How to Burp Your Baby: Basics, Tips, and Positions

Mandy, Midwife at The Baby Academy

Does your newborn get grumpy after mealtimes? Don’t be offended. It’s nothing to do with you. It’s probably because she’s swallowed some air alongside her milk, making her uncomfortably full. The solution? Burping.

Try these burping tips and positions to bring up the air and ease your baby’s digestion.

How to burp your baby

A couple of tips to help you burp your baby successfully:

  • Protect your clothes by always keeping a burp cloth or bib between your outfit and baby’s mouth. Thank us later!
  • Keep a cloth, diaper, or bib on hand in case your baby spits up.
  • A gentle pat or rub will suffice for most babies, but some need a slightly firmer hand.
  • Pat the left side of your child’s back, which is beside the stomach.
  • If your baby is refusing to eat, try burping them first. It may be an air bubble in her tummy that’s causing her to protest. Impelling them to eat could cause further discomfort, which could make her start spitting up.

What are the best positions for burping your baby?

There are three primary ways to burp a baby: on your shoulder, face-down on your lap, or sitting up. Feel free to try each one before discerning which of them works best for you and your child.

  • On your shoulder: Hold your baby firmly against your shoulder. Support her bottom with one hand, and pat or rub her back with the other.
  • Face-down on your lap: Place your baby across your lap (her stomach on one of your legs, her head on the other, turned sideways, with her head supported and slightly higher than her chest). With one hand securely holding her, pat or rub your baby’s back with the other.
  • Sitting up: Hold your baby in a seated position on your lap, leaning slightly forward. Support the baby’s head and chest with one arm while you pat or rub with the other.
  • Walking: Once your baby has firm head control, you can try holding her upright in front of you, facing out, while you stand and walk. Put one hand under her bottom and the other arm across her tummy to apply light pressure. The motion may help give an additional release of any trapped air bubbles.

How frequently should I burp my baby?

This will depend on how she’s feeding:

  • Bottle-Feeding. If you’re feeding your baby with a bottle, burp your baby at least once per feeding session, roughly halfway through. You can increase this if she’s struggling to get it down.
  • Breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding, burp when switching between breasts to make room for more milk. If you’re only using one breast per feeding, burp mid-feed.

What should I do if my baby doesn’t burp?

If they don’t burp, don’t be concerned. Some babies don’t swallow much air and thus have no need for burping, while others pass wind instead.

Congratulations! Your burping training is complete. Now, if your baby gets grumpy after mealtimes, you know what to do.