How To Burp A Newborn: A Guide For New Parents

Feedings can be one of the most satisfying times of day with your newborn. Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, seeing how your baby instinctively knows how to latch on and start sucking just minutes after birth is nothing short of magical, and as your baby grows and begins to lock eyes with you as you feed them you’ll feel the connection between the two of you grow stronger at every meal.

But for many new parents, feeding their new baby is not without its share of anxiety. Beyond worrying if they’re eating enough, many babies become fussy and uncomfortable during and after feedings. Luckily, burping is a natural way to relieve your baby’s upset stomach—and if you learn the right technique, it’s easy to keep your baby comfortable and quickly ease their distress.

Why Babies Need to Burp

While eating may be something babies are born knowing how to do, they don’t always do it perfectly. As babies eat, they tend to suck in extra air along with milk, which causes gas to build up in their little tummies. That gas leads to feelings of pain and cramping and can also cause a false feeling of fullness that makes your baby stop eating before they are really full. 

That's why learning how to burp a newborn to get rid of all that excess air is so important—even if your baby falls asleep while eating, you should still try to get a burp out of them before lying them down in their bassinet. To aid in digestion and help your baby feel more comfortable, keep them sitting up for 10-15 minutes after every feeding. You can try holding them in your lap, propping them up on your chest, or strapping them into their highchair. 

Read More about How to Safely Burp Your Baby

How to Burp Your Baby 

Learning how to burp newborn babies is intimidating to some parents: the idea of rapping on your delicate baby’s back feels unnatural to many new parents, who fear they may accidentally hurt their little one. If you are unsure of the best way to burp a newborn, follow these steps to burp your baby safely and effectively:

  • Burp your baby at least twice during a feeding, once halfway through the feeding and again once the feeding is complete. If you’re nursing, burp them when you switch sides; if you’re bottle feeding, take a burp break after they drink 2-3 ounces. But be alert to signs from your baby that they may need to be burped more frequently: if they squirm, push away the nipple, or seem uncomfortable, take a break from feeding and try to burp them again.
  • Sit upright and get your baby into position (we’ve got suggestions on different positions that might work for your baby below), then cup your hand and gently pat your baby’s back. It should only take a minute or two of patting to get a nice burp from your baby. You may need to incorporate some extra movements to relieve pressure, such as massaging the left side of their back or gently bouncing them up and down.
  • If you have trouble coaxing out a burp, you should try switching your baby’s position or walking with them to get the gas to pass. You can also try rubbing your baby’s tummy or lying them on their back and gently “bicycling” their legs back and forth.
  • There will be times when no matter what you do, you can’t get a burp out of your baby—but don’t sweat it. As long as they aren’t showing signs of cramping or gas pains, it’s perfectly normal for a baby to not burp after every feeding.
  • And pro tip: Most babies spit up when they’re being burped so you may want to lie a burp cloth or cloth diaper under your baby to catch and wipe away any mess.

Newborn Burping Positions

You may need to experiment with a few different newborn burping positions to find the one that best helps your baby burp.  There are three basic burping positions that work for most babies:

Over the shoulder: Allow the baby’s chin to rest on your shoulder, supporting their head with one hand at all times.

On your lap: Sit the baby on your lap facing away from you, with one hand across their chest to support the chin, neck, and jaw, and the other hand supporting their back. 

Across your lap: Lie the baby face down across your lap, supporting their chin and neck with one hand.

Some parents who are bottle feeding find it easiest to feed their newborn in a highchair. If you want to try this, make sure the highchair is in a fully reclined position and your baby is securely strapped into the seat while eating. You will need to take your baby out of the highchair to burp them. The 4moms® Connect High Chair™ makes this a breeze; the tray on the Connect High Chair can be easily removed with one hand, making it simple to move your baby from the chair to the burping position that works best for them.

Burping a newborn is a vital step in their feeding routine. While some babies have no trouble burping on their own, most need a little bit of help from you to get rid of excess air they swallowed while eating. Follow the steps above to give your baby the helping hand they need to make their tummies feel better, and use your Connect High Chair for feedings so you can learn how to recognize hunger and discomfort cues and know when your baby needs a burp break.

Baby Burping FAQs

What happens if my baby doesn't burp?

If your baby is having trouble burping, try switching burping positions to try and move the air in your baby’s stomach. If that doesn’t work, Lay your baby down on a flat surface such as the floor of a playpen, wait a few minutes then try burping them again.  

How long do you burp a newborn for?

Luckily, burping a newborn is a task that shouldn’t take up too much of your time. It should take five to ten minutes to burp a newborn.