Do breastfed babies need to be burped after every feeding
Burping Your Baby (for Parents)
Reviewed by: Madhu Desiraju, MD
Primary Care Pediatrics at Nemours Children's Health
en español Hacer eructar a su bebé
An important part of feeding a baby is burping. Burping helps to get rid of some of the air that babies tend to swallow during feeding. Not being burped often and swallowing too much air can make a baby spit up, or seem cranky or gassy.
How to Burp Your Baby
When burping your baby, repeated gentle patting on your baby's back should do the trick. Cup your hand while patting — this is gentler on the baby than a flat palm.
To prevent messy cleanups when your baby spits up or has a "wet burp," you might want to place a towel or bib under your baby's chin or on your shoulder.
Try different positions for burping that are comfortable for you and your baby. Many parents use one of these three methods:
- Sit upright and hold your baby against your chest. Your baby's chin should rest on your shoulder as you support the baby with one hand. With the other hand, gently pat your baby's back. Sitting in a rocking chair and gently rocking with your baby while you do this may also help.
- Hold your baby sitting up, in your lap or across your knee. Support your baby's chest and head with one hand by cradling your baby's chin in the palm of your hand. Rest the heel of your hand on your baby's chest, but be careful to grip your baby's chin, not the throat. Use the other hand to pat your baby's back.
- Lay your baby on your lap on his or her belly. Support your baby's head and make sure it's higher than their chest. Gently pat your baby's back.
If your baby seems fussy while feeding, stop the session, burp your baby, and then begin feeding again. Try burping your baby every 2 to 3 ounces (60 to 90 milliliters) if you bottle-feed and each time you switch breasts if you breastfeed.
Try burping your baby every ounce during bottle-feeding or every 5 minutes during breastfeeding if your baby:
- tends to be gassy
- spits a lot
- has gastroesophageal reflux (GER)
- seems fussy during feeding
If your baby doesn't burp after a few minutes, change the baby's position and try burping for another few minutes before feeding again. Always burp your baby when feeding time is over.
To help prevent the milk from coming back up, keep your baby upright after feeding for 10 to 15 minutes, or longer if your baby spits up or has GERD. But don't worry if your baby spits sometimes. It's probably more unpleasant for you than it is for your baby.
Sometimes your baby may awaken because of gas. Picking your little one up to burp might put them back to sleep. As your baby gets older, don't worry if your child doesn't burp during or after every feeding. Usually, it means that your baby has learned to eat without swallowing too much air.
Babies with colic (3 or more hours a day of continued crying) might have gas from swallowing too much air during crying spells, which can make the baby even more uncomfortable. Check with your pediatrician before giving your baby anti-gas drops.
Reviewed by: Madhu Desiraju, MD
Date reviewed: June 2022
Burping a Newborn After Breastfeeding
Is burping a newborn after breastfeeding necessary? Discover whether you still need to burp your breastfed baby—the answer might surprise you.
I actually think my mom’s favorite thing to do with babies is to burp them. Fussy baby? “Oh, he must need to burp,” she’ll decide. Spit up coming out of his mouth? “Let me burp him for you.” She coos at them, saying “burp, burp, burp!” in a sing-song voice as she pats their backs.
I even think she would’ve kept burping them all through toddlerhood if given the chance.
Kidding aside, burping my babies definitely became a habit, right from the start. But early on, I started to wonder whether burping a breastfed baby at night was necessary. Do I keep patting and burping, or do I let him fall back asleep? Is it bad for him if he didn’t burp? What if he won’t burp after feeding?
After all, you hear that bottle-fed babies swallow more air compared to breastfed babies, who nurse directly from the breast.
So, I’d find myself holding the baby for what seemed like forever, delirious with sleep deprivation.
Burping a newborn after breastfeeding
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you’ve tried several times burping a newborn after breastfeeding to no avail. He either fell back asleep or didn’t make a single peep. Or you’re a first-time mom and genuinely curious (or have no idea) if you even need to burp a baby after each breastfeeding session.
After three boys and talking to countless moms, I’ve learned that it is important to give your newborn a chance to burp, even if you breastfeed. Here’s why:
- The baby might be a fast eater and still consume air during nursing
- Your letdown might be fast or strong, contributing to his gas
- He could take in air as he’s trying to latch (or if he has a shallow latch)
- Gas can still make its way into his body, like from regular digestion
In other words, just because a baby isn’t drinking from a bottle, doesn’t mean he’ll never need to burp.
Still, don’t assume you always have to burp your newborn—and sacrifice sleep in the process—after each feeding session. Take a look at a few best practices for burping a newborn after breastfeeding to help you find that balance:
1. Burp your baby between switching sides
Does your baby fuss after eating, or struggle to fall back asleep? Or does he have a lot of spit up after breastfeeding?
Sometimes a baby consumes so much milk—even if it’s milk he needs for a full tummy—that he feels uncomfortable right after. One of the best ways to pace your baby is to burp him between switching sides as well as after nursing.
Let’s say you nurse him on the right breast first. After he has emptied that side, spend a minute or two burping him before offering the left side. This gives him a mid-meal break and an opportunity to pass gas before having his full meal.
Free download: Do you struggle with getting him to sleep? His awake time just might be affecting how well he sleeps. Join my newsletter and grab your copy of One Mistake You’re Making with Your Baby’s Awake Time—at no cost to you—and discover one mistake you may be making with his awake time.
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2. Offer your baby a chance to burp each time
My general rule was: even if my baby won’t burp after breastfeeding, I would at least give him a chance to try.
After every feeding session, give your baby a chance to burp in case he needs to. This doesn’t mean you keep him upright until you finally hear that burp. After all, he might’ve even fallen asleep in the process, especially in the middle of the night.
But by burping him consistently after each feeding, you’re at least giving him a chance to expel any gas he might have. Plus, you’re keeping him upright or at an incline, which helps avoid spit up and digestion problems.
If he fell asleep, even holding him over your shoulder with a burp cloth for a few minutes and patting his back is good practice before setting him down.
Get tips on how to burp a baby that is hard to burp.
3. Keep your baby upright
It’s true that some breastfed babies simply don’t need as much burping. No matter how long you pat your baby, nothing comes out of him.
If that’s the case, then at least keep him upright or at an angle for a few minutes after breastfeeding. Don’t lay him flat—whether on his back or tummy—as this can cause spit up and make him feel uncomfortable. (It’s also why you don’t give a baby a bottle while he’s lying flat on his back.)
Instead, hold him over your shoulder, sit him on your lap, or prop him on a nursing pillow—anything so long as his head is higher than his tummy. And you generally don’t want to do tummy time, as that can press down on his stomach.
Learn 14 baby burping tricks that actually work.
When to stop burping a breastfed baby?
At what age do you stop burping a baby?
I learned that you can generally stop burping a baby once he has learned to sit on his own. You’ll also likely follow your baby’s lead, especially as he becomes more mobile and “has no time” for sitting still for patting and burping.
Learn more tips on when to stop burping a baby.
I’ll admit that I was one of those parents whose babies didn’t burp after every feeding. But rather than waiting for that burp that would never come, I held him over my shoulder for at least five minutes before laying him down.
During the day, I’d keep him upright or at an angle, rather than flat on his back or tummy, even if a burp never surfaced. And burping between switching sides—or even holding him upright over my shoulder—also helped prevent spit up.
You see, even if burping a newborn after breastfeeding doesn’t always result in a perfect burp, giving your baby even a few minutes to try can still help.
Unless you’re like my mom, who could spend just about all day patting the baby, singing “Burp, burp, burp!” all the while.
Get more tips:
- How to Burp a Baby (when You’ve Tried Everything Else)
- Newborn Life: Expectation vs Reality
- 8 Tips to Save for Maternity Leave
- 5 Useful Tips for New Dads in the Newborn Stage
- 9 Unique Tricks to Increase Your Milk Supply
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your copy of One Mistake You’re Making with Your Baby’s Awake Time—at no cost to you:0005
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Home Home ›!! How to help a child in spitting
↑ Verki special time for mom and her newborn baby. Together with the feeling of closeness and affection that feeding brings, understanding its nuances cannot but raise many questions, including the question of how to help an infant spit up. Regurgitation in a newborn is by no means always the result of a simple pat on his back.
In this article, we'll talk about the basics of helping a newborn spit up, as well as other questions you may have about spitting up.
Why do babies spit up?
Let's get this straight: Why do newborns need to burp in the first place? During feeding, children usually swallow extra air - this is called aerophagy. Spitting up helps prevent this air from entering the intestines, as well as vomiting, gas, and crankiness in the baby. To avoid the return of milk after feeding, you should give the baby the opportunity to burp more often.
How to help a newborn spit up?
During the first six months, the baby should be kept upright in a column for 10-15 minutes after each feed. This will help keep the milk in his stomach, but if the baby occasionally burps anyway, parents need not worry. While carrying your baby in an upright position, you can put a baby diaper or wipes on your shoulder to keep your clothes clean.
We've already seen why spitting up is important, now let's find out how to help your baby spit up. Parents should gently pat the baby on the back with a hand folded in a handful until he burps. Folding your hand into a handful is important because clapping with a flat palm may be too strong for an infant.
Every baby is different and there is no one right position for spitting up. To get started, you can try the following options:
- Sitting position with the baby on the chest. In this position, the parent puts the baby's head with his chin on his shoulder and with one hand supports the baby under the back. With the other hand, you can gently pat the baby on the back. This method is most effective in a rocking chair or when the baby is gently rocking.
- Holding the child upright on your legs. With one hand, parents can hold the baby by the back and head, supporting his chin and placing his palm on the baby’s chest, with the other hand, you can gently pat him on the back. At the same time, it is important to be careful: do not press the child on the throat, but only gently support his chin.
- Holding a baby on your lap while lying on your tummy. Make sure his head is above his chest and gently pat your baby on the back until he burps.
Here are some tips on how best to help your newborn spit up:
- Let your baby spit up while feeding. If the baby is restless or has swallowed air, it is worth giving him the opportunity to burp during feeding, and not just after.
- When bottle feeding, let the newborn burp after every 50-60 ml.
- When breastfeeding, let the baby burp at every breast change.
It is important to let your baby spit up after eating, even if he spit up during feeding!
If your baby is gassy, spit up more often. Also, if he vomits frequently or suffers from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), have him spit up after every 30 ml bottle-feeding or every five minutes while breastfeeding.
How long should a baby be held for it to burp? It's different for everyone, but generally keeping a newborn upright for 15 to 20 minutes after a feed helps the milk stay in the baby's stomach.
Minimize the amount of air you swallow. Gas production and regurgitation result from aerophagia during feeding. The baby will inevitably swallow air, but there are ways to prevent it from swallowing too much. Whether you bottle feed your baby or combine breastfeeding with bottle feeding, the Philips Avent anti-colic bottle with AirFree valve is designed so that the nipple is always filled with milk without excess air, even in a horizontal position, thus preventing the baby from swallowing excess air during feeding.
Reducing the amount of air your baby swallows can help reduce your baby's risk of colic, gas, and spitting up.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful time to strengthen the bond between parent and baby. Every mom and every baby is different, so learning to help your newborn burp properly can take time and practice.