Regardless of whether the child is breastfed or fed with a bottle, during eating he also swallows air, which makes the stomach fill faster and gives a feeling of fullness too early. The little one may therefore be irritable and restless, and besides, the air accumulated in the stomach can cause colic. For this reason it is recommended to take short breaks during feeding.
Bottle-fed babies need a few breaks during a single feeding, and those fed naturally take the break every few minutes and during changing the breast. Of course it should be remembered that in both cases the baby should burp after finishing his meal.
The position and method of feeding are also very important. Sometimes the child incorrectly attaches to the breast and instead of suckling only milk he also suckles some air. In the case of bottle-fed children, you should make sure that the bottle or the teat has a proper ventilation system. This will prevent sucking air during feeding. Greedy drinking of the milk from a bottle or from a breast can unfortunately result in excessive air swallowing. It is inevitable, especially when the baby is hungry, excited or upset.
I remember first feeding sessions of my children and waiting for the burp later on. Sometimes it came after a few seconds, but there were times when I and my husband were walking with the baby for an hour and nothing happened. Only later a friendly midwife told me that sometimes children eat so calmly that they do not swallow air, but only milk. This happens more often when the children are sleepy, because they are tired and eat less greedily. Therefore, after night feeding there is usually no need for burping the baby.
If your baby does not burp for a long time, massage his left back for a moment - from bottom to top. This way you will help to gently push the air upwards. If he still does not burp, put him laying for a few minutes, preferably on one side and then try again to raise him to the vertical position. Usually it is an effective method. You can also gently pat the baby's bottom.
Below you will find the burping positions. I tried all of them and in my opinion the best was the traditional one - on the shoulder. But every baby is different, so it is worth trying different positions and find the one that is most suitable and quickest to bring relief. Regardless of the position you choose, be sure to have a diaper ready in case the baby spits up.
This is the most popular burping position. Place the baby so that his head is on your
shoulder or preferably a bit above it. Then his hands should be on your back. The baby's legs should be slightly bent. Support his bottom with one hand and his back and head with another. Make sure his trunk and head do not bend backwards. You can also gently pat him on the back and back massage is recommended as well.
Place the baby on your lap so that his head lays on one leg, and the tummy on the other. Gently pat the baby's back.
You can also put your baby a bit higher, so that his chest and shoulders lay on one thigh, and his buttocks on the other. Hands and legs should hang freely. In this position keep your baby's head with one hand and slightly pat his bottom with the other.
While doing that you can alternately lift your legs or gently roll the little one over your knee. It is a very good tummy massage and a great method to improve bowel function.
But remember to do it very gently. Pressing the tummy just after eating can lead to posseting. This position can be used not only for burping. Is also a great way to play together combined with a tummy massage.
Use this position only after the baby is three month old and firmly holds his head. Sit the baby on your knee, lift the other knee a little higher and place the child's armpits on it. The little one should be slightly leaning forward at an angle of 45 degrees in relation to your legs. Lean his chest against your inner thigh. Let the legs hang freely.
It is an ideal position for the restless babies, as fidgeting around can stimulate the bowel function without pressing on the milk-filled tummy. During burping you can gently massage the baby's back.
This is another position to be used only when your baby is over 3 months old.
After feeding sit the baby on your thigh so that his back touches your belly, and his head rests on your forearm. Place him so that his body is at an angle of over 45 degrees in relation to your legs. In this position the child can move freely and you can react quickly in case of his spitting up. You can also carry your little one in this position. Just support his bottom with one hand, and hold the other in front of him, leaning his body and head on your belly and forearm. The views from this high will be for sure very interesting for the baby.
Sometimes the baby does not burp for a long time or he gets asleep during feeding. We shall not wake him, but just put him on one side (remember, however, not to use this position for infants with underdeveloped hips, or dysplasia). To make sure he would not turn over too quickly place a rolled blanket behind his back. Securing the baby in this position you can be sure he will not choke on the burped milk.
Remember! Do not put your baby on his back immediately after feeding. Sometimes, especially in newborns, the milk goes back. It is particularly dangerous in the supine position as it may lead to choking. In case of infants with a tendency to posseting it is a good idea to place the mattress slightly at a slant, i.e. placing e.g. a book or a piece of wood under the cot legs on one side (never give the baby a pillow). It is important that the whole baby's body was at a slant (not just the head).
You can always place the little one on his tummy. It is a beneficial position for the hip joints and the baby is not at the risk of choking.