The art of burping is one thing that has to be learned by a new parent. When adults burp it should be done with courtesy and in private but for babies, the opposite is almost the case. The louder the burp the better! So why do babies need to burp after eating? Well, there is a medical explanation for that. When babies eat, gas bubbles get stuck in their stomach. This can cause a feeling of fullness and discomfort, which often causes babies to squirm or cry. Babies use crying as a signal to announce almost every feeling, whether they are tired, hungry, wet, or bored, so it can be hard to know if crying is due to gas discomfort. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends burping your baby regularly, even if your baby doesn't show discomfort or release any gas when you burp her. This is because there is no way of telling how much air gets into the baby’s belly when they eat. There are, however, three main ways that are can possibly get into the belly of a baby ...

By swallowing air:

This is more likely to happen when babies nurse or drink from a bottle. Bottle feeding causes babies to inevitably swallow some air, which goes down into their stomach along with the milk or formula. This is because bottle fed babies eat faster than when they are being breastfed. But in general, whether a baby is being bottle fed or breastfed, the baby is bound to swallow some air especially if the baby is eating fast.

Digestion:

The breakdown of certain foods in the large intestine by bacteria can naturally create gas. This includes both the food that the baby consumes as well as those the mother consumes and passes on in her breast milk. Foods that are high in carbohydrates are more likely to cause gas such as beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts, sugar-free candies and gum, and soda and fruit drinks. Also, an allergic reaction or intolerance to certain foods can cause gas for the baby.

If Baby is breastfeeding and has an intolerance to certain foods from Mom's diet or to a type of formula, his body may react by creating more gas. Dairy intolerance is the most common culprit here which is very sad because everybody loves cheese.

When to Burp Your Baby

It is recommended to burp your baby during feeding breaks and when he's done eating. For breastfeeding moms, try burping before switching breasts. For the best burping experience, it’s best to have designated Baby Burping Cloths to prevent the spit-up from staining your clothes or the baby’s blanket

The Best Burping Positions

The two most popular burping positions: over your shoulder or sitting your lap. Try both to see what is most comfortable for you and most effective for getting burps out of your baby. Whichever position you choose, be sure to have a Baby Burping Cloths by your baby's mouth to catch any spit-up.

 

Be on the Lookout

Be constantly on the lookout for changes in your baby’s feeding or burping Behaviour. This will help you determine when you should stop burping your baby and if there’s something to worry about. There is no definitive age to stop burping your baby, but as your little bundle gets older and his digestive system becomes more mature, burping will become less of a necessity. This usually happens around when the baby starts eating solid food. However, if you still notice your baby is gassy, continue with burping and other gas-relief techniques until you feel they are not needed. Regular spit-ups during burps are normal but constant vomiting and projectile vomiting is not. You should visit your doctor is any this is happening.

A Case Against Burping

Researchers at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India. The researchers enrolled 71 mother-newborn pairs. Half of the mothers received advice about immunizations, breastfeeding, and other health issues, but none about burping. The other half of the mothers were instructed on how to burp their babies. Over the next three months, the moms kept track of their babies’ excessive crying, other signs of discomfort and spit-ups, tallying each event every 24 hours.

The results, published in Child: Care, Health, and Development in 2015, were striking: Burped babies didn’t cry less than ones that weren’t burped. And the burped babies actually spit up more: They spit up about eight times a week, on average, compared with 3.7 times a week for burped babies.

That’s an interesting result, given how entrenched burping advice is. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to burp their babies, as do many other doctors, nurses, lactation consultants and parenting websites. Yet the recommendation isn’t particularly rooted in evidence. Babies can appear to be uncomfortable as they’re trying to burp spontaneously. Scrunched up faces may have prompted parents to rub, jiggle or pat the burp up. Bharti doesn’t take issue with this occasional gas-shifting assistance. “It is not the practice of an intuitive occasional burp by the caregivers, but the ritual after every feed that is being questioned,” she says.

 

This study is however too preliminary to be taken with much confidence. More research needs to be done on this topic and till then it’s better to be safe than sorry. The study is also too preliminary to conclude that burping is actually behind the increased numbers of spit-ups. The study was small, relied on mothers’ memories for their tallies and may have been influenced by cultural factors specific to the suburb of the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, where the study was based. And researchers didn’t track how often the babies in each group were actually burped.There were too many uncontrolled variables in this study. More research is needed. Till then burping is advised by established medical associations and institutions with high integrity.