Burping your baby quickly becomes the holy grail of feeding time, easing belly pain and making room for more milky goodness. But how to burp a baby isn’t one-size-fits-all – what works for one newborn may not work for another newborn, so it’s handy to know a whole bunch of techniques to get your newborn to burp.
When babies need to be burped, some prefer the tried and true over-the-shoulder technique, others prefer to get rid of their belly bubbles laying face-down. And some days all the usual tricks just don’t work – that’s when it’s time to try something different.
Is it necessary to burp your baby?
When babies drink, they also swallow to much air, whether they’ve been bottle feeding or breastfed. The trapped bubbles can give them a bit of a stomach ache and give them the feeling that they’re full. So learning ways to burp your baby will not only help newborns feel more comfortable, but they’re also more likely to finish their feed properly.
When should you burp your baby?
Give a breastfeeding newborn a chance to burp as you’re switching breasts. If they’re only feeding from one breast at each feed, go for a mid-feed burp. If your Bub is squirming or uncomfortable, try burping before offering more milk.
A formula-fed infant can be burped every 60 to 90mls, or when they seem to be uncomfortable. If your little one falls asleep happily at the end of a feed, there’s no need to wake and burp.
How to burp a baby
Too much air in there? We’ve gathered the best ways for burping a baby, including tips from other mums to give you the best chance of getting rid of babies wind.
Here are five clever techiniques for burping your baby.
Pressure point technique
This handy newborn burping tip comes from Mum’s Grapevine Group member member Elise:
“We had our six-week checkup yesterday and I mentioned to my doctor that my boy generally has a lot of spit-up and can have wind pain. He said it’s all based around the air not coming out quick enough and of course their weak oesophagus. He said the best way to burp your baby is to hold your baby upright with baby’s back to your chest, hold under the chin for head support and gently apply pressure on their tummy with your other hand. It works wonders! We have done this every feed since and there has been very little to no spit up and no windy discomfort. Most times you can feel the burp when it’s about to come up. It may not help all the time but hopefully, it helps are few mums when burping your babies”.
Over the shoulder technique
It’s the most ‘traditional’ burping position and probably the one your mum taught you. Just support bub’s bottom, and pop them against your shoulder. Then either pat baby’s back. Handy hint: pop a cloth over your shoulder just in case it’s a wet burp!
Sitting up technique
Hold your baby on your lap in a sitting position, leaning forward just a little. Use one hand to support baby’s head and chest and the other to gently rub or pat baby’s back. Again, a burping cloth tossed over your legs is a good idea to catch any spit-up when burping your baby.
Belly down technique
Put Bub on their tummy across your lap, with their tummy on one of your legs and their head on the other. Slightly turn bub’s head to the side, then with one hand hold your baby, pat or rub baby’s back with your free hand.
Your little one will need to have head control to use this technique. Hold your baby on your front, facing outwards while you walk. Put one hand under baby’s bottom and your other arm across their stomach for some gentle pressure and fingers crossed you should get a walking burp!
When to stop burping your baby?
Most babies are ready to stop being burped somewhere between four and six months of age. As they get older, babies become more efficient at feeding and swallow less air. They also start to sit up on their own and the burps tend to make their way to the surface all by themselves.
But knowing exactly when to cease burping isn’t an exact science. Every little one is different and unique. Just because one infant is ready to stop burping at a certain age, it doesn’t mean it’s the same for every infant at that same age.
Signs baby is ready to stop being burped
If you’re still not sure your baby is ready to not be burped anymore, look out for these signs.
Sitting up easily: If baby can sit up pretty well on their own, and is moving around, this may be a sign to stop burping.
Eating solids well: Baby is eating solids without any tummy upsets.
Happy little bubby: Baby is happy after a feed, not squirming or showing any signs of discomfort.
As eating solids becomes a higher priority and milk feeds are reduced, there are even fewer burps to contend with. But you know your baby better than anyone, and if you think you still needing burping your baby, go ahead and do it.
We asked the mums in the Mum’s Grapevine Baby Facebook Groups at what age they stopped burping their baby, and the responses were just as individual as the babies themselves.
While some mums had stopped burping their baby by 3-months-old, some still found they needed to keep burping their babies at 9-months-old.
“I stopped around 4-months because I found she was doing it herself anyway.” – Anna
“We’re six months and still burping! Not after all feeds, like when our son falls asleep on the boob or at night; but if he feeds and is awake and we put him down, he will be a little cranky until the burp comes up.” – Tiffany
“My boy is almost 6-months-old and we haven’t really tried burping him for a while now we just sit him up after a feed and he usually burps himself.” – Liz
“Almost five months here and I don’t burp at night. During the day I try burping. But I guess I could probably give it up.” – Charli
“I don’t burp my EBF girl unless she seems uncomfortable. She’s 5-months now.” – Tracey
“7-months here and still burping him because if I don’t he ends up spewing up.” – Hayley
“My 6.5-month-old pretty much burps himself lately once he’s sat up.” – Vanessa
“I still have to burp my 7-month-old otherwise he will spew.” – Jessica
“I stopped at four months – he moves around enough now to burp himself.” – Kimberley
“We still burp after most bottles at seven months, but she usually burps herself as she sits up anyway. The only time she needs help burping is during the night feeds, or else she wakes a lot.” – Georgia
“Seven months and still do it every feed (just before bed) otherwise she doesn’t go down. Usually burps then lay her down and she’s out like a light.” – Mikayla
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Read this: 10 effective ways to help a windy baby
Get support from other mums
Looking for more information to try burping your baby? Join one of our Facebook groups and ask other mums for advice. They are grouped together by baby birth/due dates so everyone is going through the same stages at the same time.
Click here >> Mum’s Grapevine Facebook Groups << and find your baby group today!