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How to burp a baby + gas & colic relief remedies!

Updated: 4 days ago

As a IBCLC candidate / lactation consultant, who has now done well over 500+ hours of clinical lactation practice, preparing to sit for my board certification exams, I have been on a LOT of consults. Additionally, I’m a doula, birth educator and perinatal health navigator for a home visiting program. I have literally been on hundreds (if not more) visits over the last few years!

I often hear (or see) parents tell me “my 2 week old baby scarfed that 5oz bottle down so fast, they must have been starving, but then they were crying afterwards so that must mean they are still hungry so I gave them another 3oz!”

Your baby was likely taking the bottle fast due to incorrect eating posture and they were likely crying because that was too much for their little belly to hold and now they don’t know what to do about the gas build up and the overfilled belly so they cry to tell you they need to burp or get it out, or they just spit it up, hello projectile vomit madness. Babies will chug a bottle on their back to protect their airway from being obstructed. Chugging doesn’t mean hungry, it means they were trying to keep up so they do not choke!

This is why I encourage parents to practice paced or baby led bottle feeding. This method allows a baby to control their intake just like they would be able to do at the breast.

For babies who switch back and forth between breast and bottle, paced feeding is a great way to avoid baby developing flow preference. Paced bottle feeding can also prevent childhood obesity by teaching good eating habits from the beginning of life. Babies who are not pace bottle fed are often more likely to:

  • Be more susceptible to ear infections

  • Cause an increase or induce gas & reflux

  • Have a strong flow preference

(I don’t like to call it nipple confusion, because I firmly believe babies are smart little scientists, they are not confused!)

Here’s how to do what I call Breast-ish bottle feeding:

  1. Hold baby in upright position or side lying like breastfeeding but they can be outward facing

  2. Tickle lips to get that open wide reflex

  3. Nipple in mouth when ready, no forcing

  4. Bottle horizontal to keep flow slow and steady

  5. Tip bottle down to stop the flow and give a break throughout the feed

  6. Feeding should take 15 mins not 5 mins

  7. Switch sides for brain stimulation during feed

  8. Practice skin to skin during feeds to bond

Ways to burp a baby:

1. Over the shoulder

2. Over the forearm

3. Belly to belly

4. Standing Bouncy Sway

5. Over the lap

How to manage baby gas & colic:

1. Probiotics

2. Chamomile tea

3. Paced bottle feeding

4. Infant massage

5. Elimination diet

6. Check for latch or breastfee