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The Art of Burping

Feeding a newborn can be very challenging, whether it’s the first or even third newborn, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Burping is one of the parent skills that needs to be mastered well to help babies get rid of those unpleasant gas.  The “Art of burping” cannot really be passed on from one baby to another since most babies burp better in one position rather than another.


What is a Burp / Wet burp/ Erp?

Unreleased air that is trapped in a baby’s sensitive digestive tract  can cause discomfort and fussiness.  The way to remove the excess, trapped air is to burp the baby. Sometimes, the baby may (wet) burp out stomach contents, so prepare a burp cloth! But, It is also normal for babies to have small vomit following burping as long as their weight are in normal range.

There are many factors that cause these excess air. It could be due to swallowing of air when crying, feeding etc . Babies who are bottle fed are more prone to having trapped air in their stomachs as compared to those who are breastfed. When bottle feeding, the shaking of the milk bottle will create air bubbles   that trap air in and can be unfortunately swallowed by your baby.  You can take steps to reduce the amount of gas consumed by your baby by  trying premixed formula, letting the mixture settle for a while before feeding it and using milk bottles with anti-colic features. For breastfeeding, the mom’s diet (such as dairy products) may produce air. Therefore, a diet change can be worth a shot, but do keep in mind that it can be tricky to find the food that causes the excess air since some food may take a longer time to get out of the system.


When to / not to burp?

All babies are different. However, babies will show several signs such as crying incessantly, being fidgety, squirming, losing interest in feeding and other signs that indicate discomforts.  In general, you will need to burp your baby midway through a feed or at the end of the feed. If your baby seems content,  you won’t need to burp your baby. By 4 to 6 months, burping won’t Be necessary as your baby gets more mobile and trapped wind will no longer be such a problem.


How to burp?

Now comes the important question, how to burp your baby. There are a few burping positions and its effectiveness depends on individual baby. Try experimenting with these position and see which is the most effective for your baby.

Position 1: Over the shoulder position

To do this, hold your baby firmly against your shoulder, and apply a patting or rubbing motion on your child’s back. Using your other arm, support your baby’s lower back and bottom.

Position 2: Face down, on the lap

Place your newborn on your lap with their head resting on one leg and their stomach over the other leg. Support the baby with one hand, while the other hand applies a patting or rubbing motion and some pressure on their back.

Position 3: Sitting  position

Position your baby on your lap with their body leaning forward. Support the chest and head with one hand while you pat your baby’s back with the other.

When using these methods, do remember to support the baby’s head and neck safely during positioning for burping, and move the baby in a gentle, slow manner as infants usually do not like rapid movements.

If nothing seems to bring gas relief to your baby, you would need to consult your pediatrician who may prescribe your child with Over the counter medicine such as simethicone gas drops.

Burping a child may seem intimidating at first, but it takes some practice and this would be a breeze. As there is no one right way to burp your child, feel free to experiment with different positions!


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