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Common Feeding Problems and Burping Techniques

Baby will quickly establish his individual pattern as to when he is hungry or sleepy. Let his hunger pattern determine his feedings: this is called “self-demand” schedule, which some doctors recommend for Baby’s first few days. Keep a record of the times he seems to want to eat and sleep and after a week you will have known the schedule that fits Baby satisfactorily. Other doctors may recommend what is called “modified-demand” technique. The baby is fed whenever he shows signs of hunger but is also offered a feeding at regular intervals. There are, however no hard and fast rules about feeding time. The time between feedings may depend upon: the size and weight of the baby; how often he seems to need food; and whether you and your doctor want to try letting him establish his own schedule or want to feed him only at regular intervals.

Young babies naturally fuss and get cranky when they swallow air during feedings. Although this occurs in both breastfed and bottle-fed infants, it’s seen more often with the bottle. When it happens, you’re better off stopping the feeding than letting your infant fuss and nurse at the same time. This continued fussing will cause her to swallow even more air, which will only increase her discomfort and may make her spit up.

A much better strategy is to burp her frequently, even if she shows no discomfort. The pause and the change of position alone will slow her gulping and reduce the amount of air she takes in. If she’s bottle-feeding, burp her after every 2 to 3 ounces. If she’s nursing, burp her when she switches breasts.

How to Burp a Baby

Babies tend to swallow air when they cry and also suck in air while feeding. The swallowed air makes the baby uncomfortable and may cause regurgitation or vomiting after feeding.

To relieve baby of this discomfort, burp him by holding him firmly against your shoulder with your hands securely supporting his back and head then pat or rub his back gently. Another position is to lay him on his stomach on your hand supporting his back. Some babies have to be burped halfway through their feeding; others can complete a feeding without being burped.


Most babies hiccup from time to time. This usually will bother you more than your infant, but if hiccups occur during feeding, they may distress her. So change her position and try to get her to burp or relax. Wait until the hiccups are gone to resume feeding. If they don’t disappear on their own in 5 to 10 minutes, a few sucks of some water should stop them. If your baby gets hiccups often, try to feed her when she’s calm and before she’s extremely hungry. This will reduce the likelihood of hiccups during the feeding.

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