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A young mother burps and cuddles her newborn baby.

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Baby burping advice

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Burping your baby during and after a feeding is crucial to release the air that gets trapped as babies tend to swallow air during feeds.

Without burping your little one, they may become more irritable or fussy from the pain of the trapped air. But what if your baby falls asleep before you have a chance to burp them? Is it ok to put the baby to sleep without burping?

This Polysleep blog answers your most pondered questions about burping your newborn.

Mother holding newborn on shoulder, with cloth to burp baby.

Do you burp a sleeping baby?

Does your baby fall asleep during those late-night feedings without burping?

It may seem nearly impossible to burp your little one after they have fallen asleep, of course. You do not want to wake them once they have finally fallen asleep – but it is important to try.

Whether your baby lets out a loud burp or not, the act of attempting to burp your baby will help allow air to travel through the body without becoming trapped, causing discomfort.

If your baby sleeping while breastfeeding, avoid lying them flat immediately after feeding, even if they are asleep, as this helps to reduce the risk of an upset tummy or spitting up.

Best way to burp a sleeping baby

As a new parent, you may be wondering how to burp a baby that is sound asleep.

The traditional way of burping a baby can seem impossible to do during those late-night feedings as you do not want to wake your sleeping child, but is it ok to put a baby to sleep without burping? Yes and no.

Your baby does not have to let out multiple burps during your attempt to release the trapped air.

There are a few things you can do to help the air travel through without causing pain for the baby.

  • Hold the baby upright for five to ten minutes after feeding and pat them on the back. Whether or not your baby burps in this position is not necessary, however, it will help reduce the chance of your baby spitting up during sleep.
  • Move slowly in different directions while gently cradling your baby. Not only does this help with the air that has been swallowed while eating, but it also soothes your little one to sleep. There are many ways to move such as bouncing, rocking, or swaying from front to back.
  • Reposition baby. Certain positions and movements allow air to move throughout the body to be released through burping (or farting). There are a few positions you can try with your sleeping baby such as:
    • Elbow-to-knee movement. With your baby laying on their back, move their left elbow to the right knee and vice versa. After doing this a few times you can expect to hear gas relief from burping or farting.
    • Patting baby on the back. Lay your baby on its stomach across your lap and provide gentle pats to move air. This position is not recommended if your baby is prone to spitting up after feeding.
    • Sit the baby upright on your lap with your hand beneath its chin, lean them forward slightly, and provide gentle pats on the back.
Pensive child with burping cloth sitting on the bed.

Frequently asked questions

Becoming a new parent is difficult in itself. You must learn to navigate a brand new way of life, while also learning the habits of a tiny human that cannot communicate their needs.

Babies communicate through crying, but with so many options that could be wrong, it can be hard to guess why their crying.

The Polysleep experts are here to help answer frequently asked questions regarding burping a newborn during sleep time.

There is no specified amount of time to burp your newborn after feeding them. However, you should try to burp them for at least 5 minutes. Some babies release multiple burps in a short time, while others require a bit more time for one burp. Each baby is different and learning their cues for burping will help you succeed.

The frequency of burping your baby will change as your little one grows. As a newborn, from birth to 12 weeks, you should burp every one to two ounces while bottle-feeding or when you switch breasts during breastfeeding. Follow your baby’s cues. If your baby is increasingly fussy or pulling away from the bottle/breast, they are likely to have air trapped, causing discomfort.

Babies begin swallowing less air as they are near 6 months of age, making burping less necessary. As mentioned before, each baby is different. Observe your baby for signs of discomfort. If they’re experiencing signs of discomfort or if your baby is prone to spitting up, continue burping after each feeding.

Although it’s not a requirement for your baby to let out multiple burps during those late-night feeds, you should continue to attempt to burp your newborn before placing them on their baby mattress.

One of the most important things you can do to help your baby remain asleep while trying to burp them is to maintain a position of comfort. Many babies find comfort in feeling the warmth of their mom or dad’s chest during skin-to-skin contact. Because of this, burping your newborn at night without waking them can be done easily by:

  • Placing your newborn against your chest while they are laying on their stomach
  • Provide gentle, light pats on the back to release trapped air
  • Repeat back pats for a few minutes or until a burp is let out
Mother holds her newborn daughter on her shoulder burping the baby.

Takeaway

At Polysleep, we understand the importance of healthy feeding habits, whether it be eating healthy for yourself to provide adequate nutrition through breastfeeding or burping your newborn after a bottle.

Those late-night feeds can be difficult for both you and your baby to stay awake through the end.

However, it is important to continually burp your baby to help with any discomfort — even if they have already fallen fast asleep.

Placing your little one on their baby crib mattress without attempting to release the trapped air (no matter how comfy the mattress) can lead to more frequent waking due to pain and discomfort from the trapped gasses.

While it is recommended to try burping your baby after feeding them, even if they are asleep, the act of actually releasing a burp is not required.

Do not be afraid of waking your baby to burp them, as many of the above-mentioned methods of burping will work simultaneously to soothe your little one to sleep.

As always, if you’re finding that your baby is in a lot of discomfort following eating, it’s best to check with their pediatrician to determine the cause.

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