Burping a Baby

Topic Overview

A baby may be uncomfortable after feedings if he or she has swallowed air during the feeding. Burping helps get rid of air that the baby has swallowed.

  • Burp a breast-feeding baby when you switch breasts during feeding.
  • Burp a baby who is bottle-feeding after each 1 fl oz (30 mL) to 2 fl oz (60 mL) of fluid.
  • Burp the baby after the feeding is finished.
  • If the baby has problems with gas or spitting up, you may burp the baby more frequently.
  • Most babies burp readily on their own after 2 months of age.

To burp a baby:

  • Place the baby in an upright position, such as over your shoulder or in a sitting position on your lap. If you place the baby on your lap, place your hand under the chin to support the baby's head.
  • Gently rub or pat the baby's back. The baby will not always burp each time you do this. Wait a few minutes and try again.
  • Sometimes formula or breast milk comes up with the air when the baby burps. A clean washcloth, cloth diaper, or bib can help keep you and the baby clean during burping.

To help the baby swallow less air during bottle feedings:

  • Make sure the formula is not too hot or too cold.
  • Hold the bottle so no air gets into the nipple.
  • Sit the baby upright in your arms when feeding.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised February 18, 2013

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