Having spent over 5 years working with babies (and being a Mum myself!) I've seen a lot of colicky wee ones. Trapped wind can contribute to colic and reflux so making sure they get their burps up can make a huge difference in making them more comfortable. Sometime babies can be really difficult to burp so I thought I would share my favourite techniques. Often rotating through them can be really helpful when baby just won't burp!
1. Over the knee burp - Lay baby carefully tummy down, over your knees and pat or rub with an upwards motion up babies back.
2. The squatting burp - lift baby up and then carefully squat them down on your lap allowing their knees to tuck up against their chest. Then holding/leaning them against you rub their backs with an upward motion.
3. Sitting on your knee burp - Perhaps one of the most commonly used burping techniques is to sit baby on your knee and rub their back with upward strokes. In younger babies make sure to support their head and neck. In older babies with good neck control you can often get lots of good burps up by applying gentle pressure to the tummy while rubbing their back.
4. Massage Burp - Lay baby down on their tummy with their head to one side. Massage from the base of the spine upwards with a gentle but firm pressure.
5. Over the arm burp - Lay baby over your arm, supporting their head with your forarm/elbow. Hold them at a slight angle so their tummy is lower than their head. Pat or rub their backs.
6. Over the shoulder burp - Another classic burping position but there's a reason for it! Place baby over your shoulder and gently pat or rub in an upwards motion on their back.
7. The German Mama Burp - This one is very similar to the over the shoulder burp but this time you position baby so that your breast is gently pressing into their tummy. Then start tapping/rubbing from the lower back and moving upwards to the upper back and repeat.
8. The cross body burp - Hold baby with their head on one shoulder and their feet towards the opposite side. Pat/rub in an upwards motion. Then swap and do the same again on the other side.
Another position that can be really helpful to soothe unsettled babies is Tiger in a Tree a.k.a Cat in a Cradle (and one or two others!). Make a cradle with your arms and lie baby on it's front so that it's head is being supported by your elbow/arm and their tummy is lying on your hands. Let their arms and legs dangle a little. You can then apply a slight pressure to their tummy, and/or pat/massage around in a clockwise motion.
I hope these techniques will help you and your baby to produce lots of burps.
This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat any specific conditions. Nor is it designed to replace the advice of your healthcare provider.
Have you been told that your baby has reflux? Are you trying to get your head around what that means and what to do next? I'm here to help.
What is infant reflux?
Firstly let me say that for the purposes of this blog when I talk about infant reflux I'm also including GORD (GERD), GOR, Silent Reflux, the symptoms of allergies/intolerances and what may have been dismissed as "colic".
In simple terms a reflux action is when something moves from the stomach to the oesophagus. It is a natural process that our bodies are designed to do for a number of reasons, e.g. to remove excess air from our stomach - burping or vomiting to remove food/bacteria. The body's ability to reflux is completely normal and is one of the body's ways of protecting itself from pathogens etc.
What's not normal is when this action is happening over and over again especially when it is causing obvious pain and discomfort. It is not normal for stomach acid to be oesophagus all the time and it's certainly not normal for babies to be in distress.
The good news is that there is always a reason for your babies symptoms and we can work together to figure it out.
The most common causes of reflux
1. Build up of gas.
Those of us who can remember back to physics lessons at school will remember that things will move from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. If you blow up a balloon and then let go of it, it will deflate as the air moves from high pressure (inside the balloon) to an area of lower pressure (outside the balloon).
The same thing happens inside a baby's stomach. When the pressure inside the stomach is too great the body will try to regain balance by sending the gas into a lower pressure environment. In this case the oesophagus. The pressure level will determine the force of the regurgitation with higher pressure leading to projectile vomit and lower pressure as silent reflux.
The question we need to answer is where does the air come from?
More often than not it's because baby is swallowing too much air. Babies can swallow air when they cry, laugh, eat, drink (especially if there are issues with latch to breast or bottle), when they swallow saliva and if there are air bubbles in their milk.
2. Food Allergy or Intolerance.
Our digestive system plays a key role in immunity as you may have seen if you've read any of our posts on probiotics. One of the roles of gastric acid found in the stomach is to kill pathogens and prevent them reaching the small and large intestine. However, the infant digestive system is very immature and sometimes it's ability to perceive pathogens is a little off. For example, it may, rightly or wrongly, identify that a protein in cows milk, gluten, soy or any other food is a virus and trigger a reflux reaction to protect itself by vomiting out what it has perceived as a threat.
In these cases, reflux is a symptom of the allergy or intolerance.
There are of course other causes of reflux including pyloric stenosis, galactosaemia, intestinal blockages, etc which is why it's important that we assess each case individually.
If you're ready to start figuring out what's causing your little ones reflux then start with this free download to track all of their symptoms.
If you'd like more tailored 1:1 support you can find full details of my packages here.
Want to know more about why I started supporting babies with reflux? You can read my story here.
I truly hope I can help you on your journey to a reflux free life.
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