Burping a baby is something all parents have to do, but it’s not always as easy as those adorable pictures with a baby on their shoulder. You might burp a newborn that won’t burp.
I assumed that burping would always be easy, but nothing as a parent is easy!
If your baby doesn’t like burping, here are all the tricks you need to know.
Why Do Babies Need to be Burped?
Babies end up with a lot of air in their bellies, and that might not seem like a big deal to you. However, it’s like having gas trapped at the bottom of a can – it eventually causes an eruption.
While your baby’s stomach won’t explode, it leads to belly aches, spitting up milk, and overall discomfort.
No parent wants their baby to be uncomfortable, so burping is the best option we have. Most parents have no idea that babies get so much gas in their bellies, but it happens for various reasons.
1. Swallowing Air
Babies swallow air a lot, especially when they eat too fast. This is because the milk comes out of the nipple too fast, or they’re so hungry that they swallow too fast.
Babies have to gulp when a nursing mama has too much milk to keep up with the letdown.
That’s not the only reason that babies swallow air. They also take in air when crying!
2. During Digestion
Sometimes, the foods that you eat cause your baby to have gas. Some foods are more likely to cause gas, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and beans. Soda and caffeine, like coffee, lead to gas as well.
3. Food Intolerance
Your baby may have an intolerance or reaction to a food you eat or the formula you picked. Dairy intolerance is most common for babies.
When babies drink milk that contains an intolerance, their bodies create more gas. That leads to more discomfort.
Do All Babies Need to Be Burped?
Not all babies need to be burped, but if your baby has acid reflux or colic, they need to be burped more than others.
Some babies have no issues with gas in their digestive system, falling asleep with ease and burping when needed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that breastfed babies need to be burped less because nursing causes less air to enter their digestive system. However, one study indicates that some burped babies spit up more than those who aren’t!
So, the answer is – no, not all babies need to be burped.
What is the Perfect Time to Burp a Hard to Burp Baby?
The best time to burp a newborn is when they’re feeding or right after they stop feeding. Most babies need to be burped several times throughout a feeding to expel extra gas in their digestive tract.
If you’re a breastfeeding mom, burp your baby while changing breasts. Bottle-fed babies need to be burped after two to three ounces of formula or breast milk.
Babies tend to take in more air while bottle feeding, which is why you need to burp more frequently to avoid an upset stomach.
If you notice that your baby still has excess gas after burping, you need to burp twice as he feeds – once in the middle of feeding before changing breasts and when he’s done eating.
How Long Will Burping a Baby Take?
If your baby is easy to burp, then burping only takes a few minutes or seconds. At times, my baby lets one out as soon as I lift him to my shoulder. Other times, they come out as your baby feeds.
If you have a newborn that is hard to burp, it takes longer. It might take five to ten minutes to get a good one to come out.
Is It OK if Newborn Doesn’t Burp?
It’s important that parents always attempt to burp their baby, but sometimes your newborn won’t burp, no matter what you do.
Don’t stress about it!
As long as your baby isn’t spitting up excessive amounts of milk or showing signs of excess gas, your baby might not need to burp after that feeding.
How Long Do You Burp a Newborn If They Don’t Burp?
If your baby doesn’t burp after five minutes, it’s time to give you and your baby a break. Lay your baby down in their playpen or swing and relax for a few minutes.
Then, pick up your baby and try again. If he doesn’t burp after the second try, you don’t need to keep trying.
When Do You Stop Burping a Baby?
Parents can stop burping their babies when they’re between two and four months old. This is because babies develop the ability to burp on their own after turning two months old.
Their neck and stomach muscles are stronger by four to six months old and stop allowing as much excess air to enter.
How to Burp a Newborn That Won’t Burp
If you have a newborn that is hard to burp, try a few of these tested and trusted methods. Some babies burp better in different positions, so trying a few will give you the best results.
Not all babies burp over the shoulder!
My son preferred to lay across my lap to burp, but it took time and experimenting to find the best way to burp a hard burper.
Try Sitting on Your Lap
You might assume that having a newborn means you cannot set them on your lap to burp.
That assumption is wrong. Many babies love and prefer to burp this way.
Place a burping cloth or a bib on your baby’s chest or in your hand. Then, support your baby’s chest and head by sitting him on your lap, facing a side away from you.
His chin should sit in your hand to make this easiest. Then, use your other hand to pat him on his back gently.
Sometimes, a bit of gentle bouncing also encourages burping.
Burp Lower on the Chest
Lift your newborn in an upright or semi-upright position, placing your baby on your chest. This works well while seated in a rocking chair.
Babies love to curl their knees up; this helps them release gas easier.
Make sure you hold your baby’s head while you hold him in this position and wait patiently. Sometimes, simply being in his position will help your baby release gas.
Other times, this position lets your baby burp easier.
Lay Your Baby Across Your Arm
The baby sloth position works great for babies who cannot burp.
Place your baby across your arm, supporting his tummy with your arm and holding his head in your hand. Laying your baby on your arm places pressure on his stomach, encouraging burping.
While your baby is in his position, gently massage his back.
Try Massaging His Belly
My babies loved to have their bellies massaged.
You can do this in several ways. First, lay your baby on his tummy on a flat yet firm surface. Then, apply gentle yet consistent pressure on your baby’s back, massaging up and down.
I also gently massage their bellies; placing a warm washcloth over their stomach encourages gas release.
Lay Your Baby Across Your Lap
One of the best ways to burp a baby is to place the baby on his tummy across your lap with his head turned to either side.
Now, gently rub and pat your baby’s back. The pressure on his stomach,, along with the patting and rubbing, works like a miracle for many babies that are hard to burp.
10 Tricks to Burp a Baby That Won’t Burp
Unfortunately, sometimes, no matter what burping methods you use, your newborn refuses to burp.
Take a break first; you don’t need to stress about burping.
Then, move onto these tricks. Part of this is considering why your baby is uncomfortable. Sometimes, changes need to be made to keep your baby comfortable even if they don’t burp.
1. Keep Your Baby Calm
Keeping your baby calm is important when he won’t burp. Crying and fussing cause your baby to take in more air, which is the last thing your baby needs right now.
Burping a fussy baby is much harder than burping a calm baby.
2. Use Different Positions
Once you have a calm baby, use a different position than the one you tried before. Generally, you should use one position for five to ten minutes before switching.
3. Apply Different Amounts of Pressure
Using different positions with varying amounts of pressure is one way to get a burp out of your baby.
Have you ever pressed on your stomach and caused a burp?
The pressure did that. Firm yet gentle and consistent pressure encourages the gas to rise and come out in the form of a burp (or a fart).
4. Bounce Your Baby
I’m not sure why it works; maybe you’re moving the gas bubble up with the bouncing motion. No matter what, bouncing your baby gently is a great way to get your baby to let out some gas.
5. Bicycle Legs
My babies love when I bicycle their legs. Typically, this trick works for a baby that needs to fart, but it also releases gas for burping.
Bicycling legs is so easy!
Lay your baby on his back on a firm, flat surface, and grab his legs. Gently pedal his legs back and forth in a rhythmic movement.
Bicycling legs apply pressure to different parts of the abdomen, leading to farting and burping.
6. Wear Your Baby in a Carrier
Do you have things to do, but your baby is refusing to burp?
Put him in your favorite baby carrier and wear your baby on your chest until he finally burps. Then, while you wash the dishes and complete other household tasks, the burp will eventually come out without any extra work from you.
7. Consider Your Diet
If your baby is uncomfortable but refuses to burp, consider your diet if you’re breastfeeding. Sometimes, things that you eat could be the problem rather than not releasing gas.
The first thing you should do is keep a food diary of what you eat. This helps you identify what you ate before your baby was most uncomfortable.
Once you determine if a specific food or food type makes your baby uncomfortable, you must eliminate this food.
8. Make Sure You Are Using the Right Bottles
Some bottles allow more air in than others; you want bottles that have vents. Ones that use disposable liners, vents, or straw-like systems are often labeled anti-colic bottles.
Those are what you need to buy!
These bottles allow the air to come out of the bottle rather than enter your baby’s digestive system.
Also, always make sure you’re using the appropriate nipple sizes for your baby. If you’re using a bottle nipple that is too big for your baby, they’ll be forced to swallow quickly, allowing more air in as they try to keep up with the flow.
9. Use Gas Drops
If you can’t get your baby to burp, the next best thing is releasing gas! Some parents swear by gas drops like Mylicon or Little Tummy’s Gas Relief. Others say that they only have a placebo effect.
In my experience, gas drops work, and if I need to help my baby, I give them these drops.
10. Try Gripe Water
Another remedy that I swear by is gripe water; we always have it available for our babies. Gripe water is a mixture of stomach calming herbs like dill, ginger, chamomile, and peppermint.
If you want to stop your baby from having hiccups, gripe water is the solution.
How to Burp a Sleeping Baby
One of the biggest problems I faced was that my baby would fall asleep breastfeeding before I had the chance to burp him. Since I wanted to prevent belly aches or spitting up, I knew I needed to figure out how to burp a sleeping baby.
Generally, it’s the same thing as burping an awake baby, but everything is much slower. You want to keep your baby asleep.
Gently place your infant over your shoulder, supporting his head with your hand, and gently rub and pat his back.
If you lay your baby down across your lap, make sure his head is sideways to prevent choking on milk if it comes out of his mouth or nose.
It can be hard to burp a newborn sometimes, but with these tricks, you have the best chance of getting your baby to release gas and feel better. If your baby won’t burp, don’t stress; not all babies need to all the time!