When Can You Stop Burping a Baby?


By: Dr. Nazeli Gevorgyan - March 1, 2024 - 10 Minute Read

When Can You Stop Burping a Baby? | The Milky Box

Welcome to the world of parenting, where every little burp brings big smiles. Curious about the when, why, how, and how long of baby burping?


In this article, we’ll navigate the art of burping your little one, ensuring those post-feed moments are filled with comfort and joy.

Why to Burp Your Baby?        

Burping is an important part of your baby’s feeding routine. When your little one swallows, air bubbles can get trapped in their stomach, causing discomfort, gassiness, and colicky painThese bubbles can bring up the stomach’s contents, leading to spitting up.


Burping helps release this trapped air, keeping your baby comfortable and reducing the chance of spitting up. It can also be beneficial for babies with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

When to Burp Your Baby?                   

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests burping your infant when switching breasts during nursing or after every 2–3 ounces (60 – 90 mL) if bottle-feeding. However, there are no strict rules, as each baby’s needs may differ. 

Recommended Burping Times | The Milky Box

Signs a Baby Needs to Burp

To decide when to burp your baby, look for cues during feeding. If they seem uneasy, pause to burp them. Wait if they seem comfortable. Watch for signs like closing their mouth or turning away, indicating fullness or a break. 


In such a case, burp your baby or wait a minute before giving your breast or the bottle again. If your baby appears restless, pulls away, cries, arches their back, draws legs in, or clenches fists, it’s likely time for a burp.

Signs your Baby Needs to Burp | The Milky Box

Burping Methods

Now that we’ve covered why and when to burp your baby, let’s explore some effective methods. Parents often use three techniques to burp their baby.


The key is to support the baby’s head and neck, keep their tummy and back straight, and gently pat or rub their back beginning at the lower back and moving upward. The main difference is how to hold the baby. In all methods, use a burping cloth to catch spit-up. 


You don't need to spend a lot of time; a couple of minutes should do. Try these methods to discover what works best, or combine them.

1. Over the Shoulder

Hold your baby upright with their head on your shoulder. Use one hand to support their head and shoulder. 


For moms, position the baby with their belly resting on your breast for a bit of gentle pressure. For dads, lift the baby a bit higher, positioning their belly closer to your shoulder for the same purpose. 


Afterward, gently pat and rub their back with the other hand.


● Use a cupped hand; it’s gentler than a flat palm.


● Walk around while burping for better results.


● Keep a cloth on your shoulder for cleanliness.

2. Sitting On Your Lap

Place a burping cloth on your lap and put a bib on your baby. Sit your baby on your lap with their head forward (not flopping). Place your hand on their chest, supporting the chin and jaw without pressing on the throat. Pat your baby’s back gently and repeatedly. 

3. Lying Across Your Lap (Face-Down On Your Lap)

Cover your lap with a burping cloth or towel. Position your baby facedown on your lap, supporting the head and avoiding any pressure on the throat. 


Make sure the head is higher than the chest to avoid blood rushing. Gently pat or rub the baby’s back to give them extra comfort, especially if they have colic.


Getting your little one to burp might require some practice, but you’ll figure out what’s more effective for both you and your baby in no time.

Burping Methods | The Milky Box

Baby Massage 

If the winding techniques don’t ease your baby’s discomfort, and you notice signs of gas, lay your baby on their back and gently massage the tummy.


Move their legs back and forth, similar to riding a bike. If these suggestions aren’t effective, consult your healthcare provider for guidance on other options.

When Can You Stop Burping a Baby

The age at which a baby should stop being burped varies from child to child and there isn't a specific age. Generally, babies no longer require burping when they are between 4-9 months old since their digestive system is more developed. It is important to pay attention to your baby's cues and adjust accordingly to ensure their comfort.

When Can you Stop Burping a Baby? | The Milky Box

When Your Baby Doesn’t Burp

It’s fine if a baby doesn’t burp, as it’s not a necessary requirement. Whether they need to burp depends on how much air they take in during feeding. If your baby is gaining weight and seems comfortable, burping might not be necessary. 


A study even found that burping didn’t significantly reduce colic events and could increase spitting up, but keep in mind the study’s limitations. 

Tips to Ease Infant Gas

Infant gas can be a common issue that causes discomfort and irritability in babies. Along with burping, you can follow several practical tips to ease gas during breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.

If You Breastfeed:

Discover tips to keep your baby content and gas-free while breastfeeding.


Diet: If your breastfed baby experiences stomach or bowel issues shortly after feeding, talk to your doctor about your diet. While there is limited scientific research to prove that certain foods in a breastfeeding mother's diet cause intestinal issues in their babies, some babies may react to specific foods in their mom's diet.


However, it doesn't necessarily mean that there is a particular list of foods that mothers should avoid while breastfeeding.


Proper Latch: Certain positions can help your baby latch correctly and reduce the amount of air they swallow. Ensure the baby latches correctly, with lips sealed around the nipple and not turning inward.


Fast Letdown: Watch for a rapid milk flow. Take a brief break if your baby gulps or gasps, potentially causing more air in the tummy. Once the flow slows, reattach the baby to the breast.


Positions: Explore various breastfeeding positions to find what’s comfortable for both of you. 

A lactation consultant can provide valuable tips.

Tips to ease infant gas: Breastfeeding | The Milky Box

If You Bottle-Feed: 

Bottle-feeding can be a great option for parents who prefer it, but just like breastfeeding some babies may experience gas discomfort. To minimize this, there are a few things you can do. 

Change Bottles

Try using a different bottle to reduce your baby’s air intake. Anti-colic bottles are designed to help your baby swallow less air during feeding, focusing on venting and air control to benefit your baby’s stomach. 

Change the Nipple Flow on Their Bottle

The size of the nipple may cause your baby to swallow extra air. If the nipple releases milk too fast or too slow, your baby might gulp air or get extra air from the bottle. Experimenting with different nipple sizes could help your baby feel more comfortable.

Use Premixed Formula

Mixing formula can introduce air bubbles, which your baby may swallow, leading to gas. To avoid this, consider using a premixed liquid formula or allow the formula to settle for a few minutes before feeding the baby. 


It's important to talk to your pediatrician before changing the formula, especially if you're trying to address excessive gas, as your doctor may recommend trying a different formula.

Tips to ease infant gas: Bottle feeding | The Milky Box

Wrap-Up with Confidence

Every baby is unique in their burping needs. Deciding how to burp or when to stop burping isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer; your baby’s cues will guide you. 


Trust your instincts; your pediatrician is just a call away when in doubt. For more tips and support on your journey, check out “The Milky Box” website — your go-to guide for parenting wisdom. 

References 

1. Baby basics: How to burp your baby | UNICEF Parenting. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/parenting/child-care/how-to-burp-baby


2. Breaking Up Gas - HealthyChildren.org. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/Pages/Breaking-Up-Gas.aspx


3. Colic - Breastfeeding challenges - Start for Life - NHS. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start-for-life/baby/feeding-your-baby/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-challenges/colic/


4. Feeding your newborn: Tips for new parents - Mayo Clinic. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/healthy-baby/art-20047741


5. Guide to Burping Infants: How and When to Burp a Newborn. Available at: https://www.boystownpediatrics.org/knowledge-center/baby-burping


6. How to Burp Your Baby - American Pregnancy Association. Available at: https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/first-year-of-life/how-to-burp-your-baby/


7. How to burp your baby - Bottle feeding - Start for Life - NHS. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start-for-life/baby/feeding-your-baby/bottle-feeding/bottle-feeding-your-baby/how-to-burp-your-baby/


8. Kaur, R., Bharti, B. and Saini, S. K. (2015) ‘A randomized controlled trial of burping for the prevention of colic and regurgitation in healthy infants’, Child: care, health and development, 41(1), pp. 52–56. doi: 10.1111/CCH.12166.


9. Reflux - La Leche League International. Available at: https://llli.org/breastfeeding-info/reflux/


10. Why Babies Spit Up - HealthyChildren.org. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Why-Babies-Spit-Up.aspx

Disclaimer:


Please be aware that this information is based on general trends in babies, and it is not medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician before making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.


Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.


Nazeli Gevorgyan is a medical doctor from Armenia, and is a researcher in the fields of Obstetrics and Gynecology, among others. Dr. Nazeli is passionate with providing women and parents with reliable and high-quality information on healthy options for infant nutrition, breastfeeding, infant formula, and food. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, traveling, and pottery. 

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Reviewed by Suzanne Renee',

Infant Nutrition Expert

Suzanne Renee' is an accomplished professional with extensive expertise in the area of infant nutrition, dedicated to promoting the health and wellbeing of children. She started this journey as a foster parent.


Suzanne has emerged as a strong proponent of the European baby formula and has become a full-time writer on the subject. 


In her free time, she enjoys camping, hiking, and going to church.