There are some aspects of parenting a newborn that seem like they should just come naturally, right? After all, how hard can it be to cuddle a baby to sleep? Or to put those tiny little toes into the tiniest little socks? Or to get a baby who already needs to burp, to burp.
Well… that last one may take a little more effort than you realize.
You see, little ones need a bit of extra help with their burping. They don’t yet have the muscle development to handle that task well all on their own. Sure, a baby who doesn’t get help burping will likely still figure it out — but they are also likely going to be in a good deal of pain as they do. Which isn’t fun for anyone.
So burping your baby is important. And it can even be an adorable bonding time; one more excuse to talk to and hold your newborn.
Like us, babies can get air trapped in their stomachs. The difference is that because of how they eat, sucking on either a bottle or nipple, they are actually more likely to have regular occurrences of that trapped air. And unlike us, they don’t yet know how to deal with that on their own.
Which is where burping your baby comes in.
Babies who are bottle fed generally need to be burped more than babies who are breastfed, simply because the bottle allows for them to swallow more air. But every baby is different, so paying attention to individual cues is important. In the early weeks and months of infancy, your baby may benefit from a break during feedings for burping. This can help them to rid their tummies of that air as feeding is occurring, making them more comfortable and clearing up space for them to continue eating.
Whether you are burping your baby during or after feedings, though, there are a few options for how you hold your baby as you’re burping. You can hold him or her to your chest, so that their chin rests on your shoulder. Or you can hold them sitting on your lap, leaning forward with your hand against their chest and their chin resting in the space between your thumb and forefinger. Either way, having a cloth near their mouth (either on your shoulder or lap) can save you from getting spit-up on—which is advisable! You can also place your baby laying face down on your lap, if he or she seems more comfortable with that.
Once they are positioned, you just need to gently pat and rub their back until they have a few burps.
Again, all babies are different, so if your little one doesn’t seem to need to burp as often, pay attention to that. But if he or she is fussier than normal, give burping your baby a try. You never know what relief getting rid of a little bit of trapped air might bring!
Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2015. All rights reserved.