How to Burp a Baby That Is Hard to Burp

Are you finding it difficult when your little one has gas? In this article, I’ll give insight and ideas on how to burp a baby that is hard to burp, even when you’ve tried everything else!

How to Burp a Baby That Is Hard to Burp

For many parents, the challenge of caring for a baby isn’t just the sleep deprivation or the difficulty with breastfeeding. It’s getting your newborn to burp.

My baby wouldn’t burp at night, and would instead drift off to sleep, especially after those middle-of-the-night feedings. I tried different ways to burp him and even used gas drops or gripe water without knowing whether they even worked. It pained me to think of his discomfort, especially when he’d fuss and cringe.

Thankfully, I found a few baby burping tricks that finally worked. In fact, these parents responded with their own results after applying the tips I share below:

“So I googled ‘how to burp a difficult baby’ at 4am. My 3 week old has been difficult to burp since birth and I was over it! She is my seventh child so I’m not new to this. Within minutes of applying some of your techniques, she burped! Wow! You can always learn something new and better. Thank you from a tired Mama.” -Rachael

“Holy moly. I feel like I need to take you to dinner or something haha. Every. Single. Suggestion. Has worked! And trust me. I’ve tried them all. Within 48 hours, I’ve gone from being up every hour to every 3! And I’ve never been so excited! I cannot thank you enough for having relatable problems, being open about it, and then having solutions that have helped me; not to mention my little man and how much more comfortable he is. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” -Sierra Guerin

“Amazing article! All it took me was a maximum of 5 minutes including the surfing and reading time for my baby who hadn’t burped for almost 2 days. Midway through the article, I picked him up and started patting his bottom and there came a huge one. Now he is sleeping like he hadn’t for a while. May God bless you for this wonderful article.” -Mir Manzar

Apply more pressure


When my baby wouldn’t burp and get hiccups instead, I figured that gently patting him on the back wasn’t effective enough to move those air bubbles up. 

But one simple change I made was applying more pressure to release all that trapped air, whether on the back or elsewhere. Light pats may not cut it, so giving a more purposeful pat or bounce can help. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pat with your whole palm. Use your hand to give firmer pats on the back. This is still done gently, but should be firmer than simple pats with the fingers.
  • Pat his bottom. Like the palm of the hand, patting the bottom can dislodge the air and get your little one to finally burp. 
  • Rub his back. Move your hand gently but with enough pressure from the bottom to the top of his back.
  • Bounce him up and down. Try sitting him on your lap and gently bouncing him up and down. Support him in the same way as you would if you were burping him sitting upright, but move your leg up and down.

Keep in mind not to move too vigorously, as he has just eaten and may spit up the milk right back up with too much motion. (Have a burp cloth or bib handy just in case!)

Free resource: Does he get fussy and overtired during the day? Grab your copy of One Mistake You’re Making with Your Baby’s Awake Time. You’ll learn exactly how to use his awake time to help him take better naps. Plus, you’ll also get my newsletters, which parents say they LOVE:

“Thank you, Nina. I always look forward to reading your emails (and saving them to back-read) and visiting your blog. It sounds like you are really intentionally writing and speaking to your subscribers and not just an auto email full of enumerated links. Thank you very much for always taking the time to share your thoughts with us.” -Fatima O.

One Mistake You're Making with Your Baby's Awake Time

Try different burping positions

The most common burping position is over the shoulder, but others may be more effective for your baby. Take a look at a few other ways to burp him and see which ones work:

  • Hold your baby waaaay over your shoulder. One mistake parents make with burping over the shoulder is they don’t hold their babies high enough. Not only should his head reach over your shoulder, but his belly should rest on your shoulder as well. Then, lean back enough so that he’s at a slight incline (instead of upright, or worse, angled as if he’s leaning back).
  • Carry him in a football hold. Place him tummy-side down on your forearm with his face toward your elbow and his limbs dangling on either side of your arm.
  • Lay him across your lap. In a sitting position, place him stomach side down across your lap.
  • Sit him on your lap. Sit him on your lap with your hand supporting his chest and head, leaning him slightly forward. Be careful that your hand isn’t actually touching his neck or throat.

Do burping exercises

Sometimes those air bubbles are so stubborn that none of the positions you try seem to work.

In this case, it’s not so much about burping your baby as it is helping him deal with the gassiness through simple exercises and body movements. Read the tips below where I explain a few exercises you can try:

  • Rotations: Sit your baby on your lap and support his chest and head as you would if you were burping him. With your other hand, support his back and neck. Then, slowly rotate his upper body clockwise, and finally, repeat by moving it counter-clockwise.
  • Forward and backward: Start in the position above, but instead of rotating him in a circle, move him forward and backward slowly. First, lean him forward for a few seconds, then move him back to an upright position. Then, lean him slightly back, as if you were going to lay him down. Return to sitting upright, and repeat this motion of forward and backward.
  • Elbow to knee: Lay him on his back. Then, take his right elbow in one hand, and his left knee in the other. Slowly move them toward each other above his chest, as if they were going to touch. Repeat the same with his opposite limbs. You’ll also be able to get him to fart some gas this way (instead of burp).

Change your baby’s positions

I was that mom who’d hold her newborn over her shoulder for what seemed like forever, wondering when he was finally going to burp.

Turns out, I had much better luck simply by changing positions.

It’s easy to keep doing the same thing over and over, especially when you’re sleep-deprived and feel stuck. Not only might we have better luck burping in other positions, but the actual changing of positions might just do the trick.

For instance, if you’ve been holding your baby over your shoulder, move him to a football hold. If that doesn’t work, try sitting him upright. You might find that the actual movement itself helps him burp.

Expert tip

Hold your baby upright, then walk around the house. The pounding of your steps as you move can jolt the gas out of his body.

The bottom line

Getting those burps out can be frustrating, especially when your baby already takes a long time to feed. Hopefully, you were able to learn a few tips and tricks and apply many of them to your next burping session.

This stage will pass, especially as his digestion improves and he has a better ability to expel his own gas. Soon, these challenges will be a thing of the past—no more never-ending burp sessions necessary.

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8 Comments

  1. So I googled “how to burp a difficult baby” at 4am. My 3 week old has been difficult to burp since birth and I was over it! She is my seventh child so I’m not new to this. Within minutes of applying some of your techniques, she burped! Wow! You can always learn something new and better. Thank you from a tired Mama.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      So glad to hear that, Rachael! Nothing is worse than those middle-of-the-night challenges, for sure. I’m happy to hear that you found my site and were able to get your little girl to finally burp!

  2. Mir Manzar Elahi says:

    Amazing article!
    All it took me was a maximum of 5 minutes including the surfing and reading time for my baby who hadn’t burped for almost 2 days. Midway through the article, I picked him up and started patting his bottom and there came a huge one. Now he is sleeping like he hadn’t for a while.
    May God bless you for this wonderful article.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m so glad it helped and that he was able to sleep a long stretch! <3

  3. Anupama Dwivedi says:

    Thank you. This really helped!

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m so glad, Anupama! <3

  4. Okay 1:31am abs I skeptically tried the bouncing while patting after I’d been parting for a while and it instantly worked !!!! Thank you

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Yay, I’m so glad it worked! Thanks for letting me know 🙂