baby breastfeeding

How to breastfeed

Breastfeeding takes practice. It takes time to work out which feeding and burping positions feel best. There aren’t 'correct' positions – it's about what feels most comfortable for you both, so try them all out to see which feels best.

Burping your baby

Winding, or burping your baby, is an important part of feeding. When your baby swallows, air bubbles can become trapped in their tummy and cause a lot of discomfort. Some babies find it easy to burp, while others need a helping hand.

When should I burp my baby?

There are no rules on when you should burp your baby, some babies need burping during their feed, some after. Look for clues – if your baby seems uncomfortable while feeding, have a little burping break. If they seem fine while feeding, wait until they've finished. Your baby will let you know!

The Breastfeeding Friend from Start4Life, available 24 / 7, has lots of useful information and expert advice to share with you.

What’s the best way to burp my baby?

Support your baby's head and neck, make sure their tummy and back is nice and straight (not curled up), and rub or pat their back gently. You don't need to spend ages burping your baby, a couple of minutes should be enough.

There are a few ways to burp your baby. Try them all out and see which works best – or use a combination:

Over your shoulder

With your baby's chin resting on your shoulder, support the head and shoulder area with one hand, and gently rub and pat your baby's back. It might help to walk around as you are doing this.

Sitting on your lap

Sit your baby on your lap facing away from you. Place the palm of your hand flat against their chest and support their chin and jaw (don't put any pressure on the throat area). Lean your baby forwards slightly and with your free hand, gently rub or pat your baby's back.

Lying across your lap

Lie your baby across your lap face down. Supporting their chin (don't put any pressure on the throat area), use your free hand to gently rub or pat your baby's back.

What if my baby won't burp?

If these methods don’t work and your baby shows signs of trapped wind (crying, arched back, drawing legs into tummy, clenched fists), try lying them on their back and gently massaging their tummy. Also move your baby's legs back and forth – like they're riding a bicycle. If this doesn't work, talk to your health visitor, they’ll be able to advise you on the best thing to do.

Your baby may bring some milk up while burping, so have a burp cloth or muslin square ready (this is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about).
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