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When Can You Stop Burping a Baby?

Burping helps get out any trapped gas that could lead to major discomfort in your little one. Once babies are between 4-6 months old, you no longer will have to burp them. Every baby is different, so you will have to determine the exact cutoff for burping based on your little one.

Signs You Can Stop Burping Your Baby

All babies develop at different rates and the maturation of their digestive tract is no different. Just like come babies need to be burped more frequently than others, some babies are ready to stop being burped sooner than others. Here are some signs that you can look for. 

Your Baby is Moving Around More

The development of your baby’s motor skills plays a big role in whether they’ll need to burp after feeding. When your baby can sit up and move around more, they can position themselves where they are more comfortable after feeding. Additionally, by being upright, the air in your baby’s digestive tract can rise and they may burp when needed without your help. 

Most babies start supporting their head and neck around age 4 months. This indicates that it is time to encourage them to sit up on their own, too. Most babies can sit up with a little help by the time they are 6 months old. By age 9 months, your baby may be sitting up completely on their own, though they may still need a little help moving from sitting to standing or vice versa.

Less Sensitivity in the Digestive Tract

As your baby’s digestive tract matures, their ability to process foods better as well. In your baby’s earliest months, you have to stick to just formula or breast milk because your baby’s body can’t process solid foods. 

Much of the time, you can stop burping baby when they are ready to start eating solids. This usually happens around the 6 months mark. Since your baby’s digestive tract is more matured, the gas bubbles that happen from the natural digestion process don’t happen as frequently. However, you’ll want to start with gentler foods since food sensitivities or allergies may cause digestive upset. 

Your Baby Burps on Their Own

Sometimes, the burping process happens naturally. You might be feeding your baby one day and be startled when they pull away and burp on their own. This is a good sign since it means that your little one’s digestive tract has matured enough that they can burp on their own. Once this happens, try feeding them without burping them, so you can see if they can do it again. 

How Your Baby Acts After Eating

Babies that don’t have to burp after eating aren’t usually experiencing discomfort they can’t get rid of on their own. In general, a baby that no longer needs to be burped has a happy, pleasant demeanor after eating. They generally won’t have signs of pain or upset on their face. You may find your baby moves around a little bit so they can make the burp pass on their own – this is completely normal. 

Other Considerations That Affect When to Stop Burping Baby

Babies may stop needing to be burped anywhere from 4 months to 9 months of age. This is a big window, though, and there are several factors that might affect when your baby is ready. Some things to keep in mind are: 

  • Babies that are breastfed may not need to be burped sooner 
  • Bottle-fed babies might take longer to start burping on their own
  • Content babies that don’t fuss after eating usually stop needing to be burped sooner
  • Babies that experience fussiness or gas pains after eating may need to be burped for a longer time
  • Less mobile babies might need to be burped for a longer time
  • Babies that can sit up on their own may not need to burp for as long  

When to Stop Burping Baby at Night

Trying to burp your baby when they’re ready to sleep may cause frustration. If you don’t get the excess air out of your baby’s digestive tract, however, it’s likely to wake them up later on. This is especially true since your baby is going to be laying down after you feed them at night.

The advantage of nighttime feedings, however, is that your baby may not swallow as much air at night. Since your baby isn’t usually as alert, they may not suck enough to get air trapped in the digestive tract. 

If your baby doesn’t seem to burp a lot or isn’t especially gassy after a nighttime feeding, however, it might be okay to skip burping your little one at night. If you are going to try skipping burp, you should still give your baby a chance to relieve gas. One thing you could do is set them against your shoulder like you would while burping your baby and keep them upright for 10-15 minutes after feeding. You don’t need to pat them, but you could gently rub your baby’s back to soothe them and give their body a chance to release any trapped air. 

What to Do if Burping Doesn’t Help 

If your baby is extremely irritable even after getting a burp out, it might be time to call your pediatrician. Babies with reflux sometimes have to go on medication for the pain they endure. My second son had to go through this. Normally, babies feel better after they can let the gas pass through. If your baby is always in discomfort, you will want to find out if anything else is going on. 

If you are breastfeeding, your baby may be reacting to something you are eating. On the other hand, formula-fed babies may react to the specific formula they are being fed. We have a thorough list of the best formulas for gassy babies. While it would be nice to just feed the baby, burp them, and be done, that’s not always the case. 

Best Ways to Burp a Baby

If you are searching for when you can stop burping a baby because you can’t seem to get the technique down, here are four tried and true methods. If one position doesn’t work for you, it may be time to switch things up.

Finally, I also recommend having a burp cloth over your clothes just in case. Although, as a mother, we get used to all sorts of bodily functions on us, it is still nice to be protected. 

Rest Your Baby Over Your Shoulder 

The most common way to burp a baby is to have them lay over your shoulder as you gently pat their back. Ensure you are supporting their head in place, especially if your baby still has a bit of a bobblehead. You can either rest their chin or tummy on your shoulder. 

Remember, while it may be the most traditional way to burp a baby, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for your little one. Go easy on yourself if it isn’t working and understand it might be time to try something different. When it comes to babies, there is no such thing as normal! 

Smiling mother burping baby with burp cloth

Massage Their Belly 

Gently massaging your baby’s belly can help things move around in their digestive system. The motion can aid with constipation as well. If the massage method doesn’t work for burping, it’s still a great technique to do on your baby from time to time. 

In addition, massaging your baby is a great way to get them calm before bed. You might even notice it helps with their circulation and even teething. I’m all for anything that helps make the teething phase less painful! 

Bicycle Baby’s Legs

My husband had the magic touch when it came to this technique. If I couldn’t get a burp out of my little one, I’d call my husband over and he would start bicycling our son’s legs. Lay your baby on their back and move their legs around, just like you would pedal on a bike. You may be surprised at how well this technique works. 

Bring the baby's knees to his chest.

If your baby is also constipated, the bicycle move can work wonders for that as well. I always loved laying on babies on my legs and doing the bicycle move. All three of mine were fans of it regardless of whether they had to get any gas out. 

Have Baby Sit Upright

Have your baby sit upright on your knee and gently hold their neck, especially if they are younger and don’t have much strength yet. Gently pat them on the back until you can get a burp out. If the patting doesn’t work, I would also rotate my baby in a 360 degrees motion while still sitting on my knee. It was like magic! 

baby sitting on bed wearing burp cloth

FAQs – When To Stop Burping Baby

Why do you need to burp babies?

All babies take in air when they feed, although breastfed babies tend to take in less air than bottle-fed babies. Unfortunately, the air can cause gas and discomfort for your baby. Getting that burp out helps relieves any built-up gas. 

If your baby is continuously turning away while feeding, they likely have some gas they need to get out. Having a build-up in their tummy will cause them to feel full and will not want to eat anymore until they get the gas out. 

I never enjoyed the whole burping process. I suppose it started with my second son and his horrible acid reflux. Burping him was like burping Old Faithful. I would begin with the patting and brace myself for what was to come. However, I knew it was all part of the process. 

When is the right time to burp a baby?

Timing is everything when it comes to burping your baby. If your baby is bottle-fed, it’s a good idea to burp your baby every few ounces. For breastfed babies, try to burp them about halfway through a typical feeding or when you switch breasts. 

If your baby drinks from a bottle, make sure they do not continue sucking it when it’s empty. It may be common sense but I was definitely guilty of not noticing right away when they were finished, especially in the middle of the night. When a baby is sucking from an empty bottle, they are solely getting air and it can lead to major gas. 

You’ll notice your baby will likely spit up less if you don’t wait until the end of the feeding session before you burp them. Also, you’ll want to avoid tummy time right after a feeding. My kiddos were much more likely to spit up what I just fed them if I attempted tummy time right away. 

Can a baby go to sleep without being burped?

A baby won’t experience any major issues if they go to sleep without being burped. If your sleeping baby is tossing and turning, there is a good chance they need to get a burp out. While it’s never ideal to wake a sleeping baby, you should gently pick them up and pat their back to assist in getting the burp out. 

If your baby falls asleep on you while feeding and you can’t seem to get a burp out, hold them upright for about 5 minutes to ensure nothing comes back up. In addition, a sleepy baby doesn’t eat as fast as they would during the day, making it less likely you will get a burp out. 

Finally, you will get to know their routine. My third child, my daughter, always had to get a burp out before she went to bed, otherwise, she’d wake up. So I knew I had to pat that sweet little back of hers until she burped before I laid her down to sleep. 

What happens if a baby doesn’t burp?

Don’t worry, any caught burp inside your baby isn’t going to cause any major harm. It won’t be comfortable for them, but nothing terrible will happen. The gas will eventually pass, and while it may come out with some spit-up, that’s about all you will find. 

If your baby is having any gas issues, you may want to consider switching to a new bottle. When babies suck in too much air, they are much more likely to be gassy. 

Why does burping change as babies get older?

Why is it that older babies don’t have to be burped? While their digestive system stays the same, they are sitting up and moving around more which helps your little one get a burp out on their own. It’s easier for babies to get into a more comfortable position to relieve themselves of gas. 

In addition, the stomach of your baby isn’t as sensitive as it used to be and allows them to handle more. Your baby is eating more solids and is used to an array of foods, something newborns haven’t quite experienced yet. 

Finally, if your pediatrician does determine your baby is experiencing reflux, we have a list of the best bottles for babies with reflux

Final Thoughts 

Right around the 6-month mark is when you likely will start offering solid foods and this will greatly decrease the amount of burping you will have to do. Also, when babies are sitting up on their own more, they can get burps out on their own.

While it’s possibly one of the less fun parts of being a parent, it’s also important to do until your baby can burp on their own. The discomfort caused by built-up gas can be pretty awful for a little one’s tummy, so it’s important to try your best to get a burp out with each feeding. 


  1. https://helpmegrowmn.org/HMG/HelpfulRes/Articles/BabyMilestones/index.html#, helpmegrowmn.org

Kelly O'Lone    

I am a stay-at-home mom with three little ones, ages 6, 5 and 3. They certainly keep me on my toes for the majority of the day. My favorite way to parent is through humor and making my kids laugh. In my spare time, I enjoy writing about my parenting experiences and finding DIY projects around the house.

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