Do you have a happy spitter or a colicky newborn? Get some pointers here on how to burp your baby.
As most veteran parents know, one of the first things that you need to learn when your newborn comes, aside from carrying him and changing diapers is how to burp your baby.
But why is it essential to learn how to burp a newborn? Well, for starters, your baby needs your help in this arena right now.
Do I really have to burp my baby?
Their digestive tract isn’t fully developed yet and they are still learning how to breastfeed properly, how to get the right latch. In this process, there are a lot of air bubbles that enter your child’s mouth going to his tummy. These air bubbles are the usual cause of colic or kabag which may explain why your baby gets so fussy after feeding.
Bigger kids and grown-ups can release their own gas. But babies need help because they still have so little control over how their bodies are positioned.
If you’ve researched breastfeeding, you might have come across the fact that your newborn’s stomach is still very small and could not handle too much food or fluid, which is why they often have spit-ups. Acid reflux is also common in a baby’s first 6 months of life.
Burping your baby is one way for them to release the air bubbles in their tummies after a feeding. While studies show that burping does not help prevent colic, it’s still a way of relieving the symptoms.
Image from Shutterstock
When should I make baby burp?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends burping the baby after each feeding, even if they don’t show any sign of distress or colic.
We do not know how much air gets in their little stomachs, so it’s a good idea to burp babies even if they do not get to the fussy stage,” said Dr. Landau, a pediatrician from New York and one of the authors of the book The Essential Guide to Baby’s First Year.
When you notice that your baby is crying and fussy, one of the things you should do is try to burp him. It’s also good practice to give the baby a break after each feeding and let him burp first.
Research shows that the kind of milk your baby consumes is related to how often they hiccups or spit up. Experts believe that breastfed babies don’t need to be burped as much as formula-fed ones because there are fewer air bubbles that can enter the baby’s mouth when they are (properly) latched on his mother’s breast compared to sucking from a nipple on a baby bottle.
Of course, you also need to factor in if the baby has a good latch and if he is fussy whenever he is breastfeeding.
As earlier mentioned, one of the first signs that you need to burp your baby is when they are crying, fussy, pulling away, and won’t breastfeed or take his bottle. If his diaper is not wet or dirty, and he’s resisting your breast, it could be that he is experiencing colic or kabag.
How long to burp baby?
According to Healthline, burping your baby usually only takes a minute or two. Sometimes a burp will come up as soon as you carry your baby upright. But sometimes you have to wait for a little while and help things with a gentle tap on the back or some pressure on his tummy.
According to Dr. Gellina Maala, a pediatrician from the University of Perpetual Help Medical Center, it’s important to let baby burp before putting him to sleep and to hear a loud burping sound to make sure your baby will have a restful sleep.
“So either if you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, if there is too much air in your baby’s tummy, you have to make sure you burp him. Do it after every feeding and make sure you hear a loud burp.
Because if you’re not satisfied wih the burp or you’re not sure that he did it, if you put him down to sleep, he will still be restless and irritable and this can wake him up from his sleep,” she explained in Filipino.
Another useful strategy is to get your baby in the habit of falling asleep in their crib rather than while feeding. How? When you notice them getting sleepy while at the breast or their bottle, stop the feeding, burp them for a minute or so, and then put them down to sleep. You can go back to feeding the baby if he asks for more, and do the same thing after.
Not only will this ensure that your baby can sleep peacefully without the colicky feeling, but you can also start sleep-training them, and it will be easier to do it in the long run.
How to burp your baby the right way
Now that we’ve established the importance of burping your baby, here are 5 different ways that you can do to burp your baby efficiently and safely.
This method is one of the most common ways babies are burped. It’s done by holding your baby in an upright position with its head supported by one hand, as your baby rests on your shoulder and chin.
Another way to burp your baby is to hold them upright sitting on your lap while leaning them slightly forward. Pat them lightly on their back while stroking them using circular motions.
Another way to burp your baby is to place them on their belly on your lap with one hand under their chest for support. With one hand, stroke them circularly alternating with light pats to encourage burping.
Bending legs towards chest
If none of the aforementioned methods work, try burping your baby with his legs slightly bent towards his chest to stimulate burping.
Burping during and after feeding
Another method to make burping easier is to burp during and after the feed. Burping before feeding can also help put your baby at ease and make them less fussy.
Can I burp my baby when he is asleep?
This is one of the questions that puzzle new parents when it comes to burping. Should you still burp your baby when he’s already fast asleep? Dr. Maala says, yes, you can still burp your baby when they fall asleep after feeding. To make sure the gas or air bubbles are not trapped inside her tummy.
“Isang sign na nabusog na sila eh ‘yong kapag comfortable na sila sa pagkakatulog nila. ‘Yon ang isang sign nila na full na sila, so huwag na po natin silang guluhin.
Pero pwedeng-pwede po silang ipa burp kahit natutulog na sila. So hindi siya excuse na hindi natin napa-burp kasi tulog na sila,” said the pediatrician.
So even when they fall asleep, do as you normally would. Carry your baby upright and wait for a loud burp before you put her on her crib to sleep.
Burping a baby may seem like rocket science to you at the start. But with a few nights of practice and you and your partner will definitely be pros at it. For any questions about burping, colic, and baby’s sleep, don’t hesitate to consult your child’s pediatrician.
Additional information by Camille Eusebio
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