How to burp a baby

Helpful tips and baby winding techniques to help your baby after every feed

In Newborn

    3-minutes read

    At a glance

    Babies can take in too much air when they feed or cry

    Burping a newborn helps prevent trapped wind


    Use a muslin cloth to clean up any milk they bring up 

    Be patient and gently pat until your baby is fully winded 

    Your new baby will often take in air while they are feeding, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Winding them helps bring this air up so the milk goes down and helps prevent painful trapped wind in babies. The best time for burping your baby is in the middle of a feed or just after.

    How to wind a newborn

    There are two main positions for winding your baby. The first is holding your baby over your shoulder, with one hand under your baby’s bottom, the other ready to support your baby’s head.

    The second is with your baby sitting on your lap, one hand supporting their back, the other under their chin to support their head. Here are some tips to help get the hang of it:

    • Your baby might bring up some milk when you wind them. This is known as ‘posseting’. Use a cloth to protect your clothes and mop up any mess. As long as your baby is content and putting on weight this is nothing to worry about
    • Once you have positioned your baby, rub or gently pat their back until they burp. Be patient – it may take a while
    • Once your baby has been winded, they may want more milk now they have more room in their tummy. But don’t force them to take more milk than they want – they will let you know when they have had enough
    • If you’re bottle feeding, try to limit the amount of air your baby takes in by tilting the bottle to keep the teat full of milk
    • Speak to your midwife, GP, health visitor or public health nurse if your baby brings up milk after every feed or if they appear to be in pain or vomiting quite forcefully

    Responsive feeding – when to wind

    Babies only have small tummies which can soon get full, so it’s important to burp them while feeding to prevent the build-up of uncomfortable trapped wind. Your baby has a built-in appetite regulator which means they know when they are full up, so will let you know when they’ve had enough with physical and verbal cues. Spotting these cues takes a little experience so to help we’ve put together a series of videos showing the most common cues to look out for, HERE.

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: The best way to feed a baby is to breastfeed, as breast milk provides the ideal balanced diet and protection against illness for your baby and also many non-nutritional benefits for both baby and mother. We recommend that you speak to your healthcare professional when deciding on your choice of feeding your baby. Professional guidance should also be sought on the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding. If you do choose to breastfeed, it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Infant formula is intended to replace breast milk when mothers choose not to breastfeed or if for some reason they are unable to do so. A decision not to breastfeed, or to introduce partial bottle-feeding, will reduce the supply of breast milk. If for any reason you choose not to breastfeed, do remember that such a decision can be difficult to reverse. Using infant formula also has social and financial implications which must be considered. Infant formula should always be prepared, used and stored as instructed on the label, in order to avoid risks to a baby’s health.


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    Important advice to mothers

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. SMA® Nutrition fully supports this and continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary foods as advised by your healthcare professional.