For your first newborn, one of the things you will repeat often is burping them from day to night. Since your little one consumes all the calories in the form of liquid, they tend to also take in a lot of air with it. This air trapped in their gastrointestinal system needs to be released, and burping them is the best way to do it.
Kids and adults can release their own gas, but babies need help because they have little control over how their bodies are positioned. The average time for your baby to burp may take from a minute to up to 5 minutes. It’s important to help your baby burp for the initial 6 months until they learn how to sit upright and gain more control over their bodies.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to burping your little one. What positions are best? How to burp a sleeping baby? How can you prevent them from getting gassy in the first place? All these questions will be discussed in detail.
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Importance of burping your baby
Before we start talking about if you can burp your baby too hard, let’s understand why it is important in the first place, even to burp your little one. As adults, it’s very easy for us to burp after our meals or after we drink something, as it comes naturally to us.
For a newborn, it’s challenging to pull off this task by themselves as they are at a stage when they can’t hold themselves upright or gain control over themselves. A good position is essential to let the air bubbles move upward, passing through the throat and out of the mouth.
For the first 6-7 months, you as parents have to help them burp. As not being able to burp often and swallowing too much air can make a baby spit up or seem cranky or gassy.
Can you burp a baby too hard?
Apparently, yes, you can! As you are burping your baby, you might be burping them harder than you think they are. Clues to watch out for:
- If your baby starts crying or wriggles out of your arms every time, you are burping them.
- If the place where you are patting them turns red.
- If they show any kind of other discomforts.
Look for signs when you are burping your baby, and if you notice something is off about the way they are reacting to your patting, you’re probably doing it hard enough.
Remember, your little one will probably burp in a window of 5 minutes of you patting them on their back. If they don’t, then you should stop patting and try it later on. Never force a burp out of your little one.
Best 3 positions to burp your baby.
1) Upright position
The most convenient and easy-to-follow position is the upright one for your baby to burp comfortably and naturally. As adults, we burp in an upright position, be it sitting down or standing; the same goes for your baby. The only thing for you to remember is how your little ones cannot support themselves for the first 6 months.
To help them, just hold them close to your body, in an upright position, like you’re hugging them. Carefully their chin should be resting on your shoulder, with your arm supporting their bottom. The other hand should gently pat their back for them to burp.
2) Lap position
This one is a bit to watch out for. As you sit your baby on your lap while supporting their chest and head with one hand, by cradling their chin in the palm and resting the heel of your hand on their chest (careful to grip their chin, not throat). Now, use the other hand to pat their back gently.
3) Face-down position
Lay your infant face-down in your lap and make sure their face is in a higher position than their chest. If need be, support their head and then pat their back gently to induce a burp.
When to burp your baby?
A very crucial thing to know is when exactly you should burp your baby. As you start feeding your little one, sometimes in between the feed, you might notice your little one begins to feel uneasy and start squirming in your arms. This is your cue to sit them in the position you prefer to burp them and start patting them.
If the feed goes smoothly, then all you have to do is burp them after feeding them. Do this every time you feed them, although they don’t need to burp every time. Don’t force them to burp; if it’s not coming naturally, then take a small break of 15 minutes and then try again. Sometimes, they might not burp at all.
How to burp a sleeping baby?
Just as we adults tend to drift off to a nap after our afternoon meal, so do many babies during nighttime. As they are feeding and the perfect environment is set for them to sleep, they drift off quite easily. But even then, you need to make sure to burp your little one to avoid any nighttime crisis.
Just as your burp your baby when they are awake, so you do when they have drifted off to sleep. Just make sure to do it as gently as possible, without startling them, and they will burp in their sleep. You can use the same positions you do when they are awake.
How to prevent your baby from getting gassy?
Your baby becomes gassy when they swallow too much air while feeding, and that is bound to happen. But there are ways by which you can prevent them from getting too gassy on your end. You just have to make sure they aren’t feeding too quickly and keep control of that; try the tips mentioned below.
When using a bottle to feed:
- When you’re feeding your little one, make sure to check the flow of the nipple you’re using. Using a nipple with a slow flow is beneficial to newborns and keeps control of the speed with which they will consume the milk.
- The angle of the bottle is the next thing in focus. When you’re feeding your baby and hold the bottle to help them, make sure to keep it in alignment with the speed they are consuming. Having the bottle down too low or too upright may cause them to swallow more air.
- Keep in check the nipple of the bottle. Make sure it’s not worn out, and change if it is.
When breastfeeding your baby:
- As you’re feeding and you notice your baby gulping too fast and gasping for air, then pull away. It’s a sure sign that they are feeding way too fast and that your current flow is too fast for them. Take them away from feeding for a few minutes and start again when you feel the flow won’t be that fast.
- Different positions benefit different babies. While you think a position is best for you, it might not be so for your infant. So, experiment with different positions that are both comfortable for you and your baby.
- Sometimes, some nipples are big, and some are small for different babies. Making sure they are latched on perfectly is something you should pay attention to. Not too much or too little of the adjoining area of the nipple should be in their mouth, and again they would swallow more air than milk.
We got to know the importance of burping a baby; and how it helps your baby so much after they are done feeding. While burping is important, it is not a necessity and should not be forced upon your baby. If it is evident that even after 5 minutes, your baby isn’t burping, you should take a breather and try again.
If you continue to force a burp out of them, you might actually end up burping them too hard! To prevent this from happening, I explained important positions that you can use to burp your baby, whichever suits you both the best. Also, even if your baby has fallen asleep, there are ways you can burp them even then!
Burping is all good and well, but we also touched upon how you can prevent your baby from swallowing excess air, which makes them gassy in the first place. Burping is not something to overthink, just a natural phenomenon with which you help your little one until they are fit to do so by themselves.