Why do you have to burp a baby after every feeding
Burping Your Baby (for Parents)
Reviewed by: Madhu Desiraju, MD
Primary Care Pediatrics at Nemours Children's Health
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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
How and When to Burp Your Baby
A key part of your baby's feeding routine is burping him. Your baby may swallow lots of air while feeding, and burping can help remove some of that gassiness and ease his fussiness. It may also help prevent him from spitting up.
Find out how to burp your baby, and pick up some tips on making burping more effective.
How to Burp Your Baby: Positions to Try
Here are three burping techniques that have stood the test of time. After trying each of them out, you’ll probably settle on one that works best for you and your baby:
Hold your baby upright against your chest with his chin on your shoulder, all the while supporting him with one hand as you gently pat his back with your other hand.
Place your baby on your lap with him sitting up, all the while supporting his head and chest with one hand while you softly pat his back with your other hand.
Lay your baby on your lap with his belly faced down, all the while supporting his head so it’s higher than his chest, and pat his back.
Tips for Burping Your Baby
Try these tips the next time you need to burp your baby:
Use repeated, gentle pats on her back.
Cup your hand slightly as you pat her, as this is gentler than using a flattened palm.
Drape a towel or bib over your lap or shoulder to protect your clothing as you burp your baby, in case your baby spits up (sometimes called “wet burps”).
Now that you know how to burp your baby, and these tips help you do so effectively, here’s a helpful visual guide:
How Long Should You Burp Your Baby?
There is no specific length of time needed for burping your baby. The more important factor is how often you burp him. With that in mind, burp your baby frequently throughout feeds, even when it looks like he doesn’t need to be burped.
Waiting until after a feeding to burp your baby may mean your little one has swallowed too much air and may be fussier, so it’s better to stop feeding every so often and try to burp your little one. You could also try paced bottle feeding, which slows the flow of breast milk or formula from the bottle, which could help prevent gas.
Here are some tips for burping your baby during a feeding:
If you’re bottle feeding (which can include formula feeding or offering expressed breast milk), you’ll want to burp him after every two to three ounces of milk.
If you’re breastfeeding, burp your baby each time he switches breasts. Some breastfed babies may not need to burp as often, as they may not swallow as much air.
If your baby hasn’t burped after some time, go back to feeding. Not every baby burps every time you want him to burp.
If your baby shows any of the following signs, you may want to burp him more regularly — for example, after every ounce of milk during bottle feeding or every five minutes during breastfeeding:
He is gassy
He spits up frequently
He has Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
He seems very fussy.
After a feeding is over, keep your baby in an upright position for 10 to 15 minutes. This can help prevent him from spitting up. You may need to burp him longer if he does spit up or has been diagnosed with GERD.
Other Instances When Burping Your Baby Might Be Beneficial
If your sleeping baby wakes suddenly and you suspect it may be because of gas, burping her might help relieve the pressure and help her fall back asleep.
A colicky baby, who may cry for three or more hours per day, might have gas from all the air she’s swallowed during one of these crying spells. You may consider burping her to see if it helps comfort her.
We hope these tips can help you burp your baby during feeding time to ensure she’s more comfortable.
Don’t forget to stock up on plenty of diapers, which you will surely need after all these feedings and burpings. Get rewarded for your Pampers purchases by using the Pampers Club app to earn rewards like coupons, gifts, and gift cards.
Why does the baby spit up after feeding?search support icon
Regurgitation is a common condition in newborns and infants and is most often a normal variant. However, it is not uncommon for parents to worry if their baby is spitting up frequently, believing that it is due to nutritional or health problems in general. Sometimes these fears are not unfounded, and regurgitation really has a pathological origin. What is its cause and when should you really consult a doctor about this?
Regurgitation - Return of a small amount of food (uncurdled or partially curdled milk) from the stomach up the digestive tract: into the esophagus and further into the oral cavity. According to statistics, at least 1 time during the day, at least 50% of babies from 0 to 3 months old can spit up, more than 60% of children 3-4 months old, and in 5% of children spit up continues up to the year 1 .
Regurgitation in newborns is considered a physiological process. It is caused by a number of factors, including:
- Features of the structure of the upper digestive tract in babies
- In newborns and infants up to a year of life, the stomach has a spherical shape. It holds a small amount of food, besides, the release from it into the duodenum is slower in comparison with children after the year 2 .
- Weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter that separates the esophagus from the stomach
- Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter should tightly "close" the esophagus, allowing food to pass into the stomach and not allowing it to enter back into the upper digestive tract. However, in young children (up to a year), the muscles of the esophageal sphincter are poorly developed, and it does not do its job very well 2 .
- Slow movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract
- The neuromuscular system of newborns is immature. It does not ensure the proper movement of food through the esophagus, causing regurgitation.
One of the important risk factors contributing to regurgitation in newborns is aerophagia. This is the swallowing of large amounts of air during feedings. This happens when the baby is not properly attached to the breast, the mother has a lack of breast milk, or the bottle is in the wrong position in the child who receives the mixture. The size of the opening in the nipple also matters - if it is too large, the newborn swallows a lot of air 3 .
With aerophagia, the baby becomes capricious, restless immediately after feeding. Noticeable bloating. If the baby spits up immediately after a feed, the milk (or formula) remains practically fresh, uncurdled 3 .
Promotes regurgitation after feeding and a predominantly horizontal position of the baby during the day, combined with relatively high intra-abdominal pressure 4 . Therefore, the correct position of the baby after feeding is so important. To avoid regurgitation of an excessive amount of stomach contents, after feeding, it is necessary to hold the baby in an upright “column” position for some time (10-20 minutes), lightly patting on the back and allowing excess air to “exit”.
Regurgitation in many newborns can be provoked by other situations in which pressure in the abdominal cavity increases and stomach contents are thrown into the esophagus, in particular 3 :
- tight swaddling;
- stool disorders, in particular constipation;
- long, forced cry and some others.
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How can you tell the difference between normal spitting up and vomiting?
Sometimes regurgitation is considered a manifestation of disorders in the digestive tract of children. Due to the constant reflux of acidic stomach contents into the upper sections, inflammation and other complications may develop, including growth retardation, a decrease in hemoglobin levels, and others. Therefore, it is important for parents to understand where the line is between physiological and pathological regurgitation 1 .
If the mother is worried that her baby is spitting up, keep track of when this happens and count the total number of spit ups per day. Normally, regurgitation usually occurs after eating (the child burps after each feeding), lasts no more than 20 seconds and repeats no more than 20-30 times a day. With pathology, the problem manifests itself at any time of the day, regardless of when the baby was fed. Their number can reach 50 per day, and sometimes more 1 .
The amount of discharge during regurgitation also matters. With normal, physiological regurgitation, it is approximately 5 - 30 ml. If this volume fluctuates between 50 and 100 ml, it is already defined as profuse vomiting. When the range of the jet of vomit is up to 50 cm, doctors talk about "vomiting a fountain." A variant of atonic vomiting is possible, when the contents of the stomach flow "sluggishly". It occurs with atony of the stomach (decrease in muscle tone of the stomach wall) and disruption of the esophagus 1 .
Vomiting in babies is a warning sign. Doctors are especially alarmed by repeated vomiting, a fountain, with an admixture of bile, in combination with constipation. Vomiting can lead to the development of dehydration, acid-base imbalance and other consequences, therefore, if it occurs, you should urgently contact a pediatrician to find out the cause and begin treatment. A doctor's consultation is necessary if the child is spitting up a lot (more than 15-30 ml at a time), with a frequency of more than 50 episodes per day 1.3 .
Physiological regurgitation: symptoms
Regurgitation in newborns, which is considered a normal variant and does not cause concern to pediatricians 3 :
- usually continues for a certain period of time;
- is characterized by slow, "passive" leakage; if the baby spits up a fountain, it is better to consult a doctor;
- has a sour smell of curdled milk;
- occurs without the participation of muscles - the baby does not strain during regurgitation;
- does not affect the general well-being of the baby.
How to help a newborn who spit up often?
If the baby is healthy, no medication is prescribed for spitting up. To help the child allow simple measures based on lifestyle changes and feeding.
- Frequent feeding of the baby
It is known that the baby is more prone to spit up if his stomach is full. To improve the situation, it is recommended to feed the baby more often, avoiding oversaturation, best of all - on demand 5 .
- Correct feeding technique
Every feeding, the mother must ensure that the baby does not swallow too much air during suckling. When sucking, there should be no loud, smacking, clicking sounds. You also need to control that the baby captures the nipple along with the areola.
- Choosing the right bottle and nipple
If the newborn is bottle-fed and receiving formula, it is important to choose the right bottle and nipple. The hole in it should be such that the milk flows out in drops, and not in a stream. The nipple must not be filled with air
New Anti-colic bottle with AirFree valve
The AirFree valve prevents air from entering the baby's stomach.
- Baby standing upright after eating
To allow air that has entered the digestive tract during meals to escape, it is important to keep the newborn upright for 10-20 minutes after feeding 4 .
- Ensure the correct position of the baby during sleep
To reduce the negative impact of the acidic contents of the stomach on the esophagus, it is necessary to put the baby to sleep in the supine position. The side or prone position, which many pediatricians used to recommend, is no longer recommended. It was found to be associated with an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome 5 .
If parents notice alarming symptoms, such as spitting up too often or large volume, etc. , it is important to consult a pediatrician without delay. This will allow you to identify the real problem in time and help the baby grow up healthy and happy.
1 Zakharova I. N., Andryukhina E. N. Regurgitation and vomiting syndrome in young children // Pediatric pharmacology, 2010. V. 7. No. 4.
Nagornaya 2900 V., Limarenko M. P., Logvinenko N. G. Experience with the use of domperidone in suspension in young children with regurgitation syndrome // Child Health, 2013. No. 5 (48).
3 Zakharova IN Regurgitation and vomiting in children: what to do? //Pediatrics. Supplement to Consilium Medicum, 2009. No. 3. S. 58-67.
4 Zakharova I. N., Sugyan N. G., Pykov M. I. Regurgitation syndrome in young children: diagnosis and correction // Effective pharmacotherapy, 2014. No. 3. P. 18-28.
5 Vandenplas Y. et al. Pediatric gastroesophageal reflux clinical practice guidelines: joint recommendations of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) and the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) //Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. 2009; 49(4): 498-547.
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why the baby spit up after feeding
If a child spits up after feeding, this is in most cases due to the anatomical immaturity of the upper digestive system. More often than others, premature babies, babies with congenital pathologies suffer from regurgitation. Sometimes the cause is the wrong breastfeeding technique.
Regurgitation in infants is perhaps the most common occurrence in modern pediatrics. More than half of children spit up at least once a day, which is almost always a physiological reaction.
As the baby grows older, spitting up less and less and by 6 months it practically stops doing so. However, sometimes the problem remains, and burping continues for up to a year. In such a situation, you need to make sure that the gastrointestinal tract is functioning normally and consult a doctor.
Why does the baby spit up after every feed
There is a very simple explanation for this. The esophagus of newborns is a funnel with a wide part at the top, and the sphincter at the transition to the stomach actually gapes and hardly retains food.
Normally, after food enters the stomach, the sphincter contracts and prevents it from “returning” into the esophagus. But in this case, when the stomach is full, part of the contents immediately comes out if the baby takes an inclined or horizontal position.
Babies have two more features: increased pressure over the lower esophageal sphincter, as well as a straight and sometimes obtuse angle of His, formed by the side walls of the esophagus and stomach. In adults, this angle is sharp, which also prevents the return of food eaten into the esophagus.
After feeding, do not put the baby on his stomach, it is better to hold him upright in your arms, trying not to put pressure on his chest. But if he still burps, you should not worry, this is a normal process. If in doubt, please contact our doctors. At a remote consultation, they will explain the causes of regurgitation, talk about pathologies. If necessary, they will tell you which specialists to go through.
A few more reasons why a child often spit up
Physiological belching after feeding is due to two factors: swallowing air (aerophagia) and increased intra-abdominal pressure. The first is usually associated with fast and greedy suckling, improper attachment of the baby to the breast, or the wrong position of the bottle when it comes to artificial feeding. An air bubble forms in the stomach, pushing out a small amount of milk or mixture.
The same results are obtained by a quick change in the position of the baby's body after feeding, which will easily burp if it is immediately started to swaddle, shake, bathe or massage. After all, his stomach resembles an open bottle: tilted / turned over - the contents spilled out.
As for the increase in intra-abdominal pressure, it increases with a too tight diaper or tight swaddling, as well as against the background of increased gas formation, intestinal colic or stool retention.
Regurgitation in newborns after feeding may be due to the lack of a feeding regimen and overeating.
Baby burps an hour after feeding: what does it mean
The most common cause is constipation, which increases intra-abdominal pressure. Food moves slowly through the gastrointestinal tract, so the child can burp an hour or two after feeding.
Attention! Delayed regurgitation combined with delayed defecation may be a sign of a lazy stomach. But such a diagnosis should be made by a doctor.
5 causes of regurgitation in newborns after formula feeding
The selection of artificial nutrition is a purely individual process with an unpredictable result. There is no 100% guarantee that the mixture will suit the child, even if the brand is very popular.
Poor digestion of the mixture may well cause not only frequent spitting up, but also other digestive problems, including colic, constipation and allergic reactions. In addition, store-bought baby food has a denser texture than breast milk and lasts longer in the stomach. Therefore, the likelihood of its reverse promotion to the esophagus after feeding is higher.
Your baby may spit up after every feed because:
- the proportions of dilution of the mixture are violated;
- the feeding regime is not observed;
- the transition from breastfeeding to artificial feeding was too abrupt;
- the wrong bottle is selected;
Mixing out of proportion
Each manufacturer indicates on the packaging of the mixture how much water is required to dilute it, and what volume is suitable for the baby by weight and age. Sometimes mothers mistakenly or intentionally dilute food in a way that is not recommended, and the child eats more than normal. As a result, the surplus, of course, comes out.
After 3 months, a breastfed child suddenly began to behave restlessly, sleep poorly, spit up after eating, weight gain became slightly below normal. From a conversation with the mother, the doctor learned that the baby was fed too often, the feeding regimen was not observed. After increasing the intervals between breastfeeding, the regurgitation stopped.
Refusal of night feedings is also undesirable: the daily volume of food is distributed during the daytime, which leads to stomach overload and regurgitation.
Feeding schedule not observed
Unlike natural, artificial feeding involves eating by the hour.
Baby food takes longer to digest, so the recommended interval between feedings is at least 3 hours. If you feed the child more often, he will “give out” the excess back, since the previous portion has not yet been absorbed.
Abrupt transition from breastfeeding to artificial feeding
When changing the diet, the child's body must first get used to, adapt to the new food. This applies not only to the transition from breastfeeding to artificial feeding, but also from one type of mixture to another.
Wrong bottle selected
This refers to the too wide neck of the container, because of which the child swallows a lot of air along with food. Its discharge will provoke regurgitation after feedings.
An allergic reaction to cow's milk protein causes inflammation of the intestinal wall, which in turn leads to malabsorption. Carbohydrate metabolism worsens, since secondary lactase deficiency occurs against the background of an inflammatory reaction - a decrease in the synthesis of the lactase enzyme.
As a result, sugar is broken down incorrectly, increased gas formation occurs, and the baby spits up a fountain. In addition, the baby may feel discomfort at the beginning of feeding and react with an increase in nervous excitability during the period of increased intestinal motility. This also often leads to belching.
What does curd vomit mean
Belching with curdled milk after feeding only indicates that the food was in the stomach for some time and managed to curdle - it was fermented. The reason may be in a change in body position or indicate pyloric stenosis with profuse vomiting with a fountain.
Attention! When spouting against the background of pyloric stenosis, the child spits up profusely, the jet scatters to a distance of half a meter.
What to do
First you need to make sure that you really need to do something. Pediatricians are advised to determine the intensity and frequency of regurgitation on a five-point scale.
No more than 5 per day
Not more than 3 ml
> 5 times a day
> 3 ml
> 5 times a day
> 0.5 volume of food eaten
After every feeding
Small amount over 30 minutes or more
At least half of the meals are accompanied by regurgitation
> 0.5 volume of food eaten
Now you can determine if there really is a problem. The criteria are:
- the baby is not yet a year old;
- he spits up 2 times a day for 3 weeks or longer;
- before burping there are no precursors, specific signs;
- during regurgitation, the tension of the anterior abdominal wall is not felt;
- there are no difficulties with swallowing, sucking, the child does not take any specific forced position;
- the baby does not begin to sweat a lot, turn pale after burping, and feels normal;
- he is active, has a good appetite, and is gaining weight appropriately for his age.
The above points indicate that everything is in order.
If the intensity and frequency of spitting up is 3 points or more, this is a reason to consult a doctor. Our doctors are ready to advise on all issues at any time of the day. At a remote consultation, possible causes will be identified, and a plan of further action will be drawn up.
How parents determine the amount of rejected food
Normal regurgitation after feeding occurs in small volumes, within 1-2 tablespoons. You can determine how much food came out when you burp.
When the child burps into the diaper, you need to pour 1 tbsp nearby. l. water and compare the size of the spots. If they are almost the same, there is no reason to worry.
Medical assistance is necessary if the child spits up a lot after feeding, while crying and acting up. A bad symptom is the requirement of supplementary feeding, that is, the baby remains hungry after he has eaten his portion.
Serious illnesses can present with symptoms such as:
- sudden weight loss, weight gain does not meet the standards;
- lack of stool;
- profuse vomiting with an admixture of bile;
- urination less than 8-10 times a day;
- continued spitting up after the child is one year old.
How to deal with regurgitation: a step-by-step guide
If the baby is spitting up after feeding breast milk or formula, you can start with a nutritional correction. When breastfeeding, it is important to ensure that the baby completely captures the nipple along with the areola. His lower lip is usually slightly twisted.
It is better to feed the baby while sitting, holding the baby at an angle of 45-60 ° to the chest. In this position, the air freely leaves the stomach, due to which the likelihood of reflux of food into the esophagus is reduced. After eating, it is preferable to put it on its side in a crib: this way, when returning from the stomach, the masses will not enter the respiratory tract. If the child burped while lying on his back, you should lift him up and turn him face down.
After the baby has eaten, it must be held upright (pose of a soldier) for at least 20 minutes.
You can partially remove the air from the stomach before feeding, putting the baby on the stomach for 10-15 minutes. With a tendency to intestinal colic, a light massage of the abdomen, which is done in between meals, will help.
Even if the child is constantly spitting up, this is not a reason to transfer him to artificial mixtures. But a clear feeding regimen is desirable after a more or less strict period of time. In addition, mom should follow a hypoallergenic diet and exclude foods that can provoke flatulence - cabbage, legumes, black bread.
For artificial babies, it is preferable to use a special anti-colic bottle and a nipple with a special design. The bottle has a valve that prevents you from swallowing air while eating. It is also necessary to make sure that the milk does not flow like a river, but slowly drips, that is, the hole in the nipple must have the appropriate diameter.
When buying a mixture for a spitting up baby, it is better to consult a pediatrician. He may recommend a hypoallergenic formula or a formula that does not contain bovine protein. For some children, the so-called anti-reflux mixture is suitable.
Normally, complementary foods are introduced from the 4th month of a child's life, but in the presence of regurgitation, it is allowed to include food thickeners in the diet after the 1st month. It can be mixtures with rice flour, rice porridge without milk. But they are used in an amount of a maximum of 1 tsp. in one feeding.
Do not swaddle too tightly, massage, and generally somehow disturb the child after eating. You can only lightly pat him on the back, putting him on his knees, to prevent spitting up.
Is the child overeating? To check this, you just need to weigh it before feeding and after. And it does not matter what he eats - mother's or artificial milk.
What symptoms should you call an ambulance for?
If, after spitting up, the child does not breathe or has lost consciousness; lips and face take on a bluish tint; reflux - gastric contents - has a green or brownish color, which may indicate intestinal obstruction, gastric bleeding.
Why does a baby spit up breast milk, but formula does not?
If everything is in order with the calculation of “doses”, and there is no overfeeding with breast milk, most likely it is lactose intolerance. To clarify the diagnosis, it is necessary to take tests.
Should I supplement my baby if he burps?
No, by no means.