Burping a Baby

When to Burp

Expect to burp a bottle-fed baby at the end of every feeding. Some babies need to burp after every ounce or so.

Breastfed babies don’t always need to burp after a feeding, as they may not take in as much air as a bottle-fed baby. When baby is done with the first breast, try burping him. If baby does not burp within a few minutes, try again at the end of the feeding.

Some babies will also get gassy after crying for long periods of time, as they may swallow air as they cry.

Cues to watch for: If he is drowsy and seems relaxed and on the verge of sleep, he may not need to burp, so just try for a little while. On the other hand, if a baby is really gassy, you can tell by these cues: baby’s belly is taut and round, he is grimacing and making faces, his body is stiff, and he may arch his back. This baby needs burping!

How to Burp

To burp a baby, the goal is to put some pressure on his belly at the same time you put pressure on his back. You can lay him so his belly is resting on your shoulder or on your leg, then rub his back in firm, slow circles to bring up the gas bubbles. For more on burping, see www.askdrsears.com/ or https://patienteducation.osumc.edu/Documents/women-infant_burp.pdf

Spitting Up:

When your baby burps, he may spit up milk, especially after a feeding. The spit-up may look like milk, or may have curds in it, like cottage cheese. Generally, spit up looks like a larger quantity of milk than it is. As long as your baby is gaining weight adequately, there is no need to worry.

If you baby spits up frequently, try sitting him up during feedings, and just after eating.

Call your baby’s medical provider if the spit-up seems to be associated with pain, or if it is projectile vomiting more than twice in one day. Call the doctor is is not growing well, does not have frequent BMs and wet diapers, or seems sick.


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