Burping Your Baby
Dr. Sawyer, Boys Town Pediatrics
Burping is mostly a comfort issue for your newborn or your baby. When excess gas or air builds up in their stomach, they can be very uncomfortable. They can cry more. They can also have more reflux or spitting up, because that air takes up space and they don't have quite as much space for that milk to sit in the stomach.
We recommend if you're breastfeeding to burp in between breasts when you are offering them breasts for breastfeeding. If you are bottle feeding actually about every one to two ounces is appropriate.
There are multiple different ways to burp a baby but the most important thing to keep in mind is you need to make sure you're supporting their head and neck when you're burping the baby. Often times you'll see classically people burping their babies over the shoulder which is perfectly fine. Put a burp rag over the shoulder, you kind of sling the baby over the shoulder but make sure that the head isn't hanging over the shoulder too far, and then patting until you feel or hear the release of gas and a burp.
Another nice way to do it is in your lap with your baby sitting in your lap. You also once again need to support them usually around the jaw area to help keep their head up and not slumped over. You can sit them sideways and pat them on the back and it's a good way of being able to visualize your baby's face and whether or not they are spitting out what they are burping.
You don't have to pat hard. Sometimes people just actually rub the back. That works as well so gently pat. Patting or rubbing oftentimes will get the result that you want.
Every baby is a little different, if they are still fussy after feeding after six months then I'd probably continue on with the burping but once babies get to hold themselves up right a little bit more than they are more likely to be able to relieve that gas on their own because they are able to move around more independently and then movement and being upright helps them release that gas.
Burping your infant is an important step in your baby's eating process. Dr. Alexis Sawyer, pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics, offers tips and techniques to help with burping your child and explains why it's important.