Table manners? They don't apply to infants. To reduce after-dinner discomfort, follow our tutorial to helping baby pass gas.

burping baby
Credit: Alexandra Grablewski

Check how he's feeding Babies need to burp because they tend to take in air while they're eating. To reduce the amount of air coming in and keep your little one at ease, make sure he's latched on well: His lips should be sealed around the bottle or your breast.

Put Baby on your shoulder Stand or sit comfortably, slightly reclining, and hold Baby under his bottom so he's well supported. Make sure he's facing behind you, looking over your shoulder, with his chin resting on a soft cloth to absorb any spit-up from a burp.

Pat him on the back Tap or rub the fingertips of your free hand across your baby's shoulder blades. Baby may move back and forth a bit; this won't hurt him as long as your shoulder supports his head. Be patient: It can take four or five minutes to coax out a burp.

Sit him on your lap As an alternate position, place your baby sideways on your lap, with his chest leaning slightly forward. Make sure he's firmly seated. Support his chin between your thumb and index finger, and pat his back across the shoulder blades.

Resume feeding If Baby has not finished his meal, feed him after he burps. Start by burping him every time you switch breasts if nursing, or every 2 or 3 ounces if you're using a bottle. Newborns may need to stop a feeding several times to let one out!

Originally published in the American Baby "Baby Care Basics" book.

American Baby