As a parent with a newborn, you’re undoubtedly exhausted. Waking up at night to feed your crying baby can have you counting down the minutes until you can get back in bed. Yet, is it okay to put a baby to sleep without them burping?
While it is safe to put a baby to sleep without burping, they may be more likely to wake up again due to uncomfortable trapped gas. Just holding them upright for a short period before laying them down for sleep will give them a better chance that they’ll stay asleep.
Once your baby has finished feeding and fallen asleep, you will certainly be tempted to put them and yourself immediately to bed. However, here are a few tips on how to burp a sleepy baby and ensure that both you and your baby get a good night’s rest.
Can a Baby Sleep Without Burping?
While the answer is “yes”, it’s also “hmm… better not.” Although it is completely safe and your baby may stay asleep without getting gassy, there’s still a likely chance that they will.
If your baby doesn’t require as much burping throughout the day, then you’re in luck as they will probably be able to sleep soundly without being burped. However, most babies are going to need a burping session to avoid feeling gassy.
When the gas gets trapped after eating and laying down, they will feel some discomfort and wake up crying. Another possibility is that without proper burping, they’re more likely to spit up milk while laying down. To avoid both scenarios, it’s best to just bite the bullet and burp them before laying them down for the rest of the night.
Signs that Your Baby Needs Burping
Without getting their burps out, babies can become fairly fussy. While some babies are able to drink milk without inhaling too much excess air, most will ingest a significant amount of it and need burping. If they don’t get that air back out, they can start acting out.
Some signs that your baby needs burping include:
- Refusal to eat
- Writhing around
If you’re thinking this sounds like colic, then your right except colic can last days, weeks, or even months. While some believe that trapped gas can be the cause of colic, this has yet to be scientifically proven.
Can You Burp a Sleeping Baby?
Despite what you may think, you can definitely burp your baby while they’re asleep. If your baby falls asleep while feeding and you don’t want to wake them up, we have a trick for you.
Instead of using the traditional patting method to burp your baby, go for a smoother and lower-impact method. While holding your baby against your shoulder, as usual, use your hand to apply a decent amount of pressure to their lower back and gently but firmly rub upward to their neck.
This method allows you to actually motivate the trapped gas to move upward and out. By rubbing instead of patting, you’re allowing your baby to burp all while they stay sound asleep.
If you would still rather not disturb your sleeping baby, there are still other options. While patting or rubbing your baby’s back can help produce a burp, you can still have them sitting upright for at least five minutes to help ensure their gases have the opportunity to escape. There are other positions to help them burp while asleep.
Best Positions to Burp a Sleepy Baby
There are multiple positions you can try to help your baby burp and digest their milk fully without spitting up. One way to burp your baby without waking them up is by putting them in a position where there’s slight pressure on their belly. While the go-to shoulder position helps them sit upright, it adds no pressure to help burping.
Instead, you can hold them higher up and almost over your shoulder while cradling their head for support. The pressure from your shoulder and upper body can help your baby push out those trapped gases, burp, and head back to bed.
Another position is one where you have them laying against your chest, but you’re sat farther back in your chair. You should be slightly reclining in this position. This is a great spot to rub your baby’s back from bottom to top to help burping. If they don’t burp, this will at least help them get their milk settled in their stomach.
Finally, this position is great to lay down your sleeping baby while waiting for a burp. You can lay them down flat on their tummy securely on your lap. By being horizontal and face down, your baby can better let out any gas that’s trapped inside. This is also a great position to rub their back upwards to help move the process along.
You’re likely ready to fall asleep too and although it is okay to put a baby to sleep without burping, it’s better to do so to ensure a longer sleep. Some babies are able to get away with minimal burping due to ingesting less air while eating, but most will need a good burp to rest peacefully.
If your baby doesn’t burp too often but shows signs of irritability, crying, and a refusal to eat, then they may have some trapped gas. This can feel extremely uncomfortable for a newborn, and that’s why ensuring that they are properly and regularly burped can help avoid this gas-related pain.
If your baby has fallen asleep while feeding, it’s still best to burp them anyway. Instead of patting their back, you can firmly rub from the bottom to the top of their back. This movement will help the gas move up and out of their tiny bodies.
Another option is to lay them in a position where pressure is applied to their abdomen. This can help push the gas up and have them burping. Even if they don’t burp, by having them in these positions for at least five minutes, you can ensure that the milk has settled as best as possible before putting them down to sleep for the night.