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Burping a Baby

Published January 14, 2008        by Nicole

Babies generally swallow some air as they are feeding, although breastfed babies tend to swallow less air than bottle fed babies.  To minimize the amount swallowed by a bottle fed baby, try to always keep the nipple full of formula as you feed.  Regardless of the method of feeding, an air bubble will probably accumulate and make your baby feel uncomfortable.  To prevent that distress, you should burp him ay the conclusion of each feeding.  You may also want to burp him at the midpoint of the feeding, to prevent the buildup of too large a bubble. Just make sure you have your baby bib ready!

There are a number of commonly used positions for burping, and no one of them is the “right” one.  You will eventually find the one that is most effective for your baby, although on some occasions you may have to run through the whole repertoire of burping positions until you get results.  These positions generally have in common putting some slight pressure on the baby’s abdomen-by placing him against your shoulder so that he is facing backward; by sitting him up on your lap, resting his midsection on your forearm; or by laying him face down across your lap-and then gently rubbing or patting the middle of his back.  Remember to protect the area beneath his mouth with a cloth because he is quite likely to bring up some milk with the gas bubble; this is usually only a small amount and does not indicate a feeding problem.

Some babies don’t accumulate a large bubble and aren’t made uncomfortable by one, so if your baby doesn’t burp after several minutes of concerted effort, there is no point in exhausting both of you in a marathon burping session.  Simply put him face down in his crib as you would if he had burped; that prone position often brings up the bubble by itself.  Of course, you want to spare your baby any discomfort that might result from an air bubbles, but if your burping efforts aren’t successful, the worse that will happen is that your baby will noisily let you know when the bubble is making him uncomfortable, at which point you can simply pick him up and renew your burping efforts.