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It isn't really all that difficult to burp a baby. All that is required is a bit of persistence and good technique.

Hold the baby so that his or her tummy lies on the front of your shoulder and his arms hang down your back. Both you and the baby should feel very comfortable.

Gently pat the baby's back with the heel of your hand, gradually moving upwards. Continue until you are rewarded with a resounding belch. Patting the left side of the baby's back (which would be on your right) is better. Do not pat too hard, especially out of frustration; although the baby can possibly tolerate it, it makes more sense to avoid a trip to the chiropractor.

Stop patting periodically. Occasionally, if both you and the baby are lucky, the baby will burp as soon as you stop patting.

Lie the baby on his or her back for a moment. Then pick him or her up and resume patting. Sometimes the jostling helps to move around the gas and produces a burp.

It's true that it might take an awfully long time before the baby burps. The baby may do something more interesting like spit up or have a bowel movement first. These can in most cases be considered as good as burps. However, with this in mind, there are two errant beliefs that need to be rebutted:

  1. Some people will tell you that their babies don't need to be burped.
  2. This is ridiculous. Babies get gas. They're not experts at getting rid of it, and they need your help. Who are the adults here?

  3. Even some parenting books will say that if the baby hasn't burped by such-and-such a time, he or she has probably nursed so efficiently that he or she didn't swallow any air bubbles and couldn't possibly have a burp.
  4. Another absurdity. After a feeding, the baby always has a burp. That's one of the things that the baby does. What these books are likely referring to is that the baby is probably feeling more discomfort from so many minutes of being knocked on the back than from the gas that is trapped.

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