Is it important to burp the baby after every feed?

Along with changing nappies

Along with changing nappies, one of the first new skills first-time parents need a lot of practice with is when to burp their baby. Gas is the air that is trapped in the gastrointestinal system and needs to be released. Burping is a way for parents to help the baby get rid of this gas.

What is a burp?

It is the release of bubbles of gas from the esophagus and the mouth. These gas bubbles may also be released through your little one’s other end, resulting in a different noise and smell. Some burping may be accompanied by regurgitation, hence the reason to always use a burp cloth when burping a baby.

Why do babies need to burp?

When gas bubbles get stuck in a baby’s stomach, they can cause a feeling of discomfort, which usually causes babies to squirm or cry. They use crying as a signal to announce almost any feeling, whether they are tired, hungry, dirty, or bored, so it can be hard to tell if the crying is due to discomfort caused by gas. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you burp your child regularly, even if they don’t show discomfort or release gas when you burp them.

These are the three main ways babies get gas in their tummies:

Swallowing air – When babies suckle or drink something from a bottle, they inevitably swallow some air, which enters the stomach along with the milk or formula. This happens more often in bottle-fed babies, who tend to eat more quickly.

Digestion – The breakdown of certain foods in the large intestine by bacteria can naturally create gas. This includes both foods that the baby consumes and foods that the mother consumes and passes on in breast milk. According to the National Institutes of Health, foods that contain carbohydrates are most likely to cause gas. Some of the most common offenders are beans, vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), sugar-free candy and gum, and soda.

Allergic reaction or food intolerance – If the baby is breastfeeding and has an intolerance to certain foods in the mother’s diet or to a type of formula, her body may react by creating more gas. Dairy intolerance is the most common culprit here.

When to burp the baby?

The AAP recommends that you put your baby to burp during feeding breaks and when he finishes eating. For breastfeeding mums, try burping before changing the side of the breast. For bottle-feeding mums, the AAP recommends burping every 60 to 90 ml for newborns up to 6 months old.

What is the importance of burping the baby after feeding?

Some mothers get the hang of it right away, some have more difficulty with the famous “handle” of the baby in relation to the beak, store, use a pump, what is the best position to breastfeed… So many doubts! But perhaps one of the biggest – and simplest – is whether the baby should burp after feeding or not and the importance of doing this at each feed.

Burping can prevent problems such as reflux and colic

Most of the time, when sucking, the baby not only swallows milk, but also air. This is common, but if this air is not released in the right way, it can lead to reflux, i.e. the baby may regurgitate while lying down, for example, causing suffocation. Another problem that may happen when the baby does not burp after feeding is the accumulation of gas, causing colic and discomfort in the child.

Not burping may create a false sense of satiety

As the baby is not only sucking milk but also some air, the stomach becomes full more quickly and the baby refuses the breast. However, this does not mean that the baby is no longer hungry. As the air occupies the space that should be filled by the milk, he ends up not being completely satisfied, giving a false sense of satiety. Therefore, after the feeding, the ideal is to burp the baby with the air already swallowed and wait for him to seek the breast again.

Along with changing nappies, one of the first new skills first-time parents need a lot of practice with is when to burp their baby. Gas is the air that is trapped in the gastrointestinal system and needs to be released. Burping is a way for parents to help the baby get rid of this gas.

Do I always need to burp the baby after breastfeeding?

Preferably yes, but this is not a rule. However, there are some ways of understanding when the baby really needs to burp. One of the first signs is that the baby has just fed, begins to cry, but refuses to take the breast or bottle again. This is a sign that he has swallowed air and probably gas is causing some discomfort. The baby’s facial expressions can also tell if he needs to burp: a few facial grimaces after lying down are enough to realize that the child is uncomfortable and needs to burp.

However, in some cases, if the baby is sleeping and does not show any of these “symptoms”, it is not necessary to wake him up to burp, but it is essential to keep the baby in a safe position in case he regurgitates. The important thing is to recognize the signs the child gives you and understand its needs. This takes time, after all, you are still getting to know each other, aren’t you? But as feeding becomes more regular, you will understand the signs and will be able to tell if he has too much air in his stomach or not.

The best burping positions

There are two common positions: over the shoulder or sitting on your lap. Try both to see which is more comfortable for you and more effective for your child. Whichever position you choose, make sure you have a cloth nearby to avoid any mess.

How to burp the baby

Once you’ve got him in position, you can start encouraging burping. Pat baby gently on the back for a minute or so. For newborns, support the head and neck. If your baby is fussy and still not burping, stop and let him rest on your lap for a minute and then try again. Changing the baby’s position may help move those gas bubbles to a better position to be released.

What to do if burping the baby did not relieve discomfort?

Try other positions and techniques to help speed up the process. Parents can help by giving a massage or pushing the legs back and forth with the baby lying on his back as if riding a bicycle. Keeping the baby awake and on his or her tummy can also help.

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