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How and when to burp your baby - and what do when they get trapped wind

Aside from being a LOT cuter than gross adult burps, babies' burps serve an important function.

When babies release a dinky little belch, what they're doing is releasing air trapped in their stomach and, by doing so, they're making themselves more comfortable and less irritable.

By burping, babies are also freeing up more space in their stomachs and will be able to feed for longer, and in a more settled manner.

If your bundle of joy spits up frequently, or is showing symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, then burping will be especially beneficial to them.

But they do need a little help - this is where you come in.

1. When should I wind my baby?

You'll normally do this during the feed, when you take a break half way through.

A baby's tummy is only small (Image: iStockphoto)

OR take your cue from your baby and if they start to get a little uncomfortable, do it then, advises BabyCentre .

However, if your baby seems perfectly happy, or falls asleep during or after the feed, don't worry about burping them - they're fine.

 

2. How often should I wind my baby?

There's no hard and fast rule for this.

"It depends on how much air baby tends to swallow while feeding,” says Helen Anderson, RN, CLE, a nurse and lactation educator in Bellingham, Washington told The Bump.

"Some babies need to be burped during every feeding, and others don’t need it that often."

Feeding is normally the cause of trapped wind (Image: Taxi)

 

3. What position should I use to wind my baby? 

As a new parent, you'll need to experiment to see what best suits you and your baby and there are a few options.

- You can sit baby upright on your lap and gently massage their back. Make sure one palm arm is supporting their body, with one palm supporting their chest. Use a nice circular motion and some gentle patting.

- Or hold them against your chest, with their chin resting on your shoulder . Again gently rub or pat their back while supporting their head and shoulders with your hand.

- Or you can place them face down across your lap. To do this, lie your baby face down on your legs so they're lying across your knees. Make sure you're supporting your baby's chin and jaw with one hand and keep their head higher. Then rub or pat your baby's back gently with the other hand.

There are several positions you can hold your baby in to burp them (Image: Blend Images)

If, after trying any one of these positions, your baby hasn't burped yet, it's probably because they don't need to.

4. What if none of these methods work? 

Don't worry if your baby's trapped wind isn't getting released through patting or rubbing their back.

You can also try giving them a warm, relaxing bath.

To get them burping, give them a soothing tummy massage after. To do this, simply smooth your hands over your baby's tummy in a circular, clockwise motion. 

A nice warm bath may help (Image: Flickr RF)


On occasion, your baby's gas will be trapped for any of these measures.

In this instance, contact your health visitor to see if any over-the-counter medications are suitable.

5. Will my baby need winding more if they're bottle-fed or breast fed?

Not necessarily.

Babies who are breastfed and babies who are bottle-fed may suffer from trapped wind.

However, it's found that breastfed babies tend to need less burping than bottle-fed babies, because they swallow less air during feeding.

That said, a mum who produces a lot of milk, or finds herself leaking and spraying may find her baby requires winding more often.

Trapped wind happens to babies which are bottle-fed and breastfed (Image: Caiaimage)

Bottle-feeding mums are also sometimes advised to use an anti-colic bottle, which are made so your baby will swallow less air and therefore will need burping less.

To help mitigate this, parents should check the hole in the bottle's teat is the right size for baby. Too big, and you risk the milk coming out too quickly. 

Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, you could also try sitting your baby upright during feeds. This may help to stop her from swallowing as much air in the first place. 

 

We found this useful article on the Daily Mirror website here.

"10 Myths about breastfeeding" Read more

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