Burping your Baby
Burping your baby is important regardless if you choose to breastfeed or formula feed. When a baby drinks milk, he will swallow some air bubbles and these air bubbles will need to come back up. Unlike adults, a baby’s burp usually comes with some milk: this is called spit up. Spit up can be messy especially if you’re not ready for it.
It is not advisable to let a baby burp at his own time because you cannot predict when, or how messy, his burp will be. It’s easier (cleaner) for you to help him burp because you can prepare yourself with a burping cloths.
In addition to making life easier and cleaner for yourself, it’s more comfortable for baby to get those gas bubbles out with a loud buuurp! The other option is to let the air slowly wind its way through his gastro-intestinal system and then finally come out as a fart. “Gassy” babies cry a lot because they are uncomfortable so, take a few minutes to burp your baby – it will be the only time where you are thrilled with his belches.
For a really gassy baby who won’t eat because his belly is full of air, the pediatrician may recommend simethicone drops (Mylicon). Simethicone causes small bubbles to pop and join into larger bubbles. The larger bubbles can then rise up as a burp. Simethicone is believed to have no side effects.
Some babies will burp with the simplest pat on the back. Other babies need more work to entice the air to come back out. There are 3 common ways to hold a baby to burp him:
Over the Shoulder
The most familiar way to burp a baby is to put his head over your shoulder (facing back) and gently rub or pat his back. Sometimes it helps to squat up and down a little so help jiggle the air bubbles up.
Be sure to place a burp cloth over your shoulder so that when the burp comes the wipe cloth will soak up the spit up.
Sitting on your Lap
Another way to burp a baby is to sit him on your lap. Support his head up with your hand; this is easiest if you form the letter “C” with your thumb and index finger and place the C-shape under his chin. Rub or gently pat his back until the burp comes out.
Drape a burp cloth over your hand so that it will soak up the spit up. You may even wish to place a lap cloth over your lap.
Lying on your Lap
Another way to burp your baby is to place him face down on your lap and gently pat or rub his back until he burps. Position one leg higher so that his head is slightly higher than his belly.
Again, use a lap cloth to protect your clothes from the spit up.
A burp can come within a minute after eating, or it can take up to 10 minutes. It’s worth experimenting with different positions to get that air bubble out. The air will come out one way or another. Sometimes a burp that has been in his belly for a long time will come up with a large amount of spit up – very messy and scary too because it is almost as if he is vomiting.