Dr. Linda, my son is really hard to burp! Should I worry?
Burping gets rid of the air bubbles your baby swallows during a feed.
In last weeks blog, we talked about how these air bubbles can get trapped in your baby’s tummy and cause spit up. Sometimes there are so many bubbles they fill up your baby’s tummy and make him feel full so he stops eating. If this happens, burp him and see what happens. If he’s still hungry he’ll let you know by showing you his hunger cues again. Big air bubbles he doesn’t burp up will travel down his intestines and may cause gas pain later on.
Some babies burp easily and some are more difficult to burp.Burping your baby after each breast or after each 2 ounces of formula or expressed breastmilk (EBM) is a great habit to get into. If your baby seems really gassy try to burp him a little more frequently.
Burping techniques are all designed to get the gas bubbles in your baby’s tummy up into the upper parts of his stomach where he can get them out more easily.
- Upright position:
- Hold your baby upright over your shoulder.
- Support his head and neck with one hand so his head doesn’t flop back.
- Pat his back vigorously (his cheeks should vibrate,) or rub his back firmly in a circular pattern till he burps.
- Face down position:
- Put your baby face down on your lap with his head on one leg and his body on your other one. Make sure you’re not putting too much pressure on his tummy.
- Turn his face to one side so he doesn’t suffocate.
- Raise the leg that has his head on it so his head is higher than the rest of his body.
- Pat his back or rub it in firm circular motions.
- If he doesn’t burp this way, pick him up and try putting him over your shoulder as above.
- Sitting up position:
- Sit your baby up on your lap.
- Support his chin between your thumb and index finger.
- Pat his back or rub it in circular motions with your other hand.
- If your baby tends to spit up you may want to avoid this method because it puts a lot of pressure on his abdomen and may increase his spitting up.
Horizontal hold: if your baby is really difficult to burp sometimes try lying him down with his head raised to a 45-degree angle for a few moments before trying to burp him.
My son was very gassy and I remember clearly how hard it was to burp him. If he didn’t burp after a minute or two, I would get really upset. He would then pick up on my stress and start to cry ( which made him swallow more air!). It was a vicious cycle. One day it dawned on me that I was part of the problem! ( Not my finest moment) Instead of getting upset, I decided to change my attitude and be with my son as my best self rather than the stressed-out person I had become. I would take as many deep breaths as I needed to relax and just be with my son as he tried to burp. I have to say, this change in attitude helped both of us a lot. Kam began to burp more easily and I was much calmer and better able to handle it when he didn’t.
As always I hope you found this blog helpful.
I would love to hear your tips for burping your gassy baby. Do you have any techniques you would like to share with other moms? Please post them below.
Next week we’ll talk about sources of extra gas in your baby’s intestinal tract and what you can do about it. I firmly believe that an informed mother is a powerful mother!
To your holistic health,