How to Burp a Newborn
- November 20, 2020
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hi there, mamas and papas. Burping a tiny newborn baby requires courage, strategy, and the finesse of technique! It also takes practice. With my baby Bracey, who is 10 weeks old but only 40 weeks old in terms of his gestational age, I have had to figure out how to keep him propped up with my hands while burping him since he does not have the head and neck strength to hold himself up. After all, he still weighs in at under 6 pounds, poor guy. I picked up some tricks regarding burping in the NICU which I am sharing with you guys today.
How to Burp a Newborn That Won’t Burp
In my experience, the first major burping issue you encounter with young babies is that they stop eating and appear to need to burp, and yet the burp won’t come. This was happening a lot to me with Bracey. Then, I figured out that his burps were so short and quiet that I wasn’t even noticing them. They sounded like gurgling. That said, to get to this little “blep,” you need a firm while gentle process.
How to Burp a Newborn Baby on Your Lap or Back
There are two ways to burp your newborn baby on your lap that I run through in today’s video. In the first, you separate your thumbs from the other four fingers and create a triangle about an inch below your baby’s neck area. This triangle-shaped hand supports the baby, who you tilt forwards, elongating their torso and back. With your other hand, you pat your baby’s back. The second technique asks you to grasp your baby securely with both hands (separating thumb from other fingers in the same fashion) under their two armpits, using the four fingers of one hand to support the neck and head while tilting the baby forward, and the four fingers of the other hand to pat gently. A third burping technique involves burping your baby on your back (although I find this to be more challenging since little babies tend to roll up into a ball and round their backs, so it’s difficult to stretch them out ). Whichever burping position you choose, burp your baby with gentle pats. Do not wham your baby on the back. That is not effective nor necessary. Rather, what you need to do is to elongate their torso to encourage the gas to come up and out!
How Long to Burp a Newborn
If you are breastfeeding, I recommend burping your baby once you have finished on one side and then again when you believe you are finished with the other side. After burping, try to feed your baby again to make sure that there are awake, full, and rejecting more food. Formula-fed babies might need to burp more often, depending on how well they tolerate their formula. With bottle feeding, the chances that your baby can swallow air are increased so you might need to stop every few minutes and burp your baby. Try to keep looking at the bottle’s nipple to make sure there are no air bubbles.
Burping does not get as much attention as feeding, of course, but it is an essential part of the feeding process. Your baby needs to feel comfortable and settled to drink and only a burped baby is going to feed properly. So get your burping style going, mama or papa!