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Ages & Stages

You can tell that your baby has finished nursing from one breast when he has stopped suckling, fallen asleep, or drifted off the breast. If he’s not asleep, he should seem calm and relaxed. Once he’s finished, you can try to burp him to expel any air he has swallowed. Breastfed babies usually swallow less air than bottle-fed infants, so he may not need to burp. Burping may ease any feeling of fullness and may wake him up a bit so that you can offer him the other breast.

Almost all babies hiccup from time to time—a phenomenon that usually will bother you more than your infant but may distress him if he is in the middle of a feeding. As your milk supply increases, your baby may also spit up milk from time to time. This normal behavior is no cause for concern, but spit-ups and hiccups can be minimized by keeping your nursing sessions quiet and calm and changing your baby’s position to help him relax.

How to Burp Your Baby

If you choose to burp your baby after he finishes nursing on one side, hold him vertically against your body with his head over your shoulder. Place a clean cloth under his head to catch any spitup and then gently pat or rub his back. If you prefer, you can perform this movement while sitting him on your lap and supporting his head with one hand or laying him across your knees on his stomach. If he hasn’t burped after a few minutes, you can put him down to sleep on his back or offer him the other breast.


Last Updated
New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.