For the first time mum this is often the most misunderstood part of caring for your new baby. Babies are a wonderful addition to our families and we want to provide the very best of care for them. We are usually very tentative with our first child and are not sure how to handle them and definitely do not know how to burp them. Everyone thinks you know all these things when you have had no experience at all!
If you are breastfeeding your first child and it appears to go to sleep during the drinking process this probably means they need a little burp. Some babies are quite sleepy in their first couple of weeks others are very hungry and certainly let you know it!
Now, you want to give your baby a burp, so hold it upright against your chest and gently pat their upper back area and you will be surprised how quickly a little air burp will happen. If it seems to have difficulty releasing the wind then try placing your baby, on its stomach, across your knees and gently massage their upper back. This is usually very effective and then your baby will demand to continue with its meal!
It is also a good idea when breast feeding to alternate the breast side you commence feeding on as the baby tends to drink more from the first side they feed from. So by alternating the feeding side your breast will stay more even and your baby will find it easier to extract the milk and not suck in air instead.
As a mother of four, I found that my babies were always hungry and gulped the first dozen mouthfuls and needed a number of burps along the way. If your baby cries when being put to sleep after their feed this can indicate a pain in the tummy which may be from gulping air into the stomach and being a little greedy! A burp will quickly get rid of that and they will then settle.
If you are bottle feeding your baby the same principles apply.
Are you concerned that your baby is getting enough milk? A quick way to check is to have your baby weighed after they are several weeks old. If done regularly this will show you how much weight your baby has put on and will put your mind at rest in regard to the amount of food they are receiving.
Some babies drink quickly and get the job done and others tend to fuss around a little and take their time drinking. Each is perfectly normal. Just doing their own thing their own way!
If your baby continues to cry after feeding then maybe a small teaspoon of boiled water can settle them before placing them back into their feeding routine. Be sure to boil the water and have it at a just warm temperature before giving it to them.
Remember babies are very strong little individuals and need to be handled gently but firmly so they feel secure. As your baby grows older you will find that you will become an expert in how to burp them and remember each baby is an individual and may respond a little differently to other babies.