Monday, February 27, 2012

Baby Burp Care: Support for Your Baby

Burp! Well excuse me—I just burped! Ha ha. In our last love and care post this month, in honor of our favorite valentines, we’re going to close with a nice big … BURP!

Why Do Babies Burp? 
Air gets into the tummy & the gastrointestinal tract each time a baby swallows. With the frequency of feeds a baby has during the first few months of life comes the accumulation of quite a bit of air in the tummy (stomach). It’s important to have a good seal on the breast or bottle nipple to minimize air swallowed during feeding—a small amount is normal but if there is a poor seal, extra gas can slip through and increase air in the tummy. If you think of a soda bottle, what rises to the top? You guessed it: bubbles or air. It works the same inside baby’s tummy: air rises to the top and out the mouth making that familiar (and very cute when it’s from a baby) sound.

What Happens If My Baby Doesn’t Burp? 
Sometimes there is simply no air in the tummy and no burp to be had. However, if there is air in there that doesn’t come out up top, it stays inside. What doesn’t come up … must … go … down. So, guess where air goes that doesn’t rise up into a burp? You guessed it! The air travels through the intestine and will come out the other end … as a “toot”. When air is trapped in the intestines, just like with an adult, it can be uncomfortable for a baby.

How Do I Burp A Baby? 

When a baby’s head is upright and positioned higher than the tummy, baby may burp without any help. Some babies (and some adults for that matter!) are belchers, and some take a little more time and assistance to get a good one out. You can place baby forward sitting with your hand underneath the chin, being careful to support the head and avoid the neck. You can also place baby on your shoulder, also supporting the head. Finally, when baby is awake, you can lay baby on the tummy. In any of these three positions, gently tap the upper back will help loosen up the gas bubble and lead to the big burp!

Burping can be a great time for bonding, too. It’s a quiet, special, intimate time you can share with baby—just the two of you.

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