What Happens if You Don’t Burp a Newborn?
For many people, burping newborns is as much a part of the feeding as using a particular chair or a special blanket. Not all babies need to be burped, but most newborns benefit from burping.
Many parents develop particular techniques for burping that help their babies bring up air that could cause them discomfort.
Newborns need to burp because they often swallow air when they feed. This is more common with babies fed from a bottle than with breastfed babies, but even some breastfed babies swallow air when they eat.
Babies fed from a bottle tend to swallow more air because they can have more difficulty regulating the flow of milk from the nipple. If you do not burp a newborn during feeding, he continues to swallow more air and it may stay in his stomach instead of getting pushed back up.
A baby who swallows air during a feeding and does not get the opportunity to burp it back up may become cranky. Think about how you feel when you need to burp after eating too quickly. This is how your newborn’s belly feels when he does not get to burp.
He may fuss, squirm, or look uncomfortable when you put him down. If you put your baby down after a feeding and he does not fuss or squirm then he may not need to burp.
Gas and Hiccups
Newborns who swallow significant amounts of air during a feeding need to get rid of it one way or another. If they do not burp it up, it may come out the other end. Babies who do not get burped when they need to may get gassy.
This is because the excess air needs to escape somehow. Alternatively, these babies sometimes start to hiccup. This is another of the body’s ways of getting rid of excess air. If your baby develops the hiccups during or after a feeding, burp him to try and release the excess air.
Newborns who swallow too much air without getting to burp it up may ultimately spit up. This is because their tummies are too full of both air and food. Most newborns spit up at one time or another, and in most cases it is not dangerous.
If your baby spits up frequently after feeding make sure you feed him in a quiet spot, do it when he is calm, and keep him upright for 30 minutes after a feeding. If you feel like your baby spits up excessively, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician.