for how long to burp—or try burping—your little one. Typically, parents and caregivers will pat or rub baby’s back for a few minutes, continuing even if they don’t burp right away. Remember, that trapped air can take a few minutes to come up. If you don’t hear a burp after a few minutes, try a different burping position or take a break.
Step 4: Finish burping
Once you’ve had a burp (or decided to try again later) you can finish up by comforting your little one with cuddles or get baby ready for a nap.
What To Do if Gas Is Still Trapped
If you suspect that your baby still has gas trapped, there are a few things you can try, including a baby massage. When you massage your baby, you stimulate the nerves, which can help improve digestion, relieve constipation, and get rid of gas. There are six positions that are great for giving baby a massage. You can learn about the best positions for baby massage here.
Of course, Mylicon is always here to help with infant gas. From our infants’ products to advice for relieving infant gas, we’re here to help. Parents who know, know Mylicon.