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What is burping (or winding)?

Burping, or ‘winding’ as it’s often also called, is a process that helps milk-fed babies bring up swallowed air in controlled burps. In a lot of breastfeeding cultures it is not widely done. However some babies, especially bottle-fed babies, may benefit from being burped during and at the end of a feed.

How do I do it?

Lots of new parents worry about burping, as they see grandparents and other parents holding their babies in strange positions and getting lots of burps out as a result.

It’s really easy once you get the hang of it and after you learn how much burping your baby needs (if any) and the best positions for you and your baby.

Simple positions for burping

  • Simply cuddle your baby in an upright position at the end of their feed, and if there is any wind in their tummy it will come to the top and they will burp it out
  • Sit your baby upright on your knee supporting their chest and head with your left hand while massaging their back in clockwise strokes, to encourage any gas to move up and out
  • Walk around with your baby in a very upright position with their chin just above your shoulder. It’s a good idea to drape a muslin over your shoulder for this position as they can often ‘spit up’ or posset milk on your favourite jumper!
  • You can rub or pat their back in any upright position – keep it gentle.

You’ll quickly learn what works for you both.

Possetting

Sometimes a little bit of milk comes up with the burp. Most of the time this is fine, and just happens because babies have a liquid diet and weaker sphincter muscles at the top of their stomachs. Try not to be alarmed or discouraged as it probably isn’t actually very much at all.

Dessert spoon test

If you are worried about how much your baby seems to be posseting you could just measure a dessertspoonful of cow’s milk and spill it so you can see that it’s actually not very much.

Windy babies

Wind is much more common with formula-fed babies* – they take in more wind and do need to be held upright. You’ll get the idea whether your baby needs it simply by seeing if they’re unhappy after a feed, and if burping makes them feel better.

If you think that the bottle you are using is making the problem worse, speak to your health visitor and other parents about good bottles and teats for babies who suffer with trapped wind.

*Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. It is important that in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breastmilk, and reversing the decision to stop breastfeeding is difficult. The social and financial implications of using an infant milk should be considered. Improper use of an infant milk or inappropriate foods or feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use an infant milk, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully – failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill.

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