With a new baby in the house, some of the common questions that get raised almost right at the start are about burping. And new moms must’ve been told countless times about the importance of burping your baby during and sometimes after each feed by their relatives, friends or by other mothers. And without doubt, burping is an extremely important part of caring for your newborn. And today we are going to discuss all about newborn burping technique.
Why is burping necessary?
As a newborn or infant drinks milk, they tend to swallow quite a bit of air in the process. This swallowed air builds up in the stomach and causes discomfort to the baby. This can lead to the baby being restless and fussy – but in a lot of other cases, it can also lead to colic pain. What burping does is:
- It helps to release this trapped gas, making the babies feel more comfortable.
- It is also seen to stimulate the baby.
And therefore, burping is quite important
The next question is…
When should you burp the baby?
Ideally, you should burp your baby between meals. At first babies tend to latch and feed quite quickly. After drinking a considerable amount, when your baby comes up for air, that’s when you should burp them for about 1 minute. Then go back to the rest of the milk. After your baby has had his fill, burp once again and that’s it. But that said, there are a few pointers to keep in mind here as well:
- Not all babies burp quite a lot – and some may not need it every time.
- Breastfed babies tend to swallow much less air than bottle fed ones – and therefore require less burping.
- Some babies burp more easily, some do not.
- Also, if your baby gets fussy in the middle of a feed, without having had his fill, it usually means that you need to burp him before continuing.
But it all comes down to one thing – the how of it, or in other words, the technique…
What is the right way to burp the baby?
Well, there can be a number of different ways – and your choice should depend on which you are comfortable with and which works for your baby. But in general there are 2 major techniques that a maternity nurse will teach you about – and almost all parents find success with either or both. These techniques are:
- Over the Shoulder
- On the Lap
And now we’ll take a look at how each is done:
Over the Shoulder Burping
You can do this either sitting or standing – whichever you are comfortable with, and works best for your baby. Start by holding the baby against your chest with his head on your shoulder. Your baby should be facing you and your arm should be supporting his bottom. Also remember to have a burping cloth on your shoulder. This is because babies often tend to bring up milk when they burp.
Now switch the baby to the side on which you have the cloth, and gently but firmly start to pat the baby’s back with your free hand. Start near his bottom and work your way up – and then repeat.
There is another way, and this is to rub your baby’s back firmly but gently. Ideally you should rub in an upward motion to facilitate movement of the trapped air upwards.
You can also alternate between patting and rubbing, till your baby burps. With practice you will figure out what works best for your baby. In case the process of burping seems to make your baby feel disturbed and the baby starts to cry, stop and try to divert attention by talking to your baby, rocking him and trying to soothe him before continuing.
Now we move on to the second technique…
On the Lap Burping
For this technique you have to sit on a comfortable chair. You can use your feeding chair. Place your baby on one of your legs in a sitting position, facing the other leg. Be sure to support your baby with both hands at this stage. You should also have placed a burping cloth on your other leg – just as you did on your shoulder for the first technique.
Now while supporting your baby’s chest and head with one hand, use the other to lightly but firmly pat his back. Your baby should be leaning into your hand, but his head should be upright.
The technique is to use your supporting hand as a wedge for your baby’s face. Your forefinger and thumb should be supporting the baby’s jaw, while the palm will be against the top of his chest. As you pat, work your way upwards between his shoulder blades. You can also rub his back in between pats.
Learn to be gentle yet firm, and remember that your baby may not burp every time. But that said, these techniques should be able to get you on the right track. And as for these techniques being demonstrated, check out this short instructional video from YouTube now:
Burping for a new mom seems like a daunting task – and most mothers are unsure of themselves. But armed with the details of newborn burping technique, you should be able to get to a good start – and thereafter, experience is your best teacher!
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Now that your baby is fed, help her so that she can have a sound sleep.