Newborns tend to accumulate air in their tummies after a feeding session. This can make them irritable and uncomfortable. It is easy to write off all your baby's burps as signs of gas or just something that is "done" after feeding. But in reality, experts are pointing out that all burps are NOT gas. Yes, the primary reason burps actually happen is gas, but the cause of this can vary. The burps could well be signs of something else that your baby's body is trying to tell you.
Here are some other reasons your baby could be making those burping sounds. Be aware of them so you know when to seek help:
He has swallowed too much air while feeding
If your baby just fed from your breast or from his bottle, he may have swallowed something with the milk: air! It is quite common for babies to take in air bubbles, but bottle-fed babies are more prone to this. Breastfed babies may also do this when feeding really fast because they are hungrier than usual.
His body is digesting something in a rather noisy manner
Well, it is true: the way your baby's body is digesting something could also be behind those gentle little burps. This does not mean there is a problem with his tummy. It's just that the bacterial breakdown of certain foods (such as dairy) in the intestine can naturally induce burping. Psst, this happens for adults too!
You've been eating something that's inducing burps
Finally, it may be time to recheck your diet in case you are nursing. The food you consume affects your baby too, and some foods like broccoli, cabbage, and aerated drinks can create extra err, bubbles in your baby's tummy! If you're formula feeding, and baby has been burping more than usual, it may be time to switch to something that's easier to digest.
The Best Burping Positions for your Baby
Now that you know the various things that could be causing burps in your baby, you should also understand the best way to relieve them. It is a good idea to make your little one burp during a feed every time he switches from one breast to another. Even if you forget to do this after a meal, remember to burp him several times a day, especially if he is unsettled and cranky.
During a feed, you should follow your baby’s body movements. If your baby has eased up latching and stops suckling, gently remove the breast or bottle and help him burp. You should become acquainted with his body language, and signs that he uses for you to stop feeding. Some signs include: drifting off to sleep, a relaxed body posture, disinterest and cessation of active swallowing too
. You should not force your baby to suck more milk at this point as it may cause him discomfort and also upset his stomach.There are different ways to smoothly burp a baby. Choose a method which works as the most effective one for your child:
Over the shoulder or chest: Hold your little one over your chest in a way so that his chin is gently resting on your shoulder. Use one hand to support the baby, and the other to rub his back gently. Another way is to hold him higher up on your shoulder, so that his belly is pressed against your shoulder creating a slight pressure that will help him burp. For those who pick the second method, make sure your little one is comfortably breathing and not slumping. Check to ensure if his head is placed correctly or he may strain his neck. It is also better to go with this burping method after your baby has developed some neck and head control.
Lap position: Make him sit on your lap, facing outward. With one hand using your palm as a chest support, hold his body, while your fingers hold his jaw and chin. Now, let him lean forward and gently pat his back starting down from the baby’s spine and going all the way up; repeat this movement till the baby is relieved.
Face down position: Place the baby with his face down on your lap, making sure he is lying across your knees in a position perpendicular to your body. Ensure that his jaw and chin are supported by your hand. Also, keep a check that his head is not lower than the rest of his body as this will lead to the blood rushing up your baby's head. Now try to pat his back using your hand and encourage the baby to burp.
Spit-ups during Burps: Is it Normal?
Very much! Most babies tend to spit up as they burp and there is nothing unusual about it. It is normal for healthy babies to spit up to 1-2 tablespoons of milk after a feed. This happens because the milk tends to sit on top of the gas bubble in their stomach and intestines. The muscles present at the entrance of a baby's stomach are weak during a baby’s early week. It is this reason why newborn babies are more prone to spitting up portions of milk, as compared to grown-up babies. This spitting tends to stop when the baby is old enough to sit in an upright position, which is usually around six months of age.
If you wish to reduce the amount of spitting, try to place your baby in an upright position for around 20-30 minutes after you have fed him. You should seek expert help if the amount and frequency of spitting is more than normal.
Burping is healthy. It encourages a baby to slow down and take a break from his feeding cycle, so that he does not feel any discomfort caused from air accumulating in his little tummy. Just keep track of his burps to ensure he is comfortable and happy!