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Letting It All Out - Successful Burping Positions Revealed
By Kim Green-Spangler

Why do babies need to burp? Burping became a common practice after bottle feeding was introduced. The faster flow of the bottle (compared to nursing) requires babies to swallow at a quicker rate, thus increasing the amount of air being sucked in while gulping between swallows. Many breastfed babies require no burping at all. Too much air in the tummy makes it very uncomfortable for baby and very loud for mom and dad. Burping is needed to help baby expel the excess gas from their tummies, and a necessity for keeping baby happy and home relatively peaceful.

No two babies are identical. A burping position that worked for the first child may not be effective on baby number 2, and burping may not be necessary after each feeding. Especially if it is a relatively light meal, or if baby is feeding in a more upright position. Did you know the success of burping can be dependent on who is doing the burping too? There are positions which work better for mom than dad and vice versa. Some work best due to body strength, and others because of plain 'ol anatomy. However, below are eight gas expelling positions, which parents have found to be very effective:

On the Shoulder (Mom)

This position works best for women/moms. Place baby over your shoulder with his cheek resting on your shoulder and his tummy resting comfortably against your chest. Rub or pat baby's back to initiate burp. Mom's breasts provide gentle but constant pressure against baby's tummy and helps force gas to exit.

On the shoulder for Moms

Over the Shoulder (Dad)

Holding baby securely, place her over the shoulder so that her tummy is resting against the top of your shoulder and rub or pat back. This is a good position for dad as baby will be being held up on shoulder blade for a potentially prolonged period of time. *

On the shoulder burping for dad

Sitting on the Lap (Mom)

Sit baby on lap with the palm of your hand resting against his tummy and his chin resting on your hand. Your hand will supply the pressure necessary to help gas move as you gently pat with other hand.

Burping on the lap for mom

Tummy Down on the Lap (Dad)

This is another great position for dad. Place baby across lap with tummy over knee(s) while supporting her head. With other hand, gently pat her back or tap the heel of the leg supporting her tummy to burp. *

Burping on the tummy for dad

One Arm (Mom)

Baby can be carried securely again mom, facing away from her with mom's arm wrapped around his middle. This allows mom the freedom to burp baby while moving about. *

Burping over the arm for mom

Over the Limb (Dad)

Using the forearm to apply pressure to baby's tummy, dad can drape baby over forearm with her head cradled in his palm and gently rub her back. Dad has the muscle to do this effectively while keeping baby safe. *

Over the Limb for dad

The Reverse Burp (Mom)

Lie baby on his back and gently flex knees to chest to help expel gas from the other end. It doesn't matter which way the gas comes out, as long as it does come out. Gently rubbing the tummy in a clockwise position can also help gas move. *

Knees to Chest

The Upright (Dad)

Sit down with and place feet up on a couch beside you, or a footstool in front of you. With knees bent, drape a blanket or towel over knees, taking care to eliminate the indent between thighs. Rest baby with cheek on a thigh near knees making sure she can breathe easily. Holding baby securely and snug to thighs, gently tap back. This is a very effective position for the baby with reflux as she will be in a more upright position. *

Upright Knees for Dad

* Note: Several of these positions can be quite messy, especially if baby has reflux and is known for spitting up after feeding, or when being burped. Take necessary precautions for baby safety and cleanliness.

Burping requires patience and persistence. It often takes more time to burp the baby than it takes to feed her. And if baby has reflux not only will he need to be burped diligently, but should remain in a vertical position for at least twenty minutes after being fed. As baby grows the need to burp decreases and eventually he/she will be able to burp like dad - you know, on command. Until then, keep those burp cloths handy!

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