Why is it no one really explains the process of burping? Why does no one really talk about burping at all? Unless you have a fussy baby, that is.
Then they tell you to burp him…like you should know exactly how to do that. Even worse, a well meaning relative may just say, “here give him to me.”
So not helpful.
As new moms who may be a bit too worried about getting enough milk in their tummies, we have a tendency – okay, I have a tendency – to hear baby crying and just pop a boob in his mouth.
Honestly though, if he’s gassy the last thing your baby wants is MORE milk. So if baby has eaten recently and starts fussing, or if you just finished feeding him, you can maybe hold off on the “more milk” idea and try burping him first.
There are some tried and true old-fashioned burping tips that really do work; but for some reason you don’t hear much about them. These methods have been sanity savers for me and tummy savers for my hard-to-burp baby! So I’d like to share them with you today.
Chest to Chest
Go ahead, roll your eyes. You know this. You’ve seen this before because it’s how EVERYBODY burps a baby, right?
Wrong. It’s not. Most people, if not everybody, put baby on their chest and have him only high enough that his head can be tucked under their chin. While you may get a burp this way, that’s not the most efficient position.
First, bring him higher. You want to put a little pressure on his tummy using your shoulder. Just don’t go tossing him overboard!
Next, lean yourself forward a bit so that he is super straight. Like a standing position, only in the air. Straight up and down.
Now begin the back patting. You can even lightly bounce from this position for extra burping mojo.
Bounce on knee
If you’re more of a bounce-the-burp-out-of-him kinda person, you can sit little guy on your knee and bounce gently. This is probably more effective for older babies who can hold their heads up and get bounced a little more vigorously; but you can still knee bounce a new baby.
I haven’t found it to be the most effective burping method for newborns, but it’s there if you want to try.
Belly on lap
An older lady I know swears by this method. She has it down to a science and never fails to get babies to burp this way. I’ve never been quite as successful as her. However, one bonus to this position is that even if no burps come forth, this is a really good way to get a fussy baby to quiet down and enjoy a different view.
Just lay his belly on your lap with his face looking over your knee. If he can’t control his head yet, turn his head to face the side and lay your hand under him for support.
Softly jostle him by bouncing your knees and feet together and alternating to get different rhythms. You have a lot of control with your legs here, so go with whatever rhythm and intensity seems to make him calm.
Palm in Belly
My best friend was a nurse on the hospital’s labor and delivery floor, and she has this magical method for burping a baby that she’s used on – well I have no idea how many babies, but it’s a lot.
She sits them on her lap with their side to her tummy and their legs dangling between hers. Then she leans them forward with her forearm supporting them across their chest and her palm in the baby’s belly.
Another way she does it is by standing and laying them across her forearm, belly down with her palm in the baby’s belly.
From either position, she bounces ever so slightly and the ball of her hand puts pressure in the baby’s abdomen just right so the burps come flying out. Amazing.
Up and Downs
Good old up and downs. This is the go to method at our house for getting a stubborn burp out.
Hold baby under the arms in a standing position, or as close to it as baby can, and lower him to a seated or squatted position, bounce once or twice, then raise him to a standing position.
We always accompany this with saying “up” as we go up and “down” as we bring him down. The goal is to smoosh in his belly with his knees so the air bubbles rise out.
Added bonus – babies enjoy hearing “up” and “down” and really seem to like feeling like a big person standing up. Win win!
Bounce on his right
If by this point you still need a way to get a burp out I’m going to guess your baby is really fussy, right? This last burp method has the benefit of a comforting embrace and a burp.
Cradle-hold your little one so their right side is down and their left shoulder is facing the ceiling.
No, I’m not trying to be a control freak, there is a really good reason for this position. The human stomach curves to the left, so if you turn a baby with the left side up, if there is an air bubble (which naturally tends to rise) in the upper curve of the tummy, laying on the left can help release the gas and let it rise on out through his mouth. Genius
As you can see, there’s more than one way to burp your little one. Whether sitting or standing, you can find a simple technique to get a burp out and make everyone feel better! If all else fails, you can hand him to someone else and watch in frustration as they get him to burp with maddening ease doing the very. same. thing. you just did. Happens to the best of us.
Do you know of a way to burp a baby I didn’t mention? Did one of these work for you? Please comment and let me know!