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Burping Your Baby When Breastfeeding

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Updated April 01, 2009

Conflicting advice abounds when it comes to burping and breastfeeding. What's the point of it? Do you have to burp? Here's what you need to know:

The Big Gulp(er)

If you have a very strong milk ejection reflex (let-down), or are extremely full at the beginning of a feeding, your baby may gulp very loudly. When she swallows like this, she's taking in a significant amount of air. If she becomes fussy as the feeding continues, she is most probably the perfect candidate for a good burping. This typically takes place later in the feed. Simply take the baby off the breast, burp her, and put her back to the same breast. Once she relieves herself of the air, her entire demeanor will change and she'll be much happier. Keep in mind that many babies need frequent breaks to burp and this is still very normal.

How Do I Burp My Baby?

There are a few different ways to burp:

  • Put the baby high up on your shoulder, so that his arms are gently hanging over you. (When there is slight pressure on the baby's stomach, it is easier to achieve a burp.) Rub the lower part of his back, gently, in a circular motion to bring up the bubble. It is not necessary to slap his upper back. His stomach is low and the burp will arrive much faster with that gentle touch. OR
  • Sit him up in your lap. For very young babies who don't have strong neck control yet, you should hold the baby's chin between your thumb and index finger. Bend him forward slightly and gently caress his back. Burps are usually elicited quickly with this technique.

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