Burping your baby helps remove air swallowed during feeding. You can wait until the end of the feeding or you can burp at intervals during the feeding. You’ll soon learn your baby’s burping needs. Here are some good methods of burping:
- Hold your baby so that their head rests on your shoulder, and their chest is against yours. Pat your baby’s back or rub it upward with your hand.
- Lay your baby face down on your lap. Rub or pat their back.
- Hold them in a sitting position on your lap, with their side toward you. Support their head and back with one hand, chin and chest with the other. Then gently rock them back and forth as if helping them “take a bow” while patting their back.
Your baby may spit up small amounts of formula or breast milk. This is no cause for alarm. It happens to all babies. You may be able to reduce the spitting up (also known as reflux) by burping your baby more often or longer during and after feedings. Also, try feeding smaller volumes more often to see if over-feeding is the cause. Spitting up occurs because the valve-like muscle which connects the swallowing tube (esophagus) and the stomach is immature. Therefore, food in your baby’s stomach often comes back up into the throat, mouth or occasionally, even the nose. Most babies have some form of reflux which will improve with time. Babies approaching four months old are the most likely to reflux as they are drinking more liquid for their stomach size and body mass than at any other time in their life. By one year of life, the diet will include more solid foods and the muscle will be much more mature. These changes will help keep your baby from refluxing as much.
Medical intervention for spitting up may be necessary for the following reasons: poor weight gain, extreme discomfort or reflux that is green.
Hiccups are a normal part of being a newborn. Usually they bother us more than they do our babies. No treatment is necessary and there are no preventative measures that can be taken. Some babies even hiccup in the womb.
All newborn babies have gas. This is a normal part of newborn life. No intervention is necessary. However, if you would like to try some anecdotally supported therapies you can safely try the following:
- Simethicone gas drops (Mylicon): Mylicon has not been proven to be any more effective than placebo in studies. However, this medication is safe to use as directed.
- Frequent burping: You can increase the frequency of burping during your feeding time (for example: burping after every ounce of formula). This may reduce the amount of air you child swallows, thus reducing the amount of gas they release.
- Brown’s/Avent bottles: Anecdotal evidence supports the use of these bottles although, studies have not confirmed this. Nonetheless, they are safe to use.
Mealtime is more than an opportunity to get nutrients into your baby. It’s a time for closeness and sharing. Your baby’s meals are as much for their emotional pleasure as well as for their physical well-being, so maintain eye contact with your baby while you feed them. Comfortably hold them close to you, seating them in your lap with their head resting in the bend of your elbow and slightly raised. Talk to them softly during the feeding. Around six months of age, when your child is able to sit up, have them join you at the dinner table in a high chair. Once your baby is able to sit at the table, eat together as a family and keep scheduled meals and scheduled snacks at the table to prevent roaming and grazing.
Milk Allergy/Formula Intolerance
A true allergy to any food is not common in infants. Lactose intolerance is also quite rare in full-term babies, but it can occasionally occur in premature infants. If you are concerned that your child is having problems with formula, you may try switching to a hypoallergenic formula (Nutramigen or Alimentum). However, in the vast majority of babies this is unnecessary. As with any other food, it takes time for the digestive system to adjust to formula. Remember, this is the first food ever to enter your child’s digestive system. True signs of formula intolerance include blood in the stool, repeated vomiting/reflux, lethargy, extreme fussiness, and poor feeding. If you are ever concerned about formula intolerance, please consult with us in the office.