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Do Babies Need To Burp After Breastfeeding? Truth Revealed!

By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH | Updated: 27 October 2021

Wait, was that a burp, a fart or nothing?

We've all been there, patting and rubbing away and wondering if baby is going to burp or spit up but that curious thought creeps in...

Do babies need to burp after breastfeeding?

You've heard that some babies do and others don't... But what does that mean for you and your little one?

Do Breastfed Babies Need To Be Burped Pin

Well, let's break down the mystery and explain the truth about whether or not your baby needs to be burped after a breastfeed!

do babies need to burp after breastfeeding? 

So do you need to burp a baby after breastfeeding?

Well, the answer to the question do babies need to burp after breastfeeding, is...

SOMETIMES!

Super helpful, I know! But let me explain...

The truth of the matter is that bottle-fed babies tend to take in more air when they feed so they need to be burped more frequently than breastfed babies.

And as a general rule, breastfed babies need burping less often than bottle-fed babies, but this will largely depend on whether your little one is a greedy feeder, a fussy feeder or if you have a very strong milk flow and are producing an abundance of milk.

You should never rule out the fact that your breastfed baby may need burping after a feed and you will certainly get to know if your baby is more comfortable having been burped, as they may struggle to settle if they have wind.

Do I need to burp baby after breastfeeding at night?

It will all depend on your baby BUT if you can get away with not burping your baby at night they are less likely to wake up fully and therefore, they’ll settle more quickly after a night feed. 

This really is a case of trial and error to see what your baby can and cannot manage. If your baby is waking soon after a night feed it may be an indication that they need to be burped after being fed. 

Some babies simply do not need burping at night because they are sleepy and feed less enthusiastically and take in less air.

Do babies need to burp after breastfeeding Featured image

What counts as a burp?

Is there really a difference between a burp, spit up and a fart after a feed? 

A burp is the release of trapped air inhaled during a feed coming back up the oesophagus (windpipe).

Spit up is also known as a wet burp. This is a type of burp as air and milk come back up together.

In its more severe form spitting up can be a sign of reflux which can occur in breastfed babies. 

So, if you suspect your baby is suffering from reflux or colic then burping your baby is definitely essential. To learn more about colic and reflux and how to handle it, check out my post How A Norland Nanny Handles Colic and Reflux.

Farting does not count as a burp as it is a result of gas getting into the intestines and will usually occur long after a feed, unlike a burp which happens in the minutes after a feed. 

A fart is simply a release of air from your baby’s tummy down south!

How long should you burp breastfed babies for?

The truth is some babies are easier to burp than others.

In fact, babies can sometimes burp as you move them from lying down to over your shoulder or from one breast to the other! This is great when it happens but what should you do if your baby is a reluctant burper?

If you suspect your baby has trapped wind then I would suggest that you try to burp them for no longer than 5 minutes and if no burp has been produced by then, then lay your baby down and see if they settle.

Top Tip

You may need to try several different positions to burp your baby before you get a result.

What happens if baby doesn’t burp after breastfeeding?

"What if my baby won't burp after breastfeeding then?"

Well, if your baby doesn't burp then do not stress!

Some breastfed babies don't need to burp after every feed and you can’t force a burp if does not want to come. 

Don’t spend ages forcing a burp that may never come, especially at night. 

You will certainly get to know if your baby is uncomfortable but bear in mind that burping is not essential and that it will largely depend on your baby’s individual needs and feeding habits.

8 Fantastic Techniques to burp breastfed babies

Here's how to burp the baby after breastfeeding in the top positions to relieve any trapped gas:

1. Over the shoulder

This is the most common burping position where you lift your baby onto your shoulder and rub or pat their back. This is the easiest way to burp a sleeping or sleepy baby.

2. Across the lap

Some babies find it easier to burp if they are lying prone across your lap with you rubbing their back.

3. Sitting

Another common position is to support your baby’s head with your hand under their chin and hold them in a sitting position while you rub or pat their back.

4. Rocking in a sitting position

A matron at Queen Charlotte's maternity hospital gave me this gem of a tip for burping. 

Hold your baby in the sitting position as explained above and slowly rock your baby backwards and forwards.

5. Rubbing the tummy

Tummy rubbing can also be a great way to relieve wind or stomach discomfort.

6. Switching position

Sometimes switching position from lying down to sitting to over the shoulder can result in the longed-for burp.

7. Colic hold

This is also known as the aeroplane hold. Lie your baby face down along the length of your forearm and rub or pat their back.

8. Bicycle legs

Lying your baby on their back and moving their legs in a bicycle movement can also produce a burp but may also prompt a bowel movement too!

For more detailed information on how to burp your baby and on breastfeeding in general, pop over to my posts, Baby Won’t Burp and Breastfeeding 101 for answers to all your burp and breastfeeding questions.

Do babies need to burp after breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Support Services

As well as our Breastfeeding 101 post, if you’re looking for specific and confidential breastfeeding support, here are some agencies to get in contact with.

La Leche League (International)

If you have a serious breastfeeding problem or concern, please talk directly to a La Leche League Leader who will provide you with support, encouragement, and evidence-based information.

National Breastfeeding Helpline (UK)

For confidential breastfeeding information and support, call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on +44 (0)300 100 0212. Lines are open 9:30am to 9:30pm every day.

National Women’s Health and Breastfeeding Helpline (USA)

Do you have a women's health question or trouble with breastfeeding? Call the National Women’s Health & Breastfeeding Helpline anytime between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, at 1-800-994-9662 to talk with a health information specialist in English or Spanish.

Australian Breastfeeding Association Helpline (AUS)

The Australian Breastfeeding Association runs the National Breastfeeding Helpline - 1800 686 268. The Breastfeeding Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is staffed by trained, volunteer counsellors who answer calls on a roster system in their own homes. 

REMEMBER

There's no shame in asking for help.

This is all new, we're all human and no-one's perfect!

Final Word

I hope you enjoyed this post 'do babies need to burp after do babies need to burp after breastfeeding' and learnt the fine balance that breastfed babies have!

Remember, only burp baby for 5 minutes at a time and lay them down to see if they'll settle. If they seem uncomfortable, try to burp them again following the same process.

If you have any questions about burping breastfed babies, be sure to drop me an email at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help!

Also, if you're looking for products for your little one and you're not sure where to begin, be sure to check out my Parenting Toolbox. In particular the Feeding page, as it contains everything you need to begin your feeding journey with baby which I've tried to ensure are all non-toxic, eco friendly, sustainable and, of course, baby proof!

So until next time, with love and support, Happy Parenting!

Teething to Tantrums Author

Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the childcare industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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