Burping your baby

Updated January 17th, 2023

Babies often swallow air while feeding, which can make them uncomfortable.  This happens with breastfed and bottle-fed babies. Burping helps get rid of air that the baby has swallowed.

Burp your baby:

  • part way through the feed and then again after feeding.
  • burp your baby, when they seem uncomfortable.
  • burp a breastfeeding baby when you switch breasts during feeding.
  • more often, if the baby has problems with gas or spitting up.

Signs that your baby may need to burp:

  • arches the back
  • gets fussy or cranky
  • pulls away from the bottle
  • slows or stops sucking
Hot parent tips:
  • Watch your baby for hunger cues and feed before baby is so hungry that they cry.  Crying babies swallow a lot of air which can cause discomfort and spitting up.

To burp a baby:

  • Place the baby in an upright position. See the pictures below for good burping positions.
  • Gently rub or pat baby’s back with a cupped hand. The baby will not always burp each time you do this. Wait a few minutes and try again.
  • Sometimes formula or breast milk comes up with the air when the baby burps. A clean face cloth, cloth diaper, or bib can help keep you and the baby clean during burping.
Try these positions to burp your baby:
  • Hold your baby upright over your shoulder
  • Hold your baby in a sitting position on your lap.
  • Your baby should be leaning slightly forward with your hand supporting the jaw
  • Place your baby on the stomach across your lap.

To help the baby swallow less air during bottle feedings:

  • Make sure the formula is not too hot or too cold.
  • Sit the baby upright in your arms when feeding.
  • See our page Bottle-Feeding 101 for tips on bottle-feeding.

Most babies burp on their own after 2 months of age.