At the beginning of their lives when babies are learning how to feed, they gulp, guzzle and slurp regardless of whether they are breastfed or bottle-fed. While hungrily feeding, they swallow air. And it’s this air that forms little bubbles of gas in their tummies, making life feel pretty uncomfortable.
Burping for the first few weeks, or even months of a baby’s life can help ease the discomfort. But as babies get older, they become pretty efficient at feeding and they’ll swallow less air. They also start to sit up on their own – so those pesky burps tend to make their way to the surface all by themselves.
But knowing exactly when to stop burping isn’t an exact science. Here’s why.
When to stop burping a baby
When does everyone stop burping their little ones? My baby is five-months-old and I’m not sure if she really needs me to be burping her anymore?
Every baby is different and unique – that’s why we love the little cherubs! But just because one baby is ready to stop burping at a certain age, it doesn’t mean it’s the same for every bub at that age.
Generally, most babies are ready to stop being burped somewhere between four and six months. You’ll find they’re less squirmy after feeding, or the burps tend to find their own way out once bub is upright.
They’re also more mobile as they get older – starting to crawl and coast along the furniture while standing. This all helps move gas out of their tummies. At this age, their digestive systems are also much more mature, so burping isn’t so much of a necessity.
Signs baby is ready to stop being burped
If you’re still not sure that your tot is ready for the back pats to end, here are some signs to look out for:
Sitting up easily: If bub can sit up pretty well on their own, and is moving around, this may be a sign to stop burping.
Eating solids well: Bub is eating solids without any tummy upsets.
Happy little bubby: They’re 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 they’re still needing burping, go ahead and do it.
We asked the mums in the Mum’s Grapevine Baby Facebook Groups at what age they stopped burping their babies, and the responses were just as individual as the babies themselves.
While some mums had stopped burping their bubs by three-months-old, some still found they needed to get up their baby’s excess gas at nine-months-old.
“I stopped around 3-4 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 six months old and we haven’t really burped him for awhile 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. Just during the day. But I guess I could probably stop.”
“I don’t burp my EBF girl unless she seems uncomfortable. She’s five months now.” – Tracey
“Seven 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 stopped at four months when bubs started sitting after a feed and he started burping himself. I only hold him upright during night feeds while he goes to sleep as he sleeps on his stomach and will vomit if he hasn’t burped.” – Coral
“I still have to burp my seven-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
“Our boy was eight months yesterday and I pop him upright over my shoulder without doing anything just so he burps before I lay him back down at night, otherwise all hell breaks loose ten minutes later.” – Joanna
“My girls are 8.5 months and I still burp them most feeds as they still suffer sometimes with bringing it up themselves.” – Teya
“We’re nearly eight months here and bub has been burping himself for a couple of months at least. I still pat him on the pack for a few seconds after a feed and he’ll burp then, or by himself shortly after.” – Charlotte>
“About 5-6 months but that’s because he had bad reflux. I still do when I see him look like he has wind but he usually brings it up by himself or out the other way.” – Jen
“About three months but I’ve just started again at seven months as he would squirm around for ages if I didn’t.” – Kylie
How to help a baby burb
Baby burps are the holy grail of feeding time, easing belly pain and making room for more milky goodness. Helping little ones to burp isn’t one-size-fits-all – what works for one tot may not work for another, so it’s handy to have a whole bunch of baby burping techniques in your arsenal.
We’ve written a very handy article with six tips to help baby burp you might like to read next.
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