How to burp your baby

We all feel better after a good burp, so it’s no surprise that your baby does too. Trapped wind affects all babies, breast or bottle-fed. Some babies will burp (and fart!) more than others but that goes for adults too, right? Air bubbles stuck in their stomach can be uncomfortable, which we guarantee will make them more grizzly than usual. In which case, it’s worth knowing how to reduce the amount of air your kid is swallowing when they are feeding, when you should burp your baby, and the best burping techniques in the book.

Does your baby need burping?

Your baby might not need burping all the time; some need burping during and after every feed and some don’t. Only burp baby when they need burping. Are they looking content? Or maybe they’ve fallen asleep? That’s a baby who doesn’t need a burp. But if they’re squirming, crying or pulling away during a feed, things are probably a bit gassy.

How do you burp a baby? 

First, arm yourself with a muslin square to cover your shoulder or lap because the one time you don’t will be the time that they spew up a little bit of milk with the air. Typical!

You’ve got three options for releasing those trapped air bubbles. The main thing is making sure your baby’s tummy and back are straight and that you’re supporting their head and neck. Now select your favourite:

Over your shoulder

Rest your baby’s chin on your shoulder and use your hand to support their bottom. Rub their back gently with your other hand. Walking around and talking softly can help your baby relax too.

Sitting up on your lap

With your baby facing away from you, sit them on your lap. Put your hand on their chest (not too close to their throat) to support their chin and jaw while you burp them. Now lean them forwards a little and use your other hand to gently rub and pat their back.

Laying face down on your lap

Lie your baby face down across your knees with one hand supporting their chin (again, not too close to their throat). Gently rub and pat your baby’s back with your free hand.

None of these techniques working?

All is not lost! Try having your baby lie on their back as you gently massage their tummy. Also, while they’re in this position, move their legs back and forth as though they are riding an imaginary bicycle. Then try burping your baby again.

How can you prevent trapped wind?

Swallowing some air can be unavoidable, so don’t stress it. If you have a lot of milk that leaks or sprays when you’re breastfeeding, this can cause trapped wind. If your baby is still finding their way around a bottle, this can cause them to burp more too. Providing you master one of the three burping techniques above, releasing this trapped air shouldn’t be a problem.

Having your baby sit upright (if they can) during breast or bottle feeds may help reduce wind. For bottle feeds of formula or expressed milk, you can try using an anti-colic bottle that prevents your baby from taking in as much air when they’re feeding. Watch out for the hole on the teat of your baby’s bottle; if it’s too big, this can also be the cause of trapped wind. Pick up one with a smaller sized hole.