How To Burp A Baby, Plus Tricks For Sleeping & Hard-To-Burp Babies

Everything To Know About Burping Your Baby (Even When They’re Sleeping)

November 17, 2020 Updated November 24, 2020

woman-burping-baby (1)
SDI Productions/Getty Images

Let’s be real: We all feel better after a solid belch, right? Your little one may not be talking yet, but if they could, they’d say, “Same.” In fact, it’s super-important for baby, because they can’t help swallowing air when they’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding (okay, sometimes from crying fits, too). And all those tiny trapped air bubbles may make your lovebug so uncomfortable and full-feeling from the pressure that they don’t want to finish their meal! So, the question of the hour is this: How do you burp a baby? You know, the right way. Because believe it or not, there’s an art to baby burping.

While burps aren’t exactly known for being the most endearing sound, they sure do manage to be charming when they come out of your child’s precious little face. And since you’ll know that you’re providing them with relief from potential stomach aches from gas pain, the sound will be that much sweeter every time you elicit a hearty “buuurrp” from your baby. Let’s get to it then!

What happens if baby doesn’t burp?

When those gas bubbles baby sucks in can’t escape, they just hang around taking up space — space your little one needs for their full meal. Plus, trapped gas (as you probably know) can be downright painful.

How do you burp a baby fast?

How fast your baby expels that excess air isn’t exactly something you can control. Even the frequency of burping will vary from child to child. Some babies hardly burp at all because they simply swallow less air. Some babies only take a few light pats on the back to let out an envious belch.

But there are also hard-to-burp babies that may require a bit more coaxing to get that burp out. In general, if your baby hasn’t burped within a few minutes of trying, you may need to try again later. Or, at the very least, switch burping methods (more on that in a minute).

Is it okay to put baby to sleep without burping?

The goal should always be to burp your baby when feeding time is over. Having said that, parenting means accepting that things — many, many things — won’t always go according to plan. You may have one of those babies who just doesn’t burp often. On the other hand, or rather end, your little one might release their trapped gas in the form of a toot.

If you do put baby to sleep without burping, you may be awoken in the middle of the night by a gassy, uncomfortable baby. The mere act of picking them up could be enough to get rid of the overdue burp. If not, try one of the following popular burping positions for a few minutes. Just don’t forget to grab a burp cloth in case anything comes up or out (wet burp, our old nemesis).

Over-the-Shoulder

When you think of burping a baby, this may very well be the position you’re picturing. Here, you rest baby’s chin or belly on your shoulder (but the latter only once baby has good head/neck and breath control). Use one hand to support and hold your little one in place, while simultaneously using the other to gently pat baby’s back.

Sitting Up

With this position, you’ll situate your baby either sitting up in your lap or on your knee. You want to support their chest and head with one hand (you sort of cradle baby’s chin in your palm), being mindful not to grip baby by the throat. With your free hand, pat your baby’s back.

Tummy Down on Lap

Think of this sort of like the superman or airplane — with you in a seated position, lay baby down across your knees. Support their head with one hand, making sure it’s higher than their chest. Then simply use your free hand to pat baby’s back.

How to burp a baby that is hard to burp or sleeping?

Does your baby want to nap after every feeding sesh, making it tricky to get a good burp in? Well, here’s some good news: You can still burp baby in all the normal ways while they’re sleeping. When baby’s milk wasted, they probably won’t even open their eyes — but the burp may still work its way out.

So, what should you do if you have a seemingly burp-resistant baby? For starters, remember that your little one may just not be much of a burper. As long as they don’t seem uncomfortable and they’re eating enough, that’s okay. If you’re ever concerned, though, just ask baby’s doctor for pointers at your next visit.