Young babies naturally fuss and get cranky when they swallow air during feedings. Although this occurs in both breast-fed and bottle-fed infants, it’s seen more often with the bottle. When it happens, you’re better off stopping the feeding than letting your infant fuss and nurse at the same time. This continued fussing will cause her to swallow even more air, which will only increase his/her discomfort and may make her spit up.
A much better strategy is to burp him/her frequently, even if your baby is not showing any discomfort. The pause and the change of position alone will slow her gulping and reduce the amount of air she takes in. If you’re bottle-feeding, burp your baby every 2-3ounces (60-90ml). If you’re nursing, burp him/her when he/she switches breasts. Some breast-fed babies don’t swallow very much air, and therefore they may not need to burp frequently.
How to burp a baby
Here are a few tried and true techniques. After a little experimentation, you’ll find which ones work best for your infant.
1. Hold the baby upright with his head on your shoulder, supporting his head and back while you gently pat his back with your other hand.
- Sit the baby on your lap, supporting his chest and head with one hand while patting his back with your other hand.
Lay the baby on your lap with his back up. Support his head so it is higher than his chest, and gently pat or rotate your hand on his back.
If he still hasn’t burped after several minutes, continue feeding him/her and don’t worry; no baby burps every time. When he’s finished, burp him again and keep him in an upright position for ten to fifteen minutes so he doesn’t spit up. Don’t be in a hurry to lay your baby down after feeding.