6 Tips on How to Burp a Newborn That Won’t Burp

Newborn babies often don’t burp after they eat, which can lead to discomfort and gas.

Not being able to burp your newborn baby can be frustrating and uncomfortable for both you and your baby.

Use these 6 tips on how to burp a newborn that won’t burp to help get your little one relief.

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How to burp a newborn that won’t burp

Hold baby upright and sit on your lap

Place a burping cloth on your own lap and a bib on your baby.

While supporting your baby’s chest and head with your hand, sit them on your lap, facing towards the hand supporting his head.

Using your free hand, softly pat their back.

I also like to start lower on their back and work my way up their back to find the perfect spot and to help move the gas up.

Over your shoulder

This is the most common way to burp. In a sitting position, start by placing a burg rag over your shoulder and place your baby upright high on your chest with your baby’s head over your shoulder.

Pat your baby’s back from the lower back up to work their burp out.

Across your lap

To help your baby burp, place them across your lap on their belly. Make sure their head is a little higher than their body with your hand to support, and then use your other hand to rub or pat their back.

mother holding baby on her lap to burp her

Lower your baby on your chest

While seated, gently raise your baby in an upright or semi-upright posture and make sure your baby is on the chest.

Allow their legs to curl up to the stomach. This will help them pass the gas.

Support their head while you pat their back to help them burp. If you are patient with them, you might find that this is their favorite position to burp in.

Massage your baby’s tummy and back

Gently massage your baby’s stomach in a clockwise manner. This will help the gas move and can often cause a baby to burp.

You can also place your baby tummy side down on a firm and flat surface and gently give them a massage. If your infant won’t burp any other way, a light massage might help.

If all of these techniques fail, don’t worry. Babies will eventually learn to burp on their own. Just be patient and keep trying different techniques until you find one that works

Sloth-like position on the arm

Once you are done feeding your baby, have them lie down on their tummy along your forearm in a sloth-like position or in a football hold.

Support their legs in your hand and their head by your elbow. This posture will put pressure on their stomach, causing them to burp.

You can also pat or rub their back to help work out the gas.

mother holding baby on her arm to burp her

If baby falls asleep

All babies fall asleep while they breastfeed and It can be hard to wake a sleeping baby when you need to burp them.

However, it’s best to burp them after each feeding so they don’t wake up later from gas pain.

Even though your baby may seem ok, it’s a good idea to burp them before putting them back to bed.

Fortunately, burping a sleeping baby is the same as when they are awake. Just gently pat and go slow so you don’t wake them up.

Make sure the head is turned sideways so they don’t choke on any spit-up if any comes up during a burp.

You can also nurse them for a few more minutes after they burp to soothe them and get your baby asleep again.

For bottle-fed babies

Gas is more common in bottle-fed babies.

This is because they tend to take in more air when they are drinking from a bottle.

To help prevent gas, hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle and burp them often.

There are lots of great bottles with great venting systems to prevent air bubbles from getting through.

Related: Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies

When is the best time to burp a hard to burp baby?

The best time to try burping your baby is right after they finish eating.

If you are breastfeeding, burp after they nurse from each breast.

After a bottle-fed baby has consumed 60ml or 2 ounces of formula or breast milk, it’s best to burp them.

What to do if your baby won’t burp

Not all babies need to burp and that is ok.

There are some babies that just don’t burp well.

If your baby is not burping and is fussy, you can try different positions to see if that helps.

You can try holding your baby upright on your lap or over your shoulder.

You can also try lying them across your lap or lowering them on your chest and massaging their belly.

What if even with all the effort, you can’t get your baby to burp?

Sometimes, all of the techniques don’t work and a baby just doesn’t want to burp. Here are some tips that can help.

Calm your baby down

It’s helpful to calm your baby before you start trying to burp them.

You can try rocking them, singing to them, or placing them in a swing.

Another great way to calm them is to swaddle them and rock them side to side with some white noise. This works great for even the fussiest babies.

Switch their position

Switching burping positions can help get the gas out.

Try holding your baby up on your lap or over your shoulder.

You can also try lying them across your lap or lowering them onto your chest and massaging their belly.

If you try all of these techniques and your baby still won’t burp, don’t force it.

Babies will eventually learn to burp on their own. Just be patient and keep trying different techniques until you find one that works.

Try babywearing

Wearing your baby is another great way to get your baby to burp. They will stay happy while you hold them close and all the movement can help work the burp out.

Related: Best Baby Carriers to Breastfeed in

Bicycle their legs

Laying your baby flat on their back, place your hand on their stomach and gently move their legs like they are riding a bicycle.

This will help the gas to move and help them burp.

mother bicycling baby's legs

Try burping your newborn when they are not feeding

Most of the time you will need to burp your baby after a feeding, but they can have gas anytime from sucking on a pacifier or even crying.

If your baby is fussy or seems uncomfortable, try burping them then and see if it helps.

How long does burping take?

This can vary from baby to baby.

Some babies burp very quickly and others can take a little longer.

If your baby is taking a long time to burp, don’t get frustrated. Just take your time and eventually, they will let one out.

Best ways to prevent excess gas in your newborn

The best way to prevent excess gas with your newborn is to prevent them from swallowing air.

This can be done by burping them often, keeping them upright after feedings, and avoiding pacifiers.

Breastfed babies

Try to nurse your baby before they get too hungry. This will not only help with them latching on the breast but also prevent them from suckling fast and swallowing air bubbles.

If you have a strong letdown, there are two things that you can do.

  • Pump or use a Haakaa to catch the letdown before you have your baby latch on. This will help from your baby choking on spit up and prevent them from swallowing air while they are nursing.
  • You can also unlatch your baby once the letdown starts and press your hand against your nipple to stop the flow. This will take a few times but it will soon regulate and your baby will get better at swallowing larger amounts of milk soon enough.

Another reason your baby could be swallowing air as if they have an incorrect latch.

If your baby is not latching on correctly, they will end up swallowing air and getting gassy.

A correct latch will have your baby’s mouth open wide enough to cover most of the areola. You should hear them sucking and see their jaw going up and down while they are nursing, see your baby’s chin touching your breast, as well as hear them swallowing.

You can also try breastfeeding in different positions. The laidback and football hold positions are great when you are having a hard time getting your baby to correctly latch.

Always meet with a lactation consultant if you are having an issue with breastfeeding and they can help problem-solve with you as well as create a plan to get you back on track.

Bottle feeding

The type of bottle can really have an effect on how much air your baby swallows. Bottles like the Dr. Brown wide neck bottles are great at preventing any air from getting in while your baby is feeding.

Also, be sure to use a slow flow nipple and change them often. Bottle nipples can wear out quickly and need to be changed every one to three months.

mother burping her baby on her lap

Have your partner help

Have your partner or a family member help. You have done the hard job at feeding them and loved ones love to step in and help wherever they can.

Have them try to burp your baby and see if they have to magic touch to get that baby to burp.

Take a break

If you have tried everything and you can’t seem to get your baby to burp, then take a break.

Either it will work out on its own throughout the day or your baby simply doesn’t need to burp at all. Try seeing if they need a diaper, if they are going through a growth spurt and are still hungry, or they are overtired.

Being a new parent can be hard and a lot of it is troubleshooting in the beginning. So be kind to yourself and see if there is something else that can be troubling your sweet baby.

What if baby is uncomfortable?

If your baby still seems to be uncomfortable, then talk to your healthcare provider to see if there is something that can help. It could be as simple as using grip water or it could be something you are eating that is irritating their tummy.

It’s always best to just have peace of mind and have your doctor give you a second opinion.

Related: How Much Breast Milk is Needed for a Bottle-Fed Baby

When To Stop Burping Baby

You usually won’t need to continue burping a baby once they start solid foods and are able to sit up on their own.

If your baby is still spitting up, you may need to continue burping them until they are a little older.

Most babies will outgrow the need to be burped by 4-9 months old.

Final thoughts

Burping a baby can be difficult if you have tried everything and your baby still isn’t burping, take a break and try again later. If your baby is uncomfortable after feeding, consult your healthcare provider.

Gas can be a common issue for newborns, but there are ways to prevent it. By following these tips, you should be able to successfully burp your newborn without any problems.

Be sure to read Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies Who Refuse a Bottle and How to Fix a Lipstick Nipple Latch

About the author

Lacy Reason is a highly experienced and compassionate lactation counselor, who has dedicated her career to educating and supporting new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.

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