The Art of the Burp

There are many things a parent has to learn when taking care of a newborn baby. From learning to swaddle a baby, put them in diapers or onesies or even feed them, learning to burp a baby is one of these very important skills to master. Basically, a burp is gas that gets trapped in the gastrointestinal system of the baby and needs to be released. Burping is how parents get rid of this gas.

Parents need to learn to burp babies because babies need to burp. It’s as simple as that. When these gas bubbles get stuck in a baby’s stomach, it causes a feeling of fullness and discomfort sometimes causing the bay to cry or toss around. Some babies are frequent burpees while other aren’t but it takes some time to figure this out. And since babies cry about everything (it’s their major way of communicating really). They cry when they are hungry, thirsty, wet, need to sleep, bored, want attention and need to burp. Because of this, it can be quite difficult to know when a baby needs to burp but more often than not they need to burp right after they eat. Sometimes a baby doesn’t show any sign of discomfort to signal you that they need to burp so the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to burp babies regularly even when they are not fussy. Sometimes when babies burp, it comes with spit up which might stain your clothes hence the new to use burp cloths. Burp cloths go on your shoulder and then baby on burp cloth and there goes your worry of a spit up staining your clothes. For example, Cooper Perl’s Burp cloths are soft 100% cotton and come in beautiful and modern designs providing easy and comfort to parent and baby.

Why you need to Burp your baby

According to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there are three main possible reasons/ways babies get gas in their bellies. The first is from swallowing air. When babies are breastfed or bottle fed, they also swallow air and it’s a lot of times inevitable. This air goes down into their stomach along with the baby food or breast milk. It’s, however, more common with bottle feeding. It’s also more likely to happen if the baby is hungry and so eating really fast. Another reason is the process of digestion. Digestion which is the breakdown of food by bacteria in the large intestine can sometimes cause gas to be naturally created. This gas could come from when the baby eats as mentioned above or from food the mother consumes and passes on to the baby during breastfeeding( how mind blowing is that?!). Food that contains carbohydrates is more likely to cause this to happen as they create more gas. Foods like beans, boiled eggs, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, candy, soda and other caffeinated drinks. The third reason is allergies. Good old annoying allergies always find new ways to cause discomfort. Well if the baby turns out to be allergic to certain foods in the mother’s diet or certain ingredients in a formula, the baby’s body will react by creating more gas which will lead to increase burping. A common food intolerance is for dairy products.

How to Burp your baby

Now we know that the need to burp your baby is inevitable because gas is created in different sometimes unavoidable ways. So let’s talk about ways to burp a baby. There are different methods parents use depending on preference, size of baby etc

1. When burping a baby, pat the back of the baby repeatedly but gently. Do not pound hard with force (don’t you dare).

2. In order not to make a mess when the baby has a spit up, place a burp cloth on your shoulder or under the baby’s chin

3. Try experimenting with different burping positions to see which is most comfortable for you and your baby. The most common positions are:

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 or standing. Or: 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 and resting the heel of your hand on your baby’s chest (but be careful to grip your baby’s chin, not throat). Use the other hand to pat your baby’s back gently. Lay your baby on your lap on his or her belly. Sit your child on your lap, using your arms and hands to support the baby’s body and head. Use your other hand to burp Baby on the back. Support your baby’s head and make sure it’s higher than his or her chest. Gently pat your baby’s back. And lastly, the most common position,  Hold your baby over your shoulder, facing toward you. Use one hand to hold the baby and the other to burp, ensuring that the baby’s head is supported.

When Burping Doesn’t Help Much

Sometimes burping alone doesn’t solve the problem of gas and might not relieve the baby of discomfort. When this happens, you have to either try other burping positions or other techniques. Other techniques to try are infant massages or gently pushing the legs of the baby back and forth when they lie on their back. Also putting the baby on their stomach while they are awake also helps relieve any gas.

As mentioned earlier, a mom’s diet could be a cause of gas so if the mum is breastfeeding try staying away from eating foods that are known to cause gas such as dairy products like cheese, milk etc.

Armed with this information and more research on your path, you should be ready to start burping your baby and caring for that little one.