Find out if there are any risks to burping your baby too hard, and learn about the most effective burping techniques and some tips to do it correctly.
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Being a first-time parent means discovering a million things about taking care of a baby that you never knew before. Part of this is learning how to burp your baby properly. When we had our daughter, I was terrified that my husband was going to crush her every time he would start patting her back with his giant man’s hands to get her to burp after a feeding! As it turns out, it always sounds worse than it is, phew! But can you burp a baby too hard?
It is possible but very unlikely, to burp a baby too hard. This can happen if you pat your baby’s back too vigorously to the point where their head jostles back and forth. If this happens, your baby may vomit or spew and they would be clearly uncomfortable. As long as your baby’s head is pretty stable while you pat them on the back, using thumping motions with your palm rather than slapping motions, you’re good to go!
Getting the right technique and using just the right amount of force when burping your baby can take some practice and some learning too! Keep reading to learn more about how to burp your baby properly and some of the most effective ways of burping, you would be surprised to learn that some of them don’t even require any patting!
How Hard Should You Pat a Baby to Burp?
If you ask any labor and delivery or pediatric nurse at the hospital, they would tell you that a majority of parents are too scared to burp their baby as hard as they need to be burped. So how hard should you be patting your baby to burp?
Well, probably harder than you’d think. A solid “thumping” working your way from the bottom to the top of your baby’s back is the way to go. Just know that babies are not as fragile as you would think, but also you don’t need to be too rough with them. If your baby’s head is jostling around while you’re patting, then you’re probably doing it too hard.
Get Your Patting Technique Right!
One of the most important things to know about patting your baby to burp is that you should be using the palm of your hand so that you do more of a “thump” as opposed to a “slap” that you get when using your whole hand including your fingers. For this thumping motion, you need to pat your baby’s back using only your palm while keeping your fingers bent away from your baby’s back.
What Happens if You Burp a Baby Too Hard?
The nightmare of every parent is to give their baby some kind of spinal damage by burping them too hard, but this is highly unlikely. Babies are a lot more resilient than we think!
That being said, patting your baby too hard when burping them can cause some vomiting or spewing. This is because the little valve at the top of their stomach is not fully developed yet and can’t handle being jostled around too much. That’s why you need to be mindful of the way you’re patting your baby to burp and not pat too hard or too vigorously.
If your baby cries or seems uncomfortable while burping them, you know you’re patting too hard. Just tone down the intensity of your patting, or try another burping method! There are many effective ways of burping your baby to choose from, patting your baby’s back while holding them upright is just one way of doing it.
Got a “Hard to Burp” Baby? the Most Effective Burping Techniques
If you feel like going full force patting your baby’s back is the only way to get them to burp, here is some good news for you: there are more burping techniques than we could count, some that don’t even require any patting at all! The idea is to play with angles and positions. Here is a tour of some of the best burping techniques for those “hard to burp” babies :
The Baby Martini
If your baby is fast asleep after that nighttime feeding, you can try the “baby martini” technique which is great for burping your baby without waking them up.
Hold your baby’s belly downside, with one hand holding their chest and supporting the head, and the other hand holding their tiny butt! The idea is to hold your baby at a diagonal in midair and make sure that their chin is pointing downwards so that the air can escape easily.
Gently jiggle your baby up and down like you’re shaking a martini in super slow motion. Just doing a few up-and-down moves gets the job done most of the time.
The Goblin Style
This is one of my favorite burping techniques that is very gentle but also highly effective.
Sit your baby on your knee, facing your other knee while supporting their chest and belly with one hand. Your baby should look slumped with both arms straight out, hence the goblin style. You can then either pat your baby’s back while bouncing them gently or rub their back in circular motions which also works great.
The gentle pressure that you apply on their belly while holding them in this goblin-style position really helps in moving the air from their stomach making it easier to burp. I also found that this technique really reduces spit-up and babies actually enjoy it!
Over the Shoulder (Improved Version)
This is the classic burping position where you hold your baby upright over your shoulder while patting their back, but with little variations that make all the difference.
The improved version is to actually have your baby a little higher up over your shoulder so that your shoulder actually exercises a gentle pressure on their belly instead of having just your baby’s head looking over your shoulder. This will help in pushing the air upwards and out much more effectively.
The golden ticket for this one is finding that sweet spot on your shoulder where your baby is relaxed and their belly has a good amount of pressure. You can also try this position while sitting down so that you have better control and balance if that’s more comfortable for you.
The common denominator between these effective burping techniques is applying that gentle pressure on the belly while keeping your baby’s upper body in an upright position to get the air out. So the next time your baby is having a hard time burping, experiment with different techniques. You could even invent your own!
Burping your baby shouldn’t be an MMA fight! Experimenting with different angles and positions is the key to getting those burps out of your baby as smoothly as possible.
Patting your baby on the back is one way of doing it, but if you feel like you’re going full force and your baby still isn’t burping, try out some of these other techniques. Chances are one of them will work like a charm and before you know it, your baby will be burping in a matter of minutes.
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