Q: How often should I burp my baby?
A: For most babies, burping midway through the feeding and afterward will release any air bubbles that can trigger gas. Try burping your baby during his natural pauses in feeding, such as when he slows down after finishing the first breast. While a few babies need to be burped more frequently, many parents make the mistake of disrupting feedings with unnecessary attempts at burping. This prolongs the feeding time, frustrating a hungry baby, which can increase air swallowing. Trapped air can cause immediate discomfort, make a baby feel full before he's really finished his feeding, or pass into the intestines, causing gas.There are several good positions for burping your baby: • Support your baby upright over a burp cloth on your shoulder and firmly pat his back.• Sit him upright on your lap with your hand under his chin to support his chest and head. Lean him forward slightly while you rub and pat his back.• Lay him across your lap on his belly, with his head slightly higher than the rest of his body, and firmly rub and pat his back.If he doesn't burp after a few minutes, keep feeding him, and if he seems uncomfortable, try burping him again.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, August 2005. Updated 2009.