If you’re a first-time mom, you may be wondering exactly how to burp a baby.  Indeed, babies need to burp, it is essential for their feeding routine.

This might sound like a lot of importance is placed on something that humans naturally do.  However, there are specific reasons why babies burp, and why it is important that they do.

Believe it or not, burping your baby is one of the most important things you can do to help them feel good.  Here’s why knowing how to burp a baby will give you peace-of-mind and a happy household.

The Reason Behind Burping

Have you ever wondered, “Why do people burp?”  Well, burping is a way for us to expel excess gas from our system.

When you swallow food, air tends to follow it down the esophagus to settle in the stomach.  This air will settle at the top of the stomach and cause the stomach to “swell”.  Eventually, the valve at the top of the tummy opens and allows this air to go back up the esophagus.  The result is expelling it by burping.

This also happens when you drink carbonated drinks like soda or any drink that contains bubbles.

It is a natural way to free up space in our bodies from excess content that can’t be digested and thus used.

Why Is It Important To Know How To Burp A Baby?

So, now we know why people burp, the next question is, why is it so important for babies to burp?

Trapped gas can cause a lot of discomfort and pain.  This is especially true for babies. 

Everything is foreign to a new baby, and having this bloated feeling can cause a lot of stress and pain.  This also occurs in older children and adults however, they move more and this movement will often allow gas to pass.

Knowing how to burp a newborn baby will also help with their feeding routine.  Any trapped gas can make them feel more full than they really are.  This will mean they may not take in the required amount of milk during that feed.  Consequently, they will feel hungrier quicker and you will be feeding your baby more often.

New babies usually have difficulty burping on their own, so parents/carers will need to help them bring up that gas.  This is why it is important to know how to burp a baby – especially your newborn. 

Spitting up yellow substances is a notable side effect that babies can experience if they cannot clear air from their stomachs.  Apart from having a baby who needs to feed often because they are hungry, having trapped air in the digestive tract can be quite painful. 

There are even suggestions that trapped air, either in the stomach or further through the digestive system, can cause a “colicky” baby.

Spitting Up

Spitting up in itself is a normal occurrence for babies.  Often they continue to suckle for comfort, even when they are full.  This means that some of what they ingest will likely return for them to spit out.

Bringing up some of their milk usually takes place during their first three months.  It is important to differentiate this from vomiting.  The motion of spitting up is easy and natural, whereas vomiting is a lot more forceful and causes discomfort.

Usually, the material that is brought back up is quite white in color.  This is because the milk has not been in baby’s belly for very long, so is still fresh. 

You will find that the longer after a feed that baby brings milk back up, the more cream-colored it will become.  When milk comes into contact with the acids inside baby’s tummy, it starts to ferment.  Not only does this cause a yellowing, it may also create more gas which will need to find a way out.

Please note:  any color darker than a creamy-yellow may need a consultation with your maternal nurse.  This will also be the case if you experience multiple large regurgitation.

One of the many ways to decrease the likelihood of spit-ups is for you to know how to burp a baby.

Note: If you have any concerns, it is always wise to consult your doctor.

burp baby to reduce spit ups

When To Burp A Baby

You don’t need to burp a baby constantly, nor should you.  Please don’t make the mistake of trying to make them burp every so often.

In fact, doing this could disrupt their food intake and may even make them quite upset.  Try to help them burp only when your baby needs to but can’t.

There are signs that babies give when they need to bring gas up.  The main indicator is discomfort and includes clenching fists, pulling their knees up and general crankiness.

Babies will make it known to everyone that they aren’t feeling comfortable and require assistance.  It is up to you, as parents, to ascertain where this discomfort is coming from. 

So, watch the times when baby is either spitting up more than usual or feeling uncomfortable.  Does this occur not long after a feed?  If so, you may need to work on your technique for burping a newborn.

How To Burp A Baby For Best Results

As we already know, babies will need help burping but always be gentle as newborns are very fragile.  However, if your baby is having trouble getting wind up, try these 3 easy techniques to help.

You can try to help them burp with ease with three positions: over your shoulder, sitting on the lap, and lying across the lap. These positions are very common, and either one effectively gets them to burp.

Over Your Shoulder

Hold your baby upright with their chin over your shoulder.  Lightly pat or rub your baby’s back until they burp.  Rub either up and down or in a circular motion.

This process may take a while so sit in a slightly reclined position with good back support.

If baby is having trouble bringing up wind, lay them down on their back for around a minute.  This may help bring the air up to the top of the stomach.  Then simply put them back over your shoulder and repeat the process.

burp a baby over your shoulder

Sitting On Your Lap

Have your baby sit on your lap facing to one side.  Place the palm of your hand on their chest and rest their chin between your thumb and index finger.  This will support their head properly.

Be careful not to place your hand near baby’s throat.

With baby supported well in a sitting position, gently pat their back using your other hand.  You can also use a circular motion to help bring wind out.

how to burp a baby sitting

Lying Across Your Lap

Another easy way to burp a baby is to have them lie across your lap. 

With your knees together, place baby on their tummy with the top of their chest and pelvis resting on each thigh.

Baby’s head will be hanging slightly down but rest assured, they will be quite comfortable.

As with previous methods, either pat or rub baby’s back.

This is also a great introduction for “tummy time” for baby and helps develop neck strength.

how to burp a baby across your lap

Other Things To Consider

It may take a while for baby to bring wind up, so be patient.  Also, be gentle during the whole process.  Patting baby hard may actually shake the tummy and make it more difficult for them to burp. 

If a minute passes and no burp has come out, take a break.  Have them lie down on your lap or beside you for a minute and then try again.

Have a soft cloth either beneath them or beside you for if they spit up something while burping.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should you burp your baby when they sleep?

You don’t want to make them burp all the time, so there shouldn’t be a need to do it in their sleep.

There might be a chance of them waking up from their sleep because they’re having a hard time burping, so help them if that happens.

2. When can you stop burping your baby?

Every baby is different.  Some might not require assistance for more than a few months, while others may still need help at an older age.

A good age range to not need to burp your babies is four to six months.  By that time, they are usually able to burp on their own.

3. When do I ask for help?

Try to wait it out and use each of the above 3 methods of how to burp a baby. It may take a while for them to burp or let out the excess gas/contents in their bodies.

If they are uncomfortable and unable to be settled, there is no harm in being cautious.  This is especially true if baby’s behavior changes. 


Burping is a natural thing we do to regulate excess air, from our stomachs.  However, this is not always easy for a newborn.  So, it is vital that we know how to burp a baby properly so that they thrive.

Always be gentle and patient when burping a new baby, and try different positions.  Eventually, your child will burp out the gas and you can all have some much-needed rest.

We hope you found this article helpful and appreciate any feedback in the comments below.

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