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What Happens If You Don't Burp Your Baby? It Depends

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It's a conundrum parents everywhere are all too familiar with — your baby has fallen blissfully asleep during a feeding, looking like an angel sleeping in heaven, and you finally have the hope of getting a little shut-eye yourself. But she dozed off before burping and if you go for it now, she might wake up. If you don't, she might wake up out of discomfort anyway. It's like a game of Russian Roulette, and what's a mom to do? What happens if you don't burp your baby? Is there really anything wrong with skipping it?

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Leigh Anne O'Connor says maybe not. In an exclusive interview, O'Connor tells Romper she knows how frustrating it can be to get a baby to sleep only to have to wake them to burp. This interruption, she maintains, is not always necessary and depends on the baby.

In her busy New York City practice, O'Connor sees some babies that truly need to be burped, but many others who do fine without it. For some, it is an individual digestive system issue, while for others, the style of feeding comes into play. Bottle-fed babies, she has noticed, tend to gulp in more air during a feeding while breastfed babies typically (though not always) take in less.

So how do you know what your unique baby needs? O'Connor says there's only one way to find out: experiment. Try feeding him without burping and observe whether he gets fussier than after the feedings you do burp him. If you've got fuzzy mom brain, you might want to keep a brief journal of the type of feeding (breast, formula bottle, or pumped breast milk bottle) and the level of apparent discomfort you observe in the hour or so afterward. If gas is a problem, it won't take you long to figure it out.

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Every baby is different, and no one knows your unique little person as well as you do. If you really don't think your baby needs burping, don't be afraid of bucking the cultural norms to keep the peace. After all, no one else's opinion is as valuable as your Zs.