Burping your baby

Winding, or burping your baby, is an important part of feeding them. When you feed your baby, whether you're breast or bottle feeding (although breastfed babies may need less winding as they swallow less air), when they swallow, air bubbles can become trapped in their tummy and cause a lot of discomfort. Some babies seem to find it easy to burp, while others need a helping hand.

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When should I burp my baby?

There are no rules as to when you should burp your baby, some babies need burping during their feed, some after. Look for clues; if your baby seems uncomfortable while feeding, have a little burping break. If they seem fine throughout the feed, then wait until they've finished. Your baby will let you know!

What is the best way to burp my baby?

There are a few ways to burp your baby. Try them all out and see which works best – or use a combination. During burping, always support your baby's head and neck, make sure their tummy and back is nice and straight - not curled up, and rub or pat their back gently. You don't need to spend ages burping your baby, a couple of minutes should be enough.

Over your shoulder

With your baby's chin resting on your shoulder, support the head and shoulder area with one hand, and gently rub and pat your baby's back. It might help to walk around as you are doing this.

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Sitting on your lap

Sit down (try to keep your back straight) with your baby sitting on your lap facing away from you. The palm of one hand sits flat against your baby's chest, also supporting the chin and jaw (but don't put any pressure on the throat area). Lean your baby forwards slightly. With your free hand, gently rub or pat your baby's back.

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Lying across your lap

With your baby lying face down across your lap, supporting the chin (don't put any pressure on the throat area), use your free hand to gently rub or pat your baby's back.

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What if my baby won't burp?

Tip: have a baby burp cloth or muslin square ready for burping, your baby might bring up some milk with the air – this is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

If you find that these methods are not working, and your baby is showing signs of trapped wind (crying, arched back, drawing legs into tummy, clenched fists), try lying your baby on their back and gently massaging their tummy. Also move your baby's legs back and forth – like they're riding a bicycle. And if this doesn't work, talk to your health visitor, they will be able to advise you on the best thing to do.

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