As any new parent can tell you, burping a baby requires some finesse. It takes time, practice, and no small degree of patience to figure out the best technique. What’s more, different babies may need different approaches when burping.
Many parents are eager for the burping phase of their baby’s life to be over and done with. But, as much as we love our little ones, burping can be a hassle on a hectic day.
Unfortunately, judging the best time to stop burping a baby can be tough. Every baby develops differently, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s up to you as a parent to decide what age is best to stop burping.
Here, we’re going to cover how you can tell when to stop burping a baby between feedings. Read on to learn more about how to burp young babies, as well as how to stop burping when they’re ready.
- Why Do Babies Need Burping?
- Signs Baby Needs To Burp
- How To Burp a Baby
- Baby Burping Tricks
- What If My Baby Won’t Burp After Feeding?
- When To Stop Burping a Baby
- How To Stop Burping a Baby
Why Do Babies Need Burping?
Burping is vital for your baby’s comfort and, by extension, yours. If you don’t burp your baby, you may end up with tears and squirming after mealtime.
Most parents burp their baby between feedings, but not everyone knows why. For many, burping is simply a way to settle a baby before putting them down for a nap.
Babies need burping mainly because of the gas buildup in their digestive system. The pressure can cause pain and cramping, leading to a fussy, sleepless baby.
Why Do Babies Get Gassy?
When babies eat, they often take in air with each sip or gulp of milk. Bottle-fed babies are more likely to get gassy after feeding, but breastfed babies can also experience similar issues. There’s no surefire solution to preventing gas in babies.
Gas can also build up naturally in a baby’s gut. Their digestive system is still developing and is sensitive to issues such as overeating. An improperly mixed bottle of formula can cause severe gas and other stomach issues in children under six months.
Burping helps to ease pain and discomfort associated with gas in young infants. However, they can have trouble relieving the pressure themselves, as their body isn’t strong enough yet.
That’s where we, as parents, need to step in and help. A baby needs rubbing, patting, or positioning in just a few months to help reduce gas buildup. Then, as their body develops and their digestive system matures, they can start relieving gas buildup on their own.
Preventing Gas Buildup
Not all babies need frequent burping. Parents can take some preventative measures to prevent gas buildup, even after feeding.
The best way to reduce your need for burping sessions is by helping your baby to avoid taking in excess gas.
Breastfeeding creates a natural seal with your baby’s mouth. This helps prevent gas from entering during suckling. A proper bottle nipple can also help to reduce the likelihood of air intake.
Whether breast or bottle-feed, you can help prevent gas buildup by going slowly with feedings. Pause often, burping when necessary to relieve gas intake as you go. That way, your baby will feel less bloated after the complete feeding session.
Signs Baby Needs To Burp
Even though babies can’t talk, they’re usually not shy about communicating their feelings. If your baby is gassy and uncomfortable, they’ll likely show signs of agitation. A baby that needs burping will often fuss, squirm, or even refuse a feeding.
If you notice signs of discomfort, especially after a feeding, it’s a good idea to try burping your baby. Even if your baby doesn’t appear agitated, you can prevent gas buildup by burping at regular intervals.
How Often Should I Burp My Baby?
Most experts recommend that you burp as you feed. Often, mothers choose to do this when switching breasts. If a baby is bottle-fed, it’s a good idea to stop and burp every two to three ounces.
Keep in mind that these are just guidelines instead of hard and fast rules. Your baby may need more or fewer burping, depending on their individual needs. If you try all your usual techniques and get no results, it could be because your baby doesn’t need to release any gas.
The older your baby gets, the less you’ll have to burp them. Eventually, they’ll grow to the point that you can stop burping sessions entirely.
How To Burp a Baby
If your baby needs burping, you can try a couple of different methods to get results. The main difference between techniques is how you hold your baby. No matter how you choose to burp, always make sure to support your baby’s head and neck with slow, gentle movements.
It’s also good to have a cloth on-hand to protect your clothes and furniture from rogue spit-up. You may have to lay it over your shoulder, lap, or on the floor beneath you.
It may take some practice for both you and your newborn to fall into a healthy rhythm during burping. Don’t be afraid to try different techniques if you aren’t seeing results after a few minutes of trying.
Leaning is one of the most common methods of burping. It’s a versatile technique that works both standing up and sitting down, so you can use it wherever you and your baby might be.
First, you should drape a cloth over your shoulder and down your back to protect your shirt from spit-up. Then, hold your baby to your chest, resting their chin on your shoulder for support. Hold your baby’s head in place with one hand, then use the other to pat them on the back.
If the laying technique doesn’t work, you can try burping your baby in an upright, seated position. With this method, you should place a towel on your lap instead of your shoulder. You may also want to put a bib on your baby, as they’re likely to get spit-up on their front otherwise.
Use one hand to hold your baby upright, using your palm to support their chest and your fingers to hold their jaw in place. Be careful not to place any pressure on the throat. With your other hand, gently pat your baby’s back until they burp.
The third method you can try will have you laying your baby on their tummy.
Sitting down, position your baby across your knees so they’re laying perpendicular to your lap. Support their head and neck with one hand, keeping it above chest height. Otherwise, blood may rush to their head.
Gently pat your baby on the back, taking care to keep their head still and their spine straight. You may want to protect your lap with a cloth or even place a towel underneath your seat. It’s best not to do the laying method around carpets or upholstery.
How To Burp a Baby With Reflux
Infant reflux is a common occurrence where food makes its way from the stomach and back up the esophagus. In most cases, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Reflux can make it more of a challenge to burp your baby, though.
If your baby has reflux, it’s best to use the leaning method for burping sessions. Doing this will help prevent any accidental aspiration and improve reflux symptoms. Seating your baby upright or laying them on your lap could end up worsening infant reflux.
Baby Burping Tricks
If you’re having trouble burping your baby, there are a couple of foolproof tricks you can try to set things in motion. You’ll likely have to rely on these less and less as your baby starts to outgrow burping.
Massage Your Baby
Everybody loves a good massage, and babies are no exception. Massaging can help to improve circulatory and digestive health, reducing the risk of gas buildup. A good massage may even help relax babies and encourage the release of excess gas.
Even if a massage doesn’t provide immediate relief, it can still help boost the long-term digestive health of your baby. It’s also a great way to bond with your newborn.
Bicycle Their Legs
If you’ve ever tried working out on a bloated stomach, you might have noticed that motion can help get stubborn gas moving. Babies can also benefit from some movement after a big meal, though they might not have the muscle yet to do it themselves.
If your baby is having trouble burping, try laying them on their back and moving their legs in a gentle cycling motion. Doing this can help them release trapped gas while also improving early motor skills.
Adjust Your Baby’s Bottle
If you bottle-feed your baby, it could be the nipple that’s causing your burping problems. If milk flows through the nipple either too quickly or too slowly, it can make it a challenge for your baby to feed. They may take in extra air as they struggle to gulp down their milk.
Fortunately, many bottles come with an adjustable flow rate. You can either speed up or slow the flow to your baby’s comfort level. All babies suckle at different rates, so it may take some trial and error to find the best setting for your newborn.
Try a Different Formula
In some cases, it may not be the bottle but the formula that’s causing digestive issues. Babies have sensitive stomachs, and they may not be able to tolerate certain ingredients. Some babies even have food allergies that can make them gassy and irritable.
Some parents see improvements in digestive health when they switch from powdered to premixed formula.
Some parents see improvements in digestive health when they switch from powdered to premixed formula. It may also help if you switch to a higher-quality or even a prescription medical formula. It’s best to consult with your pediatrician before making any changes to your baby’s diet.
From Breast to Formula
If you are having trouble with a gassy baby after breastfeeding, they may be sensitive or allergic to components in breastmilk.
In some cases, switching to formula can help ease digestive issues. Speak with your pediatrician to see what they recommend if your baby shows signs of discomfort after breastfeeding.
What If My Baby Won’t Burp After Feeding?
Sometimes, babies won’t burp even after trying all the tricks in the book. In most cases, there’s no need to worry. Some babies don’t take in as much gas during feedings and may not need to release as much as others.
If your baby isn’t burping but still seems uncomfortable, try waiting a few minutes before attempting to burp again. You may want to switch up your usual technique. A different hold or orientation may encourage burping.
When To Stop Burping a Baby
There’s no set age where parents should start putting away the burping blanket. In most cases, you can stop burping your baby somewhere between four and six months of age. Some children may outgrow the need for burping even earlier, while others might need more time.
As babies grow stronger, they can hold themselves up during feedings to prevent excess air intake. Squirming, crawling, and moving around can also help to release excess gas more easily.
A baby’s digestive system becomes better developed by around four to six months. So, it’s less likely to produce excessive gas after feedings. Once you start your baby on solids, you’re less likely to see discomfort due to gas buildup.
How To Stop Burping a Baby
Babies don’t stop burping overnight. Instead, you can slowly reduce their burping as you feed until they can manage entirely on their own.
It’s best to slowly lengthen the time between burping as your baby begins to show signs of outgrowing it. Instead of pausing every two to three ounces, you can start pausing every three to four ounces. Eventually, you can wait until the end of your feeding session to try burping.
When your baby isn’t burping after meals, it’s often a sign that they’re ready to stop entirely. Regardless, many parents decide to continue burping before bedtime past six months to ensure a full and restful night’s sleep.
If your baby no longer needs burping after mealtime, you may be safe ditching the nighttime burping sessions. You can try going one or more nights without burping your baby to see how they respond.
If your child sleeps restfully throughout the night, they likely don’t need burping to deal with excess gas. But, if they wake up or act fussy, bedtime burping can help soothe their stomach.
Burping is a natural part of parenting a newborn. It helps keep your baby healthy, happy, and comfortable by getting rid of excess gas after feedings. After a certain point, your baby will no longer need regular burping. It can be challenging for parents to figure out just when to stop burping a baby.
While most experts recommend you stop burping between four and six months, every baby is different. While some might take longer, others may outgrow burping more quickly. With healthy feeding habits, you can help to reduce your baby’s need for burping no matter what their age.
Remember that it’s always best to go slow when changing your baby’s daily routine. It would be best if you eased them off of burping as their bodies develop. Eventually, they’ll be able to handle excess gas themselves without help from Mom or Dad.
P.S. Did you ever wonder how many burp cloths you need? Check out this expert guide that I wrote for you, mom hero!
Hi – I’m Alina and I am a soon to be mom going through the journey of becoming a parent. I am a writer at heart and I love sharing about pregnancy tips and other busy mom hacks.