One of the first concerns you will probably have as a first-time parent is how to burp a newborn. Everyone knows that burping a newborn is important after feeding. It helps to control the gas in the baby’s belly and aids digestion.
Why do babies burp?
When a baby feeds, air can get trapped inside the baby’s stomach. When a newborn burps, it helps to release that air and frees up room in the stomach so that your baby can feel better and feed for a while longer.
Burping a newborn can also help when the baby spits up more frequently or displays symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
However, you don’t necessarily have to burp your baby after every feeding. It’s important to know your infant and his or her habits. Some babies need to burp a lot but others do not. For example, babies who are breastfed tend to require it less because they swallow less air while feeding.
How do you burp a baby?
There are three positions you can use with which you should familiarize yourself. Trying all three will determine the overall best position for your baby based on his or her comfort with it.
One of the most basic methods of how to burp a newborn is on your shoulder. Hold your baby against your shoulder and support his or her bottom with one hand. Pat the baby’s lower back gently or rub the back with your other hand. The aim is to encourage the air bubbles in the stomach up and out.
You can also place your baby face-down on your lap for burping. Lay your baby on his or her stomach across your lap with baby’s head turned sideways. Hold the baby securely with one hand and gently rub or pat your newborn’s back with the other.
Sitting up is a good position when you are learning how to burp a newborn. Hold your baby in a seated position on your lap while leaning forward. Support your baby’s head and chest with one arm, and use your free hand to rub or pat baby’s back.
How often should you burp your baby?
In general, how often you burp your baby depends on how much you feed him or her. If you bottle-feed, you will want to burp your infant for every two to three ounces fed. With breastfeeding, burp your child upon switching from one breast to the other. It will give baby more room in the stomach to take in more milk. However, if your baby is only feeding from one breast, you can burp in the middle of feeding on that single breast.
With practice, you will become a master at burping a newborn in no time. Both you and your baby will be happier for it.
Take a look at the most common questions about newborns from poop problems to eating habits answered by pediatricians here.