Why Does My Baby Cry When Burping?

Most parents know that babies need to be burped, but how—and why? Read on for general information, tips, and tricks.

From exhaustion and discomfort to being hungry and overtired, there are numerous reasons why babies cry. It is a normal and natural communication method. Crying is your baby's way of telling you they need comfort and care. But why do babies cry while burping? Here's everything you need to know about all-too-common reaction.

Why Do Babies Need to Be Burped?

Whether your baby is breastfed or bottlefed, it's inevitable that they'll swallow some air along with their milk or formula. When too much air becomes trapped in the stomach, it leads to discomfort, and that can cause any baby to cry. This is where burping comes in. Burping helps your baby release air that's trapped in their stomach and makes them more comfortable during and after feeding.

How Often Should You Burp Your Baby?

It's helpful to burp your baby several times while they're feeding. You might start by burping them every time they consume a couple of ounces, or every five minutes. By burping them periodically, there will be less air trapped in their stomach, and releasing smaller amounts of air won't be as uncomfortable as releasing a larger amount.

That said, sometimes babies take in a lot of air while they're nursing or bottle feeding. You can reduce the amount of air your baby takes in by feeding them in a more upright position rather than allowing them to lie flat on their back. If you're breastfeeding, make sure that baby is latched on tightly, so that they are not taking in a lot of air. If you're bottle feeding, make sure that the hole in the nipple isn't too big, which might force your baby to gulp the formula and swallow a lot of air in the process. A nipple that's too small, on the other hand, can also cause babies to swallow too much air. Nipples come in several shapes and sizes, and you might have more luck with some types than others.

burping baby

What Are the Best Positions for Burping Your Baby?

There are lots of good burping positions, and one of them might work better than others for you and your baby. In any position, it's helpful to apply gentle pressure to your baby's tummy while gently rubbing or patting their back. Here are three burping positions that might be particularly effective for your baby.

On Your Shoulder

Hold your baby against your shoulder, with their buttocks facing away from you. Support their bottom with one hand and rub or pat their back with the other hand.

Sitting Up

Hold your baby in a sitting position, so that their leaning slightly forward on your lap. Place the heel of your hand against their tummy, and support their chin with your fingers or the top of the same hand. As you lean your baby forward, apply gentle pressure to their tummy with the heel of your hand to help the trapped air move up and out of their stomach while you gently rub or pat baby's back with the other hand.

Face Down On Your Lap

Place baby—tummy down—over your thigh so that it presses gently against their tummy. Support your baby's head with one hand so that it stays slightly higher than their body while you gently rub or pat their back with the other hand.

The good news is that your baby will soon be able to release trapped air without much help from you. By the age of six months, most babies don't need any help burping. In the meantime, if your baby continues to show signs of discomfort after eating, be sure to discuss their symptoms with your pediatrician.

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