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A Few Good Burps

Frequent crying. Endless feeding. Sporadic sleep. Normal baby behaviors? Not necessarily. In some infants, these simply mean that the baby needs to burp. Ask Lisa Stone-Norman, of Redwood City, CA, who found that it was best not to give in to temptation and let her son Jake fall asleep immediately after he finished a night feeding. "When I'd stay up to burp him, it paid off," she said.

A well-burped infant will be able to eat more at each feeding and, like Jake, sleep longer and more soundly between meals. "He'll also eat less often and cry less," says lactation consultant Fritzi Drosten, from Piedmont, CA.

To get the best burps out of a baby:

Assume the position. Try one of these three:

  • Place your baby so his head is nestled against your shoulder or, if his neck is strong enough, hold him with his head above your shoulder for the baby's comfort. Cradle his behind with your forearm.

  • Sit him up on your lap and support his chin by cupping it in your palm. Don't allow his body to bend too far forward, which prevents air bubbles from rising.

  • For some babies older than 2 months, lying facedown across your thighs is most comfortable. Raise one of your legs slightly to position his head above stomach level. Then gently pat or rotate your hand on his back.

Don't take it too easy. Rub or gently pat your baby's back. If that doesn't get you anywhere, pat a little harder.

Know when to give up. No baby burps after every single feeding. If your baby doesn't burp after several minutes, don't fret.

Be flexible. If your baby is crying, he won't be comfortable enough to burp. Try changing positions or walking around while burping him.