Burping Is a term used by health professionals, grandmothers and friends when they are discussing winding a baby.
Winding When babies feed, they swallow air which accumulates in their tummies as gas/wind. Regularly burping your baby helps to alleviate the build-up of wind which can cause considerable discomfort. Gradually establishing a feeding routine can also help better digestion. This however can sometimes take several weeks to achieve, especially for a first-time mother.
Regular, at least three-hourly feeds during the day in the early weeks, leaving your baby to wake naturally at night unless otherwise advised.
Soothe your baby with skin-to-skin contact during feedings. This is reassuring and comforting. It also helps to promote good digestion.
Newborns often fall asleep during a feed, before their tummy is full. Bringing up their wind helps to wake them up and enables them to complete a feed. As a result, they are more likely to sleep for longer periods between each feed.
It is essential to wind a baby after every feed. A baby with gas in his tummy will not settle for long. Saying this, you, as his mother will eventually become aware of when your baby is comfortable and ready to settle following a feed.
Some babies can finish a whole feed without requiring winding, while some need to be winded halfway through and others after ten minutes at the breast.
On average a baby will burp 40-60 seconds after you attempt a winding position, whether during a feed or at the end of the feed. If your baby has not burped after five minutes at the end of each feed, swaddle and hold him upright for 5-10 minutes. It is during this time that a burp could come up.
Below are some positions used frequently to wind a baby:
It might be useful for you to visually see some of these techniques. Therefore checkout this video clip on YouTube.
- A baby’s back needs to be straight for the wind to effectively expel from his mouth. This is extremely awkward in a newborn as they slump forward. Do not feel disheartened, gradually with practice and as your baby’s back grows stronger, he will sit in a more upright position and burp more quickly.
- Position your baby upright on your lap, close to your body. With your hands gently supporting his chest, underarms and neck, and keeping him as upright as possible, lift gently until his bottom is no longer supported on your lap.
- Position your baby close to your chest using one hand to support his chest and head. Push gently into the small of the back in attempt to straighten as much as possible. As this can be difficult in a newborn, many new mothers use position three at first.
- Place a muslin or burping cloth over your shoulder and lift your baby up, resting his head on the burping cloth. Gently and rhythmically pat or stroke your baby’s back upwards towards his shoulders
If you have tried one or all of these methods and no wind has come up after ten minutes, settle your baby to sleep. If your little one does start crying soon after you have settled them, wait five minutes before you attempt to wind, soothe and settle him back to sleep again.
It is not always that easy to wind and burp a newborn baby, especially if you are a first-time mother. Do not feel disheartened, it will happen eventually as your confidence and knowledge of what works best for your baby grows.
The following are some useful books or online articles on winding positions:
Foods that could cause you and your baby to suffer from intestinal wind:
It is suggested by some nutritionists that eating large amounts of chocolate, peanuts, peanut butter, white sugar and white flour can disrupt intestinal function in both you and your baby. Also try to avoid excessive amounts of all types of brassicas, including cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, Brussels sprouts, and radishes. Garlic and onions are rich in sulphur which can promote intestinal gas, so it is suggested that these also need to be eaten sparingly.
Hot spicy foods such as curries, excessive amounts of citrus fruit or strawberries can also alter the flavour of your milk and affect your infant’s digestion.
If you are used to eating any of these foods on a regular basis you can always experiment to see how your baby reacts to them.
It is also suggested in most breastfeeding information guidelines that it is best not to drink too much coffee, tea or other drinks which contain caffeine. Herbal teas are excellent for stimulating the production of milk, especially those containing fennel, camomile, ginger, cinnamon, dill or peppermint - such as Neuners Organic Nursing Tea.
Some mothers find it very difficult initially to wind their baby. Do not be disheartened, continue trying and eventually you will rewarded with a burp.
Eventually around the age three months a baby will start burping by himself.
Key Points To Take Away
- Babies swallow air when they eat, this can create wind/gas
- Burp baby regularly to alleviate trapped wind
- It may take a couple of weeks but feeding schedules and routines may help digestion
- In the early weeks wake your baby every three hours to feed and then leave them to wake up naturally at night
- If your baby falls asleep before they are full during a feed, wake them up by burping them or changing their nappy
- To help your baby settle, wind your baby after each feed
- Some babies may need winding during feeds
- In the daytime, try to put your baby to sleep with normal light and allow natural house noise
- See above for a list of useful burping positions
- Babies eventually start burping spontaneously