Don’t forget your muslin! Your baby may very well burp and bring up a little or a lot of milk. (Although some babies won’t bring anything up at all).

Babies often take in air while both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. The air becomes trapped in their little tummies and needs to be released because it can be extremely painful for them, and quite an earful for you. The best time to burp them is in the middle of their feed or just after. If your baby falls asleep during their feed, or after, and you didn’t get the chance to burp them, don’t worry, not all babies need to burp before falling asleep. Breastfeeding babies tend to swallow less air than bottle-fed babies so they may not need to be burped after every feed. You will know if they need burping because there will be a lot of squirming and fussing going on.

How to burp your baby

To help your baby bring up the trapped air, focus on the left side of their back, which is where their tummy is located and gently rub/pat/massage until you hear a burp and they’re happy again. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Hold your baby upright against your shoulder with one hand under their bottom and the other on their back patting gently.
  • With one hand spread over baby’s chest and supporting their chin in between your thumb and forefinger, gently sit the baby forward on your lap, and pat with your other hand supporting their back.
  • Place your baby tummy-down across your lap (their tummy will be on one of your legs, their head on the other, turned sideways). With one hand securely holding baby, pat or rub their back with the other.

You will probably try a few different ways to see which one your baby likes best. Once you find the easiest way for your baby to burp it will usually only take a few minutes. After that try, if you can, to keep them upright for the next 20 to 30 minutes, especially if they are prone to reflux.

Burping older babies

Once your baby is a little older and has better head control another way to burp them is by holding them upright in front of you, facing out, whilst you take a little stroll. Make sure you have one hand under their bottom and the other arm putting slight pressure on their tummy. The motion of you walking and the slight pressure will help them burp.

When they are 2 months old they are more likely to burp on their own. At around 4 to 6 months they have stronger neck and stomach muscles that stop them from swallowing so much air.