Last Updated on January 1, 2023
We all know how uncomfortable it is when your baby has trapped wind in their tummy. They may be crying, making funny noises, farting and even vomiting. One of the best things you can do to help them feel better is to burp them or give them a gentle back rub until they release the gas that caused the discomfort. But how do I burp my baby exactly? Well, don’t worry because we’re here with four illustrated ways, including super tips to help soothe your restless babe and get rid of those pesky trapped gasses!
What Causes Trapped Wind In Babies?
A trapped wind occurs when air gets trapped in the baby’s tummy and causes discomfort, but it is perfectly normal. The most common reason for trapped gas in the digestive system is swallowed air, usually when babies feed themselves.
While breastfed babies get trapped air due to poor posture during breastfeeding, bottle-fed babies mostly get it from the air bottle itself. While in the process of bottle feeding, the baby feeds himself the formula by sucking hard and accidentally taking in too much air. The older babies get, the quicker they will swallow and get more air bubbles at the same time. When parents bottle feed their babies, they can choose an anti-colic bottle so that less air gets trapped in the baby’s tummy.
Trapped wind can also be triggered by:
- General digestive difficulties (such as colic): This is very common in newborn babies.
- Diet and food allergies: If your baby is having food that they are allergic to, the trapped wind may be caused by an immune reaction. It is not rare when some breastfed babies don’t like or even react badly to some specific type of formula.
- Feeding routine and habits: While breastfeeding, some mums tend to feed their little ones too long on one breast, and as a result, babies find it hard to get the milk they need. Eventually, they get as much air as breast milk when they are sucking. Switch breasts so that the feeding time is easier for them. Overfeeding and hunger also make your baby feel uncomfortable.
Why Should You Burp Your Baby?
Expert advice is that burping your baby frequently can help them digest their formula or breast milk more easily. The long-term benefits of winding baby is to reduce the risk of colic and reflux, which can lead to spit-up and vomiting episodes. It is so important to burp a newborn because it can prevent them from choking. Reducing the amount of gas in their belly not only makes the baby less cranky or fussy but also makes your day easier.
When Should You Wind Your Baby?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. All babies are different, and the baby’s cues should be heeded accordingly. However, these are signs that they have a lot of trapped wind in their belly.
- Your baby is upset and crying excessively, farting (passing gas) and may even vomit
- They make a lot of noise while moving their bowels
- Their tummy protruding outwards
It is best to wind baby just after feeding. Sometimes, your baby may need a little burping break while feeding, especially after the first 10 minutes. Another good time is before or after naps (not when baby falls asleep) and during playtime. If you start burping too early, it won’t be as effective, so wait until they are really fussy or uncomfortable.
How To Wind Your Baby Easily
Burping your baby could be complicated because there are various ways to do it, especially if you are a first-time parent. Here are the four most effective and common burping positions which are highly recommended by healthcare professionals.
1. Shoulder hold
To help babies burp, shoulder hold is the most traditional way. All you need to do is hold your baby upright over your shoulder, gently pat your baby’s back with your free hand, and rub in a circular motion. Make sure to put a muslin cloth over your shoulder because a little milk could come out from baby’s throat area when they burp.
2. Leg sit
Sitting on your lap or one of your legs, in particular, is another easy burping position to do. First, one hand of yours is going to support the baby’s chin and jaw. It should form a C-shape, and the palm is mainly on baby’s tummy. Try moving your baby forwards slightly, but there is no worry about the baby’s head, as that C-shape hand supports the head’s weight. The other hand will gently rub and pat your baby’s back. This position is so effective that you may hear the baby burping even when your baby is still sitting on your lap. Once the baby can burp, you will sense immediate relief from your child.
3. Lap sit
Move your baby’s body gently to the centre of your lap. Just like the Leg sit, your baby is still sitting on your lap, and you will also support the chain with the C-shape of one hand around baby’s throat area. The difference here is the other hand supporting her back and head by putting your palm on baby’s shoulder area.
You should start to rotate your baby at four different points. For example, forwards, right, backwards and left. The movement of the baby’s body rotating at the right angle generally makes trapped wind move along. Another option is that you can gently move your baby in a circular motion because your baby could find that rhythmic movement more relaxing. Burping could be expected then. Only do this for a few rounds to avoid dizziness, even if you haven’t heard your baby burping. Your baby could burp later; just be more patient.
4. Lap lie
The fourth position for burping is to lie your baby flat across your lap. Take one of your arms and position it on your knees, holding baby’s chest and head by putting the palm under baby’s arm. Now the baby is on our lap, facing the floor. To burp your baby, you should gently rub or pat her back with your free hand. The baby probably enjoys this position most because you are pretty much gently massaging her.
In this burping position, baby has her legs free and can move around as the chin and jaw are leaning on the mother’s lap. This allows the baby to wind easily. A little bit of milk is also expected when burping, especially after the feed or when you don’t burp your baby for a while.
To burp your baby, there could be many ways that work as long as you gently rub or pat her. If you are still unsure what to do, you can ask for direct instruction from your healthcare visitor. They will give you their tips and experiences so that you can be more confident in burping your baby.
Sources and References
- Learn How To Burp Your Baby – pampers.co.uk
Sophie is a former primary school teacher and passionate about parenting. She enjoys writing, reading, cooking, and making memories with her family.