- Pregnancy & Childbirth
- Attachment Parenting
- Family Nutrition
- Family Wellness
Besides the pat on the back, effective burping requires two actions: holding baby in an upright position and applying pressure on baby's tummy (parents often forget this latter step). You seldom see a baby being burped in non-Western, breastfeeding cultures. The belief that babies need burping after feedings, or help "bringing up the wind," originated with the spread of bottle-feeding. The faster flow of milk from bottle nipples forces babies to gulp air in between closely-spaced swallows. Breastfeeding infants have fewer problems with air in their tummies. They can control the flow of milk at the breast and so they suck with a slower rhythm that allows them to better coordinate breathing and swallowing. Also, breastfed babies tend to be fed in a more upright position and enjoy smaller, more frequent feedings – other conditions that lessen the swallowing of air. Yet, even breastfed babies need to be burped occasionally, especially if they are fast feeders and/or mother has a strong milk ejection reflex.
To lessen the likelihood that baby will swallow air at the breast, feed baby in the upright position (at a 45 degree angle or greater). Help baby comfortably keep a tight seal during latch-on by supporting the weight of your breast and by wrapping baby around you rather than letting baby dangle away from the breast. Watch for signs that baby needs to burp during or after a feeding: she may balk at going to the other breast or she may squirm and grimace when you lay her down; there may be a painful expression on her face. If baby is content, the need to burp is past—if she needed to burp at all. Don't feel you have failed if you don't manage to bring up a burp after every feeding. Babies often don't need to burp with snack-type feedings; after a big meal, it's usually worth putting in some patient effort until baby burps. As babies get older and more proficient at feeding, burping becomes less of an issue. Try these burping positions:
( add illustrations on page 67 and 68 of Breastfeeding Book)