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Burping a Baby

Topic Overview

A baby may be uncomfortable after feedings if he or she has swallowed air during the feeding. Burping helps get rid of air that the baby has swallowed.

  • Burp a breast-feeding baby when you switch breasts during feeding.
  • Burp a baby who is bottle-feeding after each 1 fl oz (30 mL) to 2 fl oz (60 mL) of fluid.
  • Burp the baby after the feeding is finished.
  • If the baby has problems with gas or spitting up, you may burp the baby more frequently.
  • Most babies burp readily on their own after 2 months of age.

To burp a baby:

  • Place the baby in an upright position, such as over your shoulder or in a sitting position on your lap. If you place the baby on your lap, place your hand under the chin to support the baby's head.
  • Gently rub or pat the baby's back. The baby will not always burp each time you do this. Wait a few minutes and try again.
  • Sometimes formula or breast milk comes up with the air when the baby burps. A clean washcloth, cloth diaper, or bib can help keep you and the baby clean during burping.

To help the baby swallow less air during bottle feedings:

  • Make sure the formula is not too hot or too cold.
  • Hold the bottle so no air gets into the nipple.
  • Sit the baby upright in your arms when feeding.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised February 18, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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