You know how good it feels to burp sometimes? Sometimes babies need the same kind of relief.  And helping them burp can be a good Dad job.

But first. Burping is actually a little over-rated. People sometimes act like parents have to make sure their babies burp at absolutely every feeding.

Not really.

In cultures where babies are carried upright all the time, in slings or on their mother’s back, parents “burping their babies”  is unheard of. Babies who are carried a lot often just burp when they need to on their own.  So, carry your baby around against your  shoulder after a feeding and see what happens.

If she’s fallen asleep don’t feel you have to wake her up to burp her. Leave her be.

On the other hand, there are situations where burping might not be a bad idea:

  • If the baby had been crying for a while before feeding, she may have swallowed air while crying and need help in bringing it up.
  • If you are feeding your baby with a bottle, she might swallow air if her lips didn’t make a good seal around the bottle nipple.
  • If you or your partner think the baby needs burping. A lot of early parenting is guess work. You try things and see if it helps. If you think your baby might be swallowing air, or might need to burp, go for it. Believe us, there are no support groups for adults who were burped too often as babies.

Here are three different ways to burp… the baby.

  • The Classic. Try putting him high up on your shoulder so that your shoulder presses just below his tiny ribcage, then gently pat his back. Oh, and, um, put receiving blanket or burp pad on your shoulder first. Trust us on this one!
  • Sit-down burping. Drape the baby across your lap, which puts a little pressure on his tummy and pat his back gently. You might have to experiment a bit to find a position that feels right.
  • The “folding” technique sometimes works with small babies. Hold him in a sitting position, with one hand supporting his chin (so his head doesn’t flop forward) then gently bend him forward a little bit, chest toward knees. Then straighten him up again. Repeat a couple more times.

No need to push it. If you don’t hear a satisfying belch after a minute or two, chances are there’s no burp to come up. However, if your baby starts to grimace or wiggle around as though he’s uncomfortable when you lay him down, it’s worth giving it another try.

Spitting up.  Lots of babies spit up small amounts of swallowed milk after some feedings. Some do it after just about every feeding. It’s normal and although people have looked for ways to prevent it, there is no proven solution. If your baby is a spitter-upper — you’ll know — just always keep a receiving blanket over your shoulder if you’re holding the baby right after feeding. Oh and buy laundry detergent when it’s on sale. You’ll need extra.

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