How to get better at burping your baby

Mother nursing newborn son in bed.
Mother nursing newborn son in bed.

If your baby is suffering from wind, she will probably stop sucking on her bottle or resist your breast during a feed.

This is because the trapped air is making her feel full before she has drunk enough milk. She could even cry, have a pained expression on her face, or squirm and grimace if you try to lay her down after a feed. 

The wind is caused by air that gets trapped in your baby’s digestive system. Normally, your baby takes in the air while breathing or crying, but during feeding, she swallows excess air as she sucks.

These air bubbles then travel through her digestive system and can cause extreme discomfort if they are too large to pass through her system naturally. Some babies suffer severely from wind, while others hardly suffer at all.

It is thought that breastfed babies have less severe wind than bottle-fed babies.

This is because breastfed babies can control the flow of the milk from the breast, so they suck at a slower pace and take in fewer gasps of air between sucks.

It is also likely that breastfed babies have smaller, more frequent feeds and are fed in a more upright position, both of which can reduce wind. Breastfed babies, however, still need to be burped often, especially if they are fast feeders or your milk flows quickly.

If you bottle-feed your baby, you can help her avoid wind by feeding her in the most upright position possible and tilting the bottle enough for the milk to cover the entrance to the teat completely.

How do I get my baby’s wind up?

To help get your baby’s wind up, you need to dislodge and disperse the air bubbles that have been trapped in her system. You do this by burping her.

There are three common positions for burping your baby. Try them all to find the one that works best for you.

Over the shoulder

Place your baby over your shoulder, with her bum supported by your arm. Pat or rub her back gently with your other hand. This is often the easiest position to use as your baby is stretched out and upright

Sitting up

Sit your baby on your lap so that she leans forward with her chest supported on your forearm as you hold her far shoulder. Pat or rub her back

Face down on your lap

Place your baby face down on your lap. Hold her firmly with one hand while you gently pat or rub her back.

When to wind

If she is feeding happily, don’t stop to burp her as she will probably cry and swallow more air.

Try to make the most of any natural breaks during a feed, like when she lets go of the teat or during a breast change-over.

Wind her once again when the feed is over. Remember that she may bring up some of her feed, so have a cloth handy to protect your clothes.

If no wind has been brought up after a few minutes of back rubbing, and your baby isn’t in any discomfort, then she might not have to be winded.

If your baby consistently has trouble bringing up wind, try ‘cycling’ her legs or gently rubbing her stomach to help break up any air bubbles that might have been trapped.

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