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Winding and burping your baby

Wind is air that your baby has swallowed when they were feeding, crying or yawning.

Wind is common from the newborn stage to about 3 months, as a baby's digestive system matures.

Common signs of trapped wind include squirming or crying during a feed, or looking uncomfortable and in pain if laid down after feeds.

Some babies need a little more help than others to release wind. To wind your baby, hold them in an upright position against your shoulder. Massage their back.

How to wind your baby

When your baby gets wind

Every baby is different and over time you will grow to know your baby's cues.

Sometimes the wind builds up from the day's feeds. This is especially true if an unsettled feeding period happens in the late afternoon or evening period.

The period of being unsettled is sometimes called 'the witching hour'. Most babies will experience this period of being unsettled. Some suffer worse than others. It usually begins around 2 to 4 weeks old and may last for 6 weeks.

Tips for winding

General tips

  1. skin-to-skin contact may relax your baby and wind may break more easily
  2. hold your baby up against your shoulder after a feed and massage their back
  3. after feeding, keep your baby in an upright position
  4. walk with your baby in your arms or in a baby sling - the upright position gently helps to relax them
  5. put a gentle little bump or bounce in your walk
  6. try the 'magic baby hold' - hold your baby's back against your tummy. Their tummy should rest on your crossed arms. Their legs and arms should gently fall either side of your arms
  7. respond as quickly as possible to your baby crying. Provide comfort by feeding, holding, rocking, singing or other method. Leaving a baby to cry will cause more air to be swallowed and will worsen wind

Breastfeeding tips

  • make sure your baby is positioned and attached well to the breast. Ask your public health nurse or lactation consultant to observe a breastfeed if you need help
  • hand expressing a small amount of milk before feeding can help to slow down the flow of milk

Related topic

Breastfeeding

Formula feeding tips

  • wind your baby often during and after each feed, this may help ease the build-up of wind
  • reduce flow of feed from bottle or try different teat size
  • tilt the bottle so the teat and bottle neck are constantly full of milk
  • don't let your baby suck on the bottle when the feed is finished or when only milk bubbles are left
  • let your baby's bottle stand until all the air bubbles produced by shaking have settled
  • hold your baby a little more upright, rather than lying them flat while you are feeding them their bottle
  • if you are considering changing your baby's infant formula milk, discuss it with your public health nurse first

Avoid chopping and changing between brands or types of formula. Frequently changing can cause your baby to become more unsettled.

Related topic

How to give a baby a bottle

page last reviewed: 25/03/2018
next review due: 25/03/2021