How to Burp Your Baby: Basics, Tips and Positions | Max Hospital

How to Burp Your Baby: Basics, Purpose and Best Tips to Positions

By Dr. Amit Nagpal in Paediatrics (Ped)

Jun 11 , 2024 | 1 min read

Burping is integral to caring for a newborn, but why is it so important? Babies need to be burped primarily to release the air they swallow during feeding. This air can cause discomfort and make babies feel full even if they haven't consumed enough milk. Understanding why and how to burp your baby can help ensure their comfort and proper feeding.

When babies suckle, whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, they often ingest air with the milk. This is more common in bottle-fed babies due to the flow of the bottle's nipple. The trapped air forms gas bubbles in their tiny stomachs, leading to pressure and discomfort. If these bubbles are not released, they can cause fussiness, spitting up, and even colic-like symptoms.

Burping helps to expel these trapped gas bubbles. It's typically done by gently patting or rubbing the baby's back while holding it upright, either over the shoulder, sitting on the lap, or lying face down across the lap. Each baby is different, and parents often find through experience which position works best for their child.

It's also important to note that not all babies need to be burped frequently. Some may naturally expel air on their own, while others might need more help. Parents should pay attention to their baby's cues. The signs indicating that a baby needs to be burped include squirming, pulling away during feeding, or appearing uncomfortable.

How can I Burp My Baby?

  1. Hold the baby in an upright position, such as over your shoulder or lying on your lap.
  2. Gently rub or pat their back.
  3. If the baby doesn't burp, wait a few minutes, then try again.

Why do Babies Burp? 

  • Burping can be compared to a can of soda which has carbon dioxide gas trapped at the bottom. To release the bubbles from the can, one has to tap the can until the "fizz" wafts through the opened slot.
  • Swallowing air happens when the baby is hungry and swallows too fast. Babies also tend to swallow more air if the breastfeeding mother has an increased milk flow. The baby will swallow fast to handle the increased flow and, as a result, gulp air.

In summary, burping is crucial to prevent discomfort caused by swallowed air. It ensures babies can feed effectively and feel more comfortable, contributing to their well-being and happiness.