About Burping Babies

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    Time Frame

    • Burping babies is usually necessary from birth to around 6 months of age, depending on the baby and his feeding habits. After 6 months, babies begin to sit on their own and can feed in more upright positions, and they also start to incorporate solids into their diet, making gas and burping less of an issue for most infants.
      If formula feeding, babies should be burped each 2 to 3 ounces, while breastfed babies should be burped after each breast. Burping babies at the end of each feeding session is also recommended.

    Features

    • Most parents have their own tried and true methods for burping babies successfully, which usually include one or all of the three most popular positions for burping babies.
      One of the most traditional positions for burping babies is to hold the infant against the parent's chest with the chin of the baby on the parent's shoulder. Then the parent should simply pat or rub on the baby's back to provide pressure that will help the baby burp.
      Another popular method of burping babies is to hold the baby in an upright sitting position to help bring the gas out of the baby's stomach. The parent can support the baby's chest and head (by gently holding the baby's chin) with one hand while patting the infant's back gently with the other hand.
      Many parents also have success burping babies by laying their baby on his stomach in their laps and rubbing and patting on his back. If using this method for burping babies, parents should be sure that the baby's head is elevated above his stomach and chest.

    Function

    • First-time parents may wonder why they need to burp their babies at all, but anyone that has seen a hungry baby eat can understand why it is necessary. Babies, especially those that are bottle-fed or those that are breastfed by a mother with a strong let-down flow, are forced to gulp quickly for air when feeding because of the high volume of milk. These quick gulps of air in between swallows can get trapped as gas in the babies' intestinal tracts, making burping babies a vital way to help babies eliminate a potentially painful gas problem.

    Considerations

    • While babies that breastfeed do require burping, burping babies is especially necessary with formula-fed babies. Bottle nipples typically allow a much faster flow of liquid than the breast, increasing the big air gulps that a baby has to take in between swallows to get air. Parents that formula feed also tend to hold their babies more horizontally than those that are breastfed, which can lead to air getting trapped in an infant's stomach instead of being naturally eliminated through burping. Burping formula-fed babies is also very important, because they tend to consume more at one feeding, since parents are focused on having babies empty a bottle, while breastfed babies often eat smaller amounts more often, which can reduce the gas problem.

    Prevention/Solution

    • Burping babies can be a messy experience if parents and caregivers are not prepared for potential spit ups. Cloths made specifically for burping or a plain cloth diaper make the best "burp rags" for protecting parents' clothing from the spit up that is common with burping. These cloths should be draped over the parents' shoulder or lap, depending on what burping technique they are using, and in place before the baby is held upright for burping. Some babies may never spit up during burping sessions, but they are a small minority.

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