Do you have a baby that won’t burp no matter what you do? Want to make sure your burping techniques are correct and effective? This post explains traditional burping techniques and some methods that could work on a baby that won’t burp.
Guide to Burping Baby
1. Over the Shoulder
When you burp your baby over your shoulder, you want to make sure you always put a burp rag on your shoulder. You never know when they might spit-up. I love the extra-wide muslin burp cloths. They are super absorbent and soft.
With this technique, you gently place your baby over your shoulder and alternate between patting and rubbing their back. Place your baby so that their belly is resting against your breast or shoulder, so there is a little pressure to help expel any air. Don’t bounce as you burp; that can lead to your baby spitting up.
2. Sitting Up on Lap
Have your baby sit on your lap, leaning over with one hand supporting their head and chest. With your other hand, gently rub and pat their back. Don’t forget to have a burp rag over your hand or at the very least nearby.
3. Face-Down on Lap
With this burping technique, your baby is lying face-down across your legs. Make sure your legs are parallel, and both feet are on the ground. Your baby should have their tummy on one leg, and their head turned sideways on the other.
A burp cloth should be over the leg that has your baby’s head. With one hand, support your baby to make sure they don’t roll. Take your other hand and gently pat their back to expel air. Alternate with rubbing their back in circular motions.
4. Over the Arm
This burping technique works better once your baby has a little bit of head control. You have your baby hanging over your arm with your arm across their stomach.
Their back is up against your belly, and you are carrying them in front of you, facing out. Place your other hand under their bottom to support them. Then walk around. The natural movement and slight pressure on their belly push their burps out.
What to do if my baby still won’t burp
If you have tried all of the traditional favorites on getting baby to burp and still have no luck, you may need to try other tactics. The next three techniques help any trapped air that may be built up come out. It may come out as a burp or a fart.
5. Massage the Burp Out
Place your baby face down either on your lap, a blanket on the floor, or a changing table. Start the massage at the top of your baby’s neck and run your hand down their back to the top of their bottom.
Repeat a few times, swooping down their backside. Use a moisturizing baby lotion or coconut oil, so your hands glide smoothly over their skin. Switch to the sitting up burping technique.
Change your baby’s position to have them sit up and pat their upper back to coax out a burp. If you are not successful yet, repeat the swooping back massage. Try a little more pressure this time. Repeat a couple of times, or until they burp, alternating between the back rub and sitting up.
6. Knee to Chest
Start with the burping technique with your baby on your lap. Have their back up against you. Support their chest and head with one arm and hand. With your other hand, hold both of their feet and ‘crunch’ their legs up to their chest, bringing their knees up.
Repeat the process a couple of times. Alternate with then patting their back like the traditional burping technique. Don’t forget to keep a burp cloth close by in case it becomes a wet burp.
7. Bicycle Baby’s Legs
If your baby is showing discomfort and gas signs, they may have trapped gas that you can’t burp out. Try baby bicycle kicks. Lay your baby on their back and circle their legs as if they were riding a bike. This helps any air that may be trapped move along and come out.
When should you burp your baby?
It is important to burp your baby during and after every feeding. When they are eating, they tend to take in air. Burping them can get rid of any air that they have sucked in during eating. Not burping your baby can cause gas to become trapped and makes them uncomfortable.
- During Breastfeeding
When you are breastfeeding you want to pause and take a minute to burp your baby when you switch breasts. During breastfeeding, babies don’t take in too much air, so they may not burp during the transition.
That is okay as long as you try burping them to make sure they don’t have air trapped. If you notice your baby squirming or pulling away from your breast while nursing, this may indicate they need to burp. Please take a minute to burp them before continuing to nurse.
If your baby won’t burp after breastfeeding, try changing positions or walking around. The movement can help a burp come out. If that still doesn’t help, wait a little bit and try again after a bit of time.
- During Bottlefeeding
The AAP recommends burping your baby after every 2-3 ounces when you are bottle feeding. Burping in the middle of a bottle is good to make sure they are not taking in too much air.
Burping frequently can reduce spit-up and uncomfortable gas later on. So when your baby is having a bottle take a minute when they have had a few ounces to burp them before they continue eating.
How long do you burp your baby?
Burp your baby for a minute or two when you are pausing in the middle of a feeding. If they don’t have a burp after a couple of minutes, you can continue feeding. They may not need to burp yet. After their meal, add to the time you burp them to coax a burp out.
If they don’t burp after a couple of minutes, try a different burping position. It may take a few tries to find the position that works best for your baby. Even if they don’t burp after a couple of position changes, be sure to keep them upright right after eating.
Why isn’t baby burping?
One reason why your baby isn’t burping easily is that you may be patting your baby too high on their back. Try patting them lower and a little to the left. That is where your little one’s stomach is located.
If your baby won’t burp but spits up, this is normal. They are most likely burping, and you don’t realize it. When they are eating, the air gets trapped under the milk. When the air bubble comes out, so does some milk. They burped out an air bubble, but it looks like a spit up instead. Try burping them after they spit up to make sure there isn’t any additional air that needs to come out.
If your baby won’t burp and has gas, it may be because the air has already traveled down too far to come out as a burp. Now it needs to come out as a fart. You can help gas along by bicycle kicking their legs, giving them a massage, or moving around while you babywear.
Prevent excess gas
Tips to prevent excess gas in your baby. Changing small things in your daily routine with your baby could help to prevent any excess gas.
This should not be considered medical advice. These are my own opinions. Always consult with your doctor before you try anything new. If you have tried everything and your baby seems uncomfortable or fussy, they could have GERD/reflux or colic. Consult your pediatrician with any concerns.
- Mom’s Diet. You may want to eliminate certain foods from your diet if you are breastfeeding. Things like dairy and broccoli have been known to cause gas build-up. Talk to your doctor to see if they think you need to reassess your diet while breastfeeding.
- Mixing formula. Don’t shake the bottle when you are mixing formula; this causes air bubbles to form, and your baby is taking in a lot more air. Gently swirl the bottle to mix.
- Nipple size. You may have a faster letdown that causes your baby to be gulping while feeding. Make sure they are latched properly to limit the amount of air they gulp in.
- Switch Bottles. Try a different brand of bottles. Switch to one that has a slower flow nipple. Or a bottle that uses collapsible bags that limit air intake.
Why is it so hard to burp my newborn?
Your newborn may not have to burp. Your baby’s digestive system is very immature and frankly pretty unpredictable. The lower esophageal sphincter opens and often closes in a newborn. They have not yet figured out how to regulate when it opens and closes.
This means that they may not need to burp at all. If you have tried burping them and use a couple of different positions but still nothing, then move on. As long as they don’t look like they are in any discomfort, they are fine and don’t have any gas built up.
What happens if baby doesn’t burp?
If your baby doesn’t burp but needs to, you will notice them acting like they are uncomfortable. They may squirm around a lot and keep bringing their legs up. They may also be super fussy and crying. This indicates they have air trapped, and it feels uncomfortable.
This is when you should use techniques to get rid of trapped gas. You can also try giving them some gripe water to ease their discomfort and soothe their belly.
Gripe water can also help if the baby won’t burp and gets hiccups. Hiccups usually occur because they ate too fast or swallowed too much air. It doesn’t always mean they need to or needed to burp. All babies get the hiccups. You can try easing the hiccups using the same techniques you use to burp them. Try keeping them calm so their body can relax.
How to Burp a sleeping baby?
It is common for babies to fall asleep while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, especially during those middle of the night sessions. It is still important to try to get baby to burp before you lay them back down on their back.
If you are already cradling them in your arms, then lift them upright, so they are resting on your shoulder, and gently pat their back to try to coax out some air. Walk around a bit while rubbing their back in circular motions.
What if baby won’t burp and falls asleep
If your baby doesn’t burp at night after patting their back, rubbing their back, and walking around, you can move on. You don’t want to keep changing positions too much and disturb them sleeping. Gently lay them in their crib or their pack n’ play bassinet. If they squirm around a lot or get angry as soon as you lay them down, they may have a bubble.
Since they woke up, try burping one more time using a different position such as sitting on your lap. If they didn’t wake up but seem uncomfortable, you can try bicycling their legs gently to try to get the gas out that way.
When do you stop burping?
A baby’s digestive system starts to mature by about 4-6 months. Once their system gets a little more mature, you don’t need to help them burp because they can do it independently. They get better at moving gas along themselves and no longer need assistance.
Stop burping when you notice your baby burping on their own. If your baby can sit up without a lot of assistance, this is a good indicator they are ready to stop being burped. They can now be upright on their own and have gas naturally travel out.