Is there a correct way to burp a baby?
“How to burp a baby” was one of the top 10 most searched parenting topics in New York in 2016, according to Google. But there are no strict rules about how to burp a baby — or even if burping during or after feeding is absolutely necessary, says Dr. Jennifer Shaer, a pediatrician and chief medical officer for Allied Physicians Group, with 22 offices on Long Island.
“You can put them over your legs, you can put them over your shoulder,” she says of how to position the baby. You could even sit them up and support their chin, she says. “It’s kind of instinctual,” Shaer says. Once parents find a position that works for their baby, they usually stick with it, she says.
Then, gently pat the baby on the back to help the baby release any air. If the baby is particularly fussy, parents can rub or massage the baby’s back to help a burp along.
If baby doesn’t burp, that’s OK, Shaer says. “It’s not the end of the world. It will come out the other end,” she says. “Or maybe there’s just no gas.”
Parents can wait until a feeding is complete to burp a baby, and they can stop after one burp, she says.
While many people think burping is caused by air that the baby gulps while feeding, Shaer also says all babies have bacteria in their stomach and intestines that are constantly producing gas. Babies might just feel more pain from gas than adults do because their systems are still developing, Shaer says. “I think a lot of people have a crying baby in front of them and think, ‘Maybe I didn’t burp him right,’ ” she says. And so, they turn to Google.