How to burp a sleeping baby

Updated April 17, 2017

Burping your baby relieves gas and pressure that may cause discomfort and crying. You don't want your baby to wake up fussy because he needs to be burped, especially if you have a newborn just learning to sleep through the night. Burp your baby regularly after and during feedings. If your baby falls asleep while feeding and still needs to be burped, you may be able to burp him without waking him.

Hold your baby over your shoulder. Some advice on burping recommends holding the child upright on your lap, but a sitting position may cause her to wake. The over-the-shoulder position may make it easier for your baby to stay asleep during burping.

Gently rub or pat your baby's back and shoulders with the heel of your hand. Do this as gently as possible so as not to waken her. Use your other hand and arm for support. You may want to sit in a rocking chair and rock slowly as you do this.

If your baby wakes up during burping, this gentle method, especially accompanied by a steady rocking motion, should ease her back to sleep easily.

Another method is to position your baby facedown across your lap. Use one hand to provide support and with the other, rub your baby's back with a gentle circular motion. Be very gentle and careful as you lower your baby into this position. This is a relaxing position for your baby and can also be used to lull him to sleep if he is fussy.

Grasp your baby under her arms, holding her securely, and sway her like a pendulum. This method works against gas that has got trapped in the oesophagus. Gentle swaying will ease this gas up and out of the oesophagus. (see References 3)


Whatever method you use to burp your baby, position him so there is slight pressure on his stomach. Handle your baby with care, using a supportive but gentle touch that doesn't wake him.

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About the Author

Michelle Labbe has been writing online and for print since 2004. Her work has appeared in the online journals Reflection's Edge and Cabinet des Fées as well as in Harvard Book Store's anthology, "Michrochondria." She is pursuing a Master of Arts in publishing and writing at Emerson College.