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What parents need to know about how to burp a baby

One doctor shares the best tips for burping a baby.
Burping is getting rid of air your baby has swallowed.
Burping is getting rid of air your baby has swallowed.d3sign / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

New parents are inundated with so much information that figuring out the most important tips may feel overwhelming. A big component of having a baby is proper feeding and nutrition. With feeding comes burping, and how to burp a baby may be a top concern.

Neonatologist Dr. David Kaufman told TODAY Parents that burping is simply getting rid of air your baby swallowed.

"Air that your baby swallows while feeding may, for some infants, distend their stomach or belly and cause discomfort," he said.

Kaufman told TODAY that if there is a lot of air, babies can spit up.

"Hopefully emptying some air in the stomach may help feedings go more smoothly for some infants," he said.

While burping seems like a common practice for many parents and their infants, Kaufman shared that burping may not be necessary for all babies. 

"One study showed there was no difference in regurgitation or colic in babies who were burped versus not burped," he said, referencing a study of 71 mothers and babies.

How To Burp A Baby

Kaufman, who works as an advisor to Share the Drop, shared the safest ways to burp a baby.

"Since air rises, either having your baby upright over your shoulder or sitting upright on your lap and then gently pat their back," he said. "Another position is lying your baby on their tummy across your lap."

But how often should babies be burped?

"You will get to know your baby, but some babies swallow more air than others and need to be burped every five to 10 minutes," Kaufman said. 

The neonatologist recommends parents "take a little pause" to determine a burping pattern for your baby.

"It is good to take a little pause two or three times during a feeding to 'see' if your baby has some air to burp," Kaufman said. "You only need to pat their back for one to two minutes, and if there is not a burp, just go back to feeding. This is better than only trying to get one big burp at the end of the feeding."