How to breastfeed

baby breastfeeding

Breastfeeding takes practice. It takes time to work out which positions feel best – 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!

Did you know?

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).

What's the best position 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:

burping baby over the shoulder

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.

burping baby sitting on your lap

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.

burping baby lying across lap

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.

Breastfeeding Friend from Start4life

The Breastfeeding Friend, a digital tool from Start4Life, has lots of useful information and expert advice to share with you – and because it's a digital tool, you can access it 24 / 7.

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.

For confidential breastfeeding information and support, call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212. Lines are open 9:30am to 9:30pm every day.

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