Why it might be best not to burp your baby

Post-meal pats on the back may be instinct for parents, but it’s not necessarily helpful to babies: Many parents find burping their babies to be highly satisfying. A little jiggle, a little pat, and suddenly, a big, funny jolt of air comes flying out of a tiny, floppy baby. There’s lots of burping methods — the over-the-shoulder jiggle, the propped-up-on-the-lap pat, even the face-down-on-the-knees position — and they all lead to this amusing outcome. But despite the immense joy and amusement burping brings, there’s scant scientific evidence that burping after meals actually does anything helpful for babies.

Research published in Child: Care, Health and Development enrolled 71 mother-newborn pairs. Half of the mothers received advice about immunizations, breastfeeding and other health issues, but none about burping. The other half of the mothers was instructed on how to burp their babies. Over the next three months, the moms kept track of their babies’ colic episodes (excessive crying, inconsolability or other signs of discomfort) and spit-ups, tallying each event every 24 hours.

The results were striking: Burped babies didn’t cry less than ones that weren’t burped. And the burped babies actually spit up more: They spit up about eight times a week, on average, compared with 3.7 times a week for unburped babes. That’s an interesting result, given how entrenched burping advice is. The study is too preliminary to conclude that burping is actually behind the increased numbers of spit-ups. So maybe the fact that everyone treats baby burping as something desirable means that there’s something to it. It’s quite possible that folk wisdom reflects a benefit that went undetected in this study. But it’s also possible that parents burp babies because we think it makes our babies feel better, and that’s something that makes US feel better. 

And if your baby is in obvious discomfort after eating or drinking, whether burping or not, there's always the help from herbal remedies like Biobubs. As an all natural product, it doesn't contain an harmful chemicals and is known for its soothing and calming effect on babies. So why not give it a try next time your precious one suffers from tummy problems or colic?

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