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Wind in babies

wind; burp; burping; settling; uncomfortable;

Babies may swallow air during a feed – 'wind'. In some cultures babies are thought to be uncomfortable because of this, while in other cultures wind is not thought to be a problem for babies. If your baby is unsettled after feeds, burping may help your baby feel more comfortable. There are ways that some people think help babies burp described below.

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What is wind?

During feeding babies can swallow small amounts of air. Often this comes up by burping without any help from the person feeding them, shortly after feeding. However, some babies seem uncomfortable after feeding, especially if they are put down to sleep straight after a feed, without burping.

What are some signs that show my baby may have wind?

Signs that your baby may be uncomfortable due to wind include squirming, grizzling or crying after feeding. He may also stop sucking during his feed and may squirm and screw up his face.

When does my baby need burping?

Not all babies need help to burp. Some babies hardly ever have wind, while others will have quite a lot but bring it up without help. For some it passes down the gut and comes out the other end without upsetting them.

If your baby is showing signs of discomfort during or after a feed, you could try burping your baby to see if this helps her feel better, but she might not need this help after each feed. As babies become older they are less bothered by wind and generally do not need to be burped.

How do I burp my baby?

Here are three ways that parents have found can help. Try each one to see how they work for you.    

  1. Sit your baby on your lap, support your baby under the chin and gently rub or pat her back.
  1. Place your baby over your shoulder, holding her around her bottom to support her. With your other hand, rub or gently pat your baby’s back. (Babies often like being held like this when they are unsettled, even when they don't have wind.)
  1. When you are seated, lie your baby down so that her tummy is resting on your legs. Hold her in place with one hand supporting her head, while gently rubbing or patting with your other hand.

It is a good idea to have a cloth nappy or towel to catch any milk which might come up with burping.

Only try these for a few minutes. If he does not burp up wind in a few minutes, holding him there longer is unlikely to help.

What can I do to reduce wind?

Breastfed babies may have less wind because they can generally control the flow of milk better and have smaller, more frequent feeds. Some breastfed babies do still seem to have problems with wind.

Bottle fed babies may swallow a lot of air if the flow from the teat is too fast, or sometimes if the flow is too slow and they have to work hard to get some milk. Also if the bottle is held on a angle which means that milk does not fully fill the teat your baby might swallow air as well as milk.

  • Check how quickly the formula comes out. If your baby is gulping or spluttering during the feed, the flow is probably too fast.
    • If you loosen the cap, the milk will come out faster.
    • If you tighten the cap, the milk will come out more slowly.
  • Hold the bottle at an angle so there is milk in the teat, not air.

There are products available in pharmacies that claim to relieve wind. They are generally referred to as ‘wind drops’ which aim to ‘bunch up’ small bubbles of air into larger ones, to help babies burp more easily. Some parents find them useful while others find they make little difference. Ask your pharmacist for advice.

If your baby continues to be unsettled, something else may be bothering her. Check with your doctor or child health nurse.

There is also information in the topic Bottle feeding - feeding your baby with formula

Where to get help in South Australia

  • Parent Helpline 7.15am – 9.15pm, 7 days a week 1300 364 100
  • Child and Family Health Centres 1300 733 606
    Call 9am to 4.30pm to make an appointment

More information

Raising Children Network  
http://raisingchildren.net.au/

The Baby Center
http://www.babycenter.com.au/baby/health/wind/

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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