Winding Your Baby
You've probably never thought of burping as cute, but when you hear your baby do it, burping is suddenly completely adorable! It also serves an important function, as babies often swallow small amounts of air when they feed. Trapped wind can be painful and uncomfortable for babies, and cause feeding problems.
How to Minimise Trapped Wind During Feeding
Both breastfed and bottle-fed babies need winding, but breastfeeding babies usually swallow less air than bottle fed babies because milk flow is slower from the breast than the bottle. Some women have particularly fast flowing milk however, which increases the amount of air their baby will swallow. Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed your baby, don't feed your baby with him lying down. Try to hold your baby in an upright, or semi upright position, to encourage trapped air to come out. Newborns swallow more air than older babies, so be extra careful to wind your newborn whenever he needs it. Some babies need to be winded more often than others, so look out for signs of trapped wind from your baby, and adapt your winding technique as needed. Symptoms of wind are crying, seeming uncomfortable during feeds, or after feeds when your baby lies down. Wind normally stops by 4-6 months, when babies have learnt how to drink milk without swallowing excess air.
Extra care is required for bottle-fed babies, who generally need more winding than breastfed babies. If you bottle feed your baby and think he is suffering from excess trapped wind, try switching to a teat with a slower milk flow. Also make sure you buy anti-colic teats, as they may minimise trapped wind. Make sure the bottle is tipped so that the teat is completely filled with milk, or else your baby will be swallowing air.
If your baby has a break during a feed, gently wind your baby (see below for how to wind your baby). There is no need to stop deliberately to wind your baby, just do it if they stop naturally, or if your baby cries or otherwise seems uncomfortable. If your baby falls asleep after a feed, don't wake them up to wind them.
Infacol, which contains the active ingredient simethicone, is an over-the-counter medicine for the release of wind. Parents report varying levels of success after using infacol. Some notice an improvement, while others notice no difference.
How to Wind your Baby
Your baby might bring up milk when they burp, so have a bib or muslin cloth ready (or you might get a whiff of sour milk on your clothes later on!). There are various positions you can try for winding your baby. If your baby doesn't seem to be bringing up any wind after a few minutes, try a different position.
On your lap
Try placing your baby across your lap (with their tummy on your thighs) and gently rub their back in a circular motion. You can also try gently patting your baby's back. Applying gentle pressure to your baby's tummy also helps relieve trapped wind.
Over your shoulder
Hold your baby upright, with her head resting over your shoulder. Gently pat or rub your baby's back.
Sitting on your lap
Hold your baby so she is sitting on your lap and gently tilt her forwards, supporting her neck and chin. Gently rub or pat your baby's back.
On your arm
Rest your baby along your arm, with their head facing down, and their head near your elbow. Use one hand to support your baby. Make sure you have a good hold of your baby so she doesn't fall off your arm, and then gently rub or pat her back with your other hand.
Massaging Baby's Tummy
Massaging your baby's tummy can also work wonders on tummy pain caused by trapped wind. Using a little bit of oil move your hands in a circular, clockwise motion over your baby's tummy, starting from the bellybutton and working outwards. Don't massage your baby straight after a feed though, as this may be uncomfortable. If you notice a pattern to when your baby suffers from wind, give him a massage about an hour before he would normally get upset. After your baby's bath is also a good time to massage him. Some babies don't like being massaged however, so stop if your baby gets distressed or tries to bat your hands away.