Your life starts revolving around your little bundle of joy from the minute he is born. He fills your life with happiness, he completes you and you would want to do everything right for him. So as you master the activities of feeding him, changing his diapers, and getting him to sleep (herculean task if you ask us), it is imperative that you start burping your baby after each feed and it’s also important that you do it correctly.
Why the simple act of burping the baby holds so much importance?
Simply put, gas is the air that gets trapped in the baby’s stomach and it’s released when you burp your baby. How does that build up in those little tummies?
- A hungry baby gulps milk too fast and swallows air in the process
- Gassy carbs in the mother’s diet may get passed on through the breastfeed. If the baby is on solids, he may be taking in food that is difficult to digest.
- Bottle-fed babies may suffer a little more if he bottles are not manufactured to regulate the airflow. Worse, the bottle may be right but you might have chosen the wrong nipple size.
Remember that the gas doesn’t sit idle in the stomach of your little one. In fact, it can be a major factor that contributes to the uneasiness of your baby. The baby becomes cranky because of this gas and starts spitting up. The presence of excessive air in the baby’s abdomen is not only the main cause of very bad stomach ache but also a prime reason why babies suffer from colic. As a first-time young mother, you may encounter plenty of colic nights. The baby would cry all through the night and not mildly, mind you. He would also spit all the milk just after you’ve fed him for half an hour. The best way to deal with this situation is to be prepared and prevent it from happening. To avoid a situation where you have to give a pain relief medicine, you can burp your baby frequently.
When to burp your baby?
Burp your baby after every single meal. Sometimes the baby may take only little feed in. It could be a sign of a bloated tummy that feels full. In such cases, you need not wait till the end of the feed for burping. You may burp after every few ounces of intake.
How to burp your baby?
There are three commonly used ways to burp your baby correctly. You can try all to find out which works best for you and the baby.
The first and most common position is to hold your baby over your shoulder while facing towards you. Position your baby in such a manner that his chin rests on your shoulder. Alternatively hold him high enough to have his tummy against your shoulder. With one hand give support to the baby and use the other hand to pat his back for burping.
Second technique is a sitting one. You can also burp your baby while he sits in your lap or across your knees. Give support to his head and chest with one hand as you pat/burp him with the other.
The third most common way to burp your baby is to make him lie on your lap on his stomach, face down. Make sure to support his head while you gently try to make him burp.
Once both you and the baby are comfortable in the position that you have chosen, burp him often. If the baby doesn’t burp, don’t start pounding too hard. Keep patience, wait a minute or so, change position and start again. Try to hold your baby in a straight position for about 10-15 minutes after you have fed him. This will avert the spit-ups.
Other best practices to avoid gas
The baby is usually lying on his back, until he learns to roll-over. You can give him some tummy time to release any built-ups in the stomach. Tummy time can be given by putting the baby’s tummy against the mother’s as the mother lies down. Remember, no tummy time immediately after feeds. You can spread it throughout the day and give it 2-3 times.
If you don’t feed the baby often, he will be very hungry at your feeding hours. He will gulp too fast and too much. There will be air in-take. Besides, the baby will suffer from indigestion due to overeating. Feed him when he demands, no matter how frequent it is.
Breast-fed babies are less gassy compared to bottle fed babies. Bottles sometimes have bigger mouths, causing air suction. Given a choice, breastfeed as much as you can. If you can’t breastfeed for any reason, don’t worry much. Simple choose the right nipple size for your baby’s age. Bottle brands can also make a lot of difference. Change until you find the perfect one to suit your baby.
Check what you are feeding him, if he is on solids already. Too much carbs in his diet may be causing gases. Certain veggies like potatoes are also common culprits. Ready-to-eat food may not suit your child. Try changing the brand to see which one works best.
Towards a healthy life
Every parent has to go through this stage of their baby, so don’t worry. It is more important to burp your baby regularly until he is about six months old. Before that most of his time is spent lying down which causes gas. Six months and older babies spend most of their time awake and in an upright position which helps them burp on their own.
When you keep your baby gas free, he becomes more active as well as playful. It helps in digestion and leads him towards a healthy life.