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The Best Way to Burp a Baby

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So you’ve got a new baby at home, and you’re not sure how to burp your child…

What is the best way to burp a baby?

If you have recently given birth, you might not know yet how to burp a newborn baby. After all, mommies do not develop the skill of burping baby overnight. Nor do they automatically know the best baby burping positions in a snap. So, forgive yourself for grasping at straws because there’s always a first time for everything – and this is one of those times.

To help you understand burping a little bit more, we prepared this article for you. Think of it as a crash course in burping (and the best part of it is that you don’t even have to pay for the lessons!). So, shall we start the crash course, then?

The best way to burp a baby

First, what is a burp?

A burp, which every one of us does, is essentially an act of releasing gas through the esophagus and out the mouth. The gas comes from air that is sometimes swallowed by people when they take in food or beverages. Whereas adult burps definitely do not bring up food particles, baby burps sometimes do. Newborn burps can bring with them some stuff from Baby’s tummy and will probably appear milky white. For sanitary purposes, mommies usually use baby burp cloths to keep the burp off of their clothes or their baby’s clothes.

baby burp cloths to keep the burp off of their clothes

Why do babies need to be burped?

Considering how babies seem to burp by themselves, you are probably asking any of the following questions: Why do you burp a baby? Do breastfed babies need to be burped? What about bottle-fed babies; do they also have to be burped?

Essentially, babies have to be burped because when the gas gets stuck in their tummy, the gas bubbles can give them feelings of discomfort. This manifests in squirming and crying.  However, babies cry whenever they experience something that is unpleasant to them, so mommies may not really know if the cry is due to gas or to something else. Hence, it would be good for babies to be regularly burped.

 When do babies burp themselves?

As mentioned earlier, babies can burp themselves. But burping on their own does not happen until they are between four and nine months old.

The younger they are, the less likely it is that they can burp themselves because they do not have the capacity to sit up or be in a position that would allow air bubbles to be released. Mommies then should help babies do this. If you do this for your baby, he or she will surely thank you, albeit non-verbally!

You might also want to remember that when babies start spending most of their time staying awake and sitting up in strollers or in infant seats, burping can then be lessened. As they sit up and move around, air bubbles rise up in their esophagus, and they are able to expel the bubbles themselves.

When do you burp a baby?

The quick and short answer to the question of when to burp a baby is this – you burp him or her when Baby doesn’t  burp by himself or herself. But we know that this answer is too generic. Besides, you might even perceive us as teasing you with how we phrased it (although we assure you that we are not doing anything of the sort).

So we came up with a more accurate (and less teasing answer). You should burp your baby twice for every feeding session. Burp baby once during the middle of a feeding and one more time in the end. This process is clearer when your baby is bottle-fed. Why? Because you simply have to observe when your baby finishes drinking 2 to 3 ounces of the milk then burp him or her once. Afterward, allow your baby to finish the milk then burp him or her another time.

Burping breastfed babies entails another “timing technique.” If you are breastfeeding your baby, make sure that you burp him or her once before you switch from one breast to the other and once at the end of the feeding.

one breast to the other and once at the end of the feeding

How long do you burp a baby?

The length of time that it would require mommies to burp their babies depends on the baby’s behavior during feeding and how long it would take him or her to feed. Usually, it only takes a few minutes (around four) for the baby to burp in the middle and after a feeding session. Sometimes, though, babies can be gassy, colicky or possetting (spitting up some milk after feeding). If your baby is like this, you might want to try burping him or her once every 5 minutes (breastfeeding) or once every ounce of milk consumed (bottle-feeding).

How do you burp a baby?

Burping a baby requires a very simple movement. You only have to stroke your baby’s back or pat it gently while supporting the head and the neck. Some mommies tend to pound their baby’s back hard. However, this is a no-no as it only makes Baby feel more uncomfortable.

If you do pat or stroke your baby’s back and nothing happens, maybe your baby doesn’t need to burp at that moment. However, if your baby seems fussy and he or she still has not burped, you might want to try giving him or her a warm bath to lessen the fussing. Afterward, you should follow the bath with a gentle and circular clockwise motion massage on your baby’s tummy to release the trapped air bubbles.

If your baby still does not burp, you can put him or her down on a comfortable surface and make him or her lie down facing up. Take hold of your baby’s legs and gently push them back and forth as if he or she is riding a bicycle. The motion should stimulate the movement of air bubbles so the gas can be released.

Baby Burping Positions

As a mommy, you should know how to burp a sleeping baby or a baby who is awake for that matter. There are four positions that you could choose from when burping your baby, regardless of your baby’s state of consciousness.

Burping on your chest

When burping your baby on your chest, make sure that you hold your baby against your chest so that his or her chin is safely resting on your shoulder. Cup your baby’s bottom to make sure that he or she does not slip. Place your hand gently on his or her back and start stroking or patting.

Place your hand gently on his or her back and start stroking or patting

Burping on your shoulder

If your baby has more control over his or her head, you may want to hold him or her up a bit farther from your shoulder. Then position your baby’s tummy near your shoulder and press it against your shoulder until your baby burps. Remember to cup your baby’s bottom still and place your other hand on your baby’s back. Take note though that this burping method is good for older babies who have more control of their head and neck.

Take note though that this burping method is good for older babies who have more control of their head and neck

Burping on your lap

Pull your baby close to you and put him or her across your lap. Ensure that the position is perpendicular to your buddy. Put your baby’s tummy on your leg and gently apply pressure to the stomach using your leg. Wait until your baby burps. Make sure that you tilt your baby’s head on one side so that your baby can breathe. Put your thumb and index finger on your baby’s chin or jaw, immediately below his ear so that you could support his tilted head.  Also remember to keep your baby’s body even while he or she is lying across your leg. This is necessary so that blood will not rush to your baby’s head.

This is necessary so that blood will not rush to your baby’s head

Burping baby while leaning against your body

Sit down on a comfortable chair and lean gently on the backrest. Bring your baby’s body up and lean it against yours, so that your baby’s head is against your chest and your baby’s stomach is against your belly. Cup his or her bottom with your hand and place your other hand on his or her back for patting. Pat your baby gently until he or she burps.

Cup his or her bottom with your hand and place your other hand on his or her back for patting

So there you have it! Congratulations, because now you are ready to burp your baby properly!

Of the four ways we have suggested, which do you like best? Whichever you think is the best way to burp a baby, always remember to follow your baby’s cues while doing it.


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