Newborns cry and fuss for a variety of reasons, and it may seem like they cry all the time! This mystery of deciphering their newborn’s needs and cues can be exhausting for new parents. However, there may be some helpful clues as to what is ailing your sweet little one!
Does your baby tend to get extra fussy and uncomfortable during or after feedings? Does your baby cry like she is in pain? Does she scrunch up her legs? Chances are, she just needs to be burped!
Newborns are very gassy by nature. They aren’t experienced eaters, so they tend to swallow a lot of air when they eat. The air bubbles become trapped in their tummies, causing them to feel uncomfortably full, and they may become very fussy or cranky due to the pain the gas causes them. This pain may even cause your baby to stop eating before she is actually full. Burping your baby can help release excess air and allow your baby to eat comfortably and peacefully!
Burping your baby doesn’t have to be a complicated matter! In fact, there are many burping positions and techniques to try with your little one. Some babies will prefer one method over another. There are three basic positions for burping a newborn:
- Over your shoulder: With a firm grip, hold the baby against your shoulder, with one hand under his bottom. Gently pat or rub his back until he burps.
- Facedown: Position your baby so he is lying face-down across your lap, with his stomach resting on one of your legs. While maintaining a secure grip on your baby, gently pat or rub his back until he burps.
- Sitting up (with your support): Although newborns can’t sit on their own, you can hold your baby in a sitting position, with a hand gently under his neck and chin. Make sure your baby is slightly leaning forward, and pat or rub his back with the other until he burps. This position is very effective at releasing air!
Just when should you burp your newborn? If you are bottle-feeding breast milk or formula, be sure to pause at least once or twice during the feeding to try burping your baby. If you are breastfeeding, make a point to switch breasts in the middle of a feeding, and burp your baby between sides. If your newborn prefers to eat from one breast only during a feeding, gently place your finger inside the corner of the baby’s mouth to unlatch her, take a break to burp her, and then allow her to latch again.
If your newborn doesn’t burp, that’s ok too. Many babies don’t need to burp during or after every single feeding, as they don’t swallow as much air. Other babies are able to burp on their own without assistance from a caregiver. Continue to try burping your little one during and after feedings, but there is no need to worry if he doesn’t burp very often.
It is normal for your baby to spit up a little during burps. Keep a burp cloth, receiving blanket, or towel nearby to protect your clothes from spit up! Try to be gentle during burping, as too much force can cause your baby to spit up more frequently.
If your baby projectile vomits, or seems to spit up a lot after every single feeding, and seems very uncomfortable from built-up gas, these may be signs your little one has reflux. If you are concerned about your baby’s eating habits, be sure to make an appointment with his pediatrician!