When babies eat, they swallow excess air in addition to formula or breast milk. Breastfed babies tend to suck in less air than bottle-fed babies and typically don't have to burp as often. This additional air can cause your baby to spit up, be cranky or have excess gas. HealthyChildren.org recommends frequent burping, even if your baby doesn't need to, in order to change position and reduce the chance of him swallowing excess air. Burping your baby halfway through the feeding or right after can significantly reduce these problems.
Feed your baby in a semi-upright position. According to pediatrician Dr. Robert Sears, feeding your baby at an angle of at least 45 degrees reduces the amount of air that she will swallow. If bottle feeding, use a nipple with a hole that is appropriate for your baby's sucking needs. A hole that is too small will cause frustration and result in your baby sucking air, while a hole that is too large will allow too much liquid through.
Place a burp rag or receiving blanket over your shoulder in case your baby has a wet burp and spits up excess milk.
Put your baby with her chin over your shoulder and gently pat and rub her back until she burps.
Support your baby's head and lay him on his stomach on your lap. Rub or pat his back. The added pressure on his belly from your legs can force stubborn air bubbles out.
Sit your baby upright on your lap. Support her head with one hand and pat her back with the other. It can also help to apply a small amount of pressure to her stomach at the same time to help her get the excess air out.