Babies usually need some help to push excess air out of their tummies. They typically need to be burped within a few minutes of being fed, or halfway through feedings for newborns, to keep the gas from building up and becoming painful. There are several positions in which you can hold a baby to help her force out that extra air, but the right position differs between babies -- each one has her own preference.
Place a burp cloth over your shoulder. It's common for babies to spit up a bit before or after they burp.
Hold the baby upright against your shoulder, with her head slightly higher than your shoulder. Support her body with one hand and rub her lower back with the other hand, using gentle but firm pressure. This motion pushes on different areas of her stomach as it rests against your body, moving the air around and hopefully out.
Sit the baby on your knee with a burp cloth draped over the hand in front of her. Use this hand to support her chin and chest, then pat her back gently with your other hand to help her burp.
Lift your knees slightly by pressing your feet up on your toes, then lie your baby on her tummy on top of your legs. Place a burp cloth beneath her head, which should be on your knees instead of your thighs. Rub or pat her back to force the air out of her belly.
Hold the baby face-down in one arm so that her head rests in your hand and her feet are near your elbow, called a football hold. Bring her in toward your body for comfort, then rub or pat her lower back to help her burp.
Lie your baby on her back and move her little legs as if she were riding a bicycle. Hold her lower legs and bend her knees toward her belly to help push out air, then move her legs in and out in a circular motion to keep the air in her tummy moving up.
If your child has a problem with reflux, use one of the prone positions to burp her immediately after feeding. After about 10 minutes, try an upright position if she still hasn't burped.
Giving your baby plenty of tummy time can help keep air moving throughout the day, not just during mealtimes.
Crying for more than three hours for an unexplained reason is usually a sign of colic, which isn't gas related. Check with your pediatrician to see if your child requires treatment or if she should outgrow the crying spells. Colic is often blamed on gas, but it's typically unrelated.