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How to Burp a Baby (And When to Stop)

Updated: May 10

How to Burp a Baby

As a new parent, you know that you are supposed to "burp" your baby. But what is burping supposed to accomplish? And what is the best way to achieve that tiny "urp!"? Don't worry, Pathfinder Health is here with information on why babies need to burp, strategies for helping your baby to burp, and guidance in reducing your baby's gas so they (and you!) will be happier and more comfortable.

In this article:

What is a burp?

Why do babies need to burp?

Signs that your baby needs to burp

When a burp is more than a burp

How to burp a baby


Baby massage


Reducing your baby's gas

Treat infant reflux

Use proper bottle feeding technique

If breastfeeding, consider eliminating certain foods

Choose the right formula and mix it correctly

When to stop burping a baby

Burping FAQs

Q: What is the difference between "burp" and "belch"?

Q: Is it okay to put my baby down to sleep without burping them?

Q: My baby burped once--can I stop burping them?

Q: How often should I change burp cloths? How many do I need?

Q: Should I burp my baby after they eat solid food?

The Takeaway

What is a burp?

A burp is a reflex that expels gas from the stomach through the mouth. This often occurs after eating or drinking, when the stomach is full and needs to release some of the gas that has built up. Burping can also be caused by swallowing air, which can happen when a person eats or drinks too quickly.

A healthy person might burp up to 30 times a day, but reflux can increase the need to burp.

Why do babies need to burp?

Babies generally need to burp more often than adults because they tend to swallow air while they are drinking. This can cause excess gas to build up in their stomachs, which can cause discomfort. Burping helps to release some of this gas and can provide relief for the baby.

In some circumstances, babies might require extra burping:

  • Bottle-fed babies, who tend to swallow more air than breastfed babies

  • If a baby is particularly hungry and nurses or drinks from their bottle more quickly

  • After crying, especially prolonged crying due to colic

  • If they have a cold, when they will likely breathe more through their mouth

In addition to helping to relieve gas, burping can also reduce spitting up caused by pressure in a baby's stomach after eating. This means more food in your baby's tummy and less laundry for you!

Signs that your baby needs to burp

You may notice signs that your baby needs to burp due to trapped air, such as:

  • Crying

  • Arching their back

  • Pulling their legs into their tummy

  • Clenching their fists