Why do we need to burp babies after a feed? Why do you need a burp cloth and what kind of burp cloths should we use while burping the baby? These are pertinent questions to ask.
Well, the response to this is that babies need to burp, to release the air they have swallowed during a feed, else this trapped air causes colicky pain for the little one!!
It is observed that while some babies are gassier than others, it is a standard requirement that all babies need to be burped after a feed. It is also noted that as compared to older children and adults, babies need to burp a lot more. The reason behind this is, the main form of nutrition and food supply to the baby is in the form of liquids, i.e., breastmilk and/or formula via bottle. During the feed, babies tend to gulp in a lot of air as well which results in air bubbles trapped between feed, resulting in gas.
When burping a baby, this trapped gas is released, giving your baby much relief from the stomach pain/ colic pain that could ensue.
Why do you need a burp cloth?
Burp cloths take the brunt of spit-up so that you don’t mess up your babies and your clothes.
What kind of cloth does one use for burping?
In the earlier days, any soft cotton material was used as burp cloths to keep on one’s shoulder while burping the baby, so that one need not soil one’s clothes in the process. However, in the present days, there is a whole range of baby essentials available out there and burp cloths are part of a baby’s daily essentials, along with washcloths and towels.
One must make sure they have enough of these burp cloths as they need to be used as often as one would feed the baby. Soft cotton burp cloths are good to use, but if one is using organic cotton burp cloths, it would be even better. The reason being organic cotton clothes are hypoallergenic and hence very safe to use.
How to burp the baby?
Gently patting the baby’s back repeatedly usually works, while burping the baby. Cupping your hand while patting is better, as this is gentle on the baby’s back compared to a flat palm.
Before you start the burping process, ensure to place a burp cloth on your shoulder or under the baby’s chin, so that in case the baby spits up while burping, you can prevent the mess by taking necessary caution and care.
There are a couple of ways to burp babies. We will share a few common ones here. Choose the one which works best with your baby and the baby’s comfort.
- Holding baby against your chest while sitting upright position
(Image source – Healthline.com)
In this position, let the baby’s chin rest on your shoulder. Support the baby with one hand and with the other hand, gently pat your baby's back. You can do this in a sitting position after feeding the baby or do it in the standing position.
- The baby sitting up on your lap or across your knee position
This involves supporting your baby’s chest and chin with one hand as shown above and pat the back using the other hand. Ensure you are supporting the chin and not holding the throat. Pat gently using a cupped palm.
- Lay your baby on his or her belly on your lap position
By supporting your baby’s head and making sure it is higher than his or her chest, gently pat the baby’s back with a cupped palm.
- Arm hold position
Turn the baby onto your arm after feeding, so that their tummy rests on your forearm. Support the head with your inner elbow. Let the legs dangle to the sides of your arm. The pressure is now on the belly and gently rubbing the back and patting, will result in the burp. This method can be done in both sitting and standing positions.
- Holding at the lower chest position
This position is best suited if you are sitting on the couch to feed your baby. After the baby has been fed, hold the baby close to your chest as shown above. The babies usually curl up their legs in the frog position, which is most convenient to remove gas, both from their belly as well as their bottoms. Cradle the baby and support the head and hold the baby in this position for a while till the burp comes out.
Please make a note the bottle-fed babies, need to be burped more often than the breastfed babies.
This burping technique is more useful when babies are very small and as they grow older, they require less and less burping, because, with time, the babies learn to swallow less air.
What happens if the baby is not burped?
Burping is an essential part of the feeding process and is known to keep babies comfortable post-feeding. If a baby is not burped properly, the following could be the result –
- Colic pain – mild-to-severe case of gas that causes stomach pain which in turn makes the baby fussy and cry a lot due to the pain
- It is a possibility that babies could spit out food too if not burped. This increases the risk of choking in their sleep due to food spit out. Though this is a very rare case, it is better to take adequate precautions rather than not.
- Due to possible colic pain, the baby will not get adequate sleep and rest, and as a result, even you, as a parent could probably not get enough sleep and rest.
What to do if the baby does not burp?
If your baby falls asleep during the feed, try burping them for a minute before you lay them back down. Babies don’t need to burp as much at nighttime as compared to after the morning feed, as they feed slower and don’t gulp in as much air while feeding.
However, if they do wake up crying, soothe them. Usually, when held upright, babies will burp if they are gassy, else check if they need a clean diaper, feed them again if it’s time, and try to burp them after that feeding.
Reasons why babies get gassy
- It is believed that bottle-fed babies tend to be gassier than breastfed babies. The reason is that bottles may expose babies to more air as they gulp the formula and there are possibilities of overfeeding the baby as well.
- However, it has also been noted that sometimes breastfed babies also get gassy as their feed is entirely dependent on the mother’s diet.
To conclude, it is noted that babies whether bottle-fed or breastfed, need to be burped often and it is a good practice to start early.
Burping is part of the feeding ritual and helps keep the baby comfortable and not develop colic issues when sleeping. The types of burp cloth used while burping babies is also of utmost importance. The burp cloth has to be soft and absorbent. The softness is required as it is used to wipe the mouth of the baby in case, he/she spits up and the absorbent nature is important to effectively absorb the spit-up feed.
Nature’s Cuddle brings to babies, burp cloths made of 100% organic cotton, which is soft, absorbent, and safe.