Taking Care of a New Baby Article

Teaching Your Baby to Burp

Babies swallow air when they're feeding, which causes discomfort that can keep them awake when they need to be sleeping. It's up to you to help your little one expel the air after each feeding until he can do it on his own, perhaps to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner.

Basic Burping Techniques
You and your baby will essentially work together to get burping down, as it is a learned skill for both of you and there are a variety of alternatives. Try them out to see what works best. Basic burping techniques include:

Over Your Shoulder - Hold your baby to your chest with one hand on her bottom and her head on your shoulder. Make sure her tummy is in solid contact with your chest because the pressure will help get the air out. Gently pat or rub her back.

Over Your Lap - Lie your baby face down across your lap with his tummy over one leg and his chest and head over the other. Gently rub or pat his back with a motion that works the air up from his tummy.

Sitting Up on Your Lap - With your baby sitting upright on one of your legs facing sideways and leaning slightly forward, place your hand high on her chest where you can also support her head. Pat her on the back.

Sometimes just holding him up with your hands around his upper chest (with him looking at you) will do the trick. If your baby doesn't burp, don't worry. He may not need to.

Top Off the Tank
While feeding your baby, if you notice she is starting to fidget, take a break. Try burping her, and then continue. If you burp her after mom nurses her before bedtime and she lets out a big one, suggest that mom "top off her tank" so she will sleep longer. A very tired mom will think you are a genius.

Be Prepared for Spitting Up
Always assume your baby will spit up when he burps. That's what burp cloths are for, so keep one handy and use it. If he does spit up, wipe it up and clear his mouth.


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