How to burp your baby

by Susan Stuck

Burping babyMy sister and I had our first children within a couple weeks of each other. She had twin boys; I had a girl. The three babies' burping styles were as individual as the youngsters would soon prove to be.

One nephew's resonant burps rivaled Barney's of The Simpsons fame. The other boy's burps were so quiet you barely knew they were there. My daughter would guzzle like a racehorse, yet rarely seemed to need any burping at all.

Infants burp because they swallow air when feeding. By the time they're four or five months old, they've learned to eat more efficiently and usually don't need burping. Generally breastfed babies don't need as much burping as bottle-fed babies because they tend to swallow less air.

But remember, every baby is different. If you're bottle-feeding, you might find that switching to a different bottle-and-nipple combination helps your baby swallow less air. Don't stock up on too many of the same kind of bottles until you know which one works best.

Burping Techniques

When burping your baby, repeated gentle pats on the back should do the trick. Remember to place a towel over your shoulder or in your lap in case your baby spits up.

There's more than one way to hold an infant for burping. Experiment to find the position that's most comfortable and effective for you and your baby.

1. Sit upright and hold your baby against your chest.

Hold your baby so his chin is resting on your shoulder. Support him with one hand and gently pat his back with the other.

2. Hold your baby sitting up.

Sit your baby on your lap facing away from you. Use one hand to support your baby's chest and head. Use the other hand to pat her back. This position may work better when your baby has more head and neck control.

3. Lay your baby face down on your lap.

Support baby's chin and jaw with one hand. Make sure his head is higher that his chest. Gently pat baby's back with your other hand.

When using any burping method, give up or try a different position if you don't get a burp after a minute or two. The baby may not be ready to burp just yet.

What methods work best for you? Share your secrets in the comments!