Baby Hiccups

Hiccups! Don’t you hate unexpected and unstoppable hiccups? We all experience hiccups and utilize different remedies and strategies to resolve the annoying episodes; it can be even more bothersome when hiccups trouble your babies. Your baby may experience hiccups as early as 6 months after conception (yes, while the baby is still in the mother’s womb).

The hiccups don’t usually bring any trouble or extreme discomfort for the baby, so there’s nothing to fret about. Most episodes of hiccups last for a minute or less, whereas some last up to an hour. In either case, there is nothing to worry about. As a matter of fact, a number of infants find hiccups pretty amusing. Hiccups are the body’s normal reflexes and parents shouldn’t get alarmed at all. In most cases, hiccups are likely to be experienced when the mother is nursing, or when the baby feels excited.

What Causes Baby Hiccups?

Listed below are some causes why your baby may develop hiccups:

1.    Immature Diaphragm

Your baby experiences hiccups when her immature diaphragm contracts suddenly and irregularly. As your baby grows, the diaphragm along with the muscles between the ribs and abdomen becomes more synchronized and stronger, which gradually decreases the frequency and severity of hiccups episodes. 

2.    Overfeeding

It is one of the common reasons why your child experiences hiccups. Rapid distension of stomach or fullness may trigger the muscle of diaphragm to undergo spasm, resulting in hiccups.

3.    Air swallowing

Most babies tend to ingest a lot of air while feeding, which can also lead to hiccups due to the same reasons discussed above. The occurrence of hiccups is also dependent on the position in which the baby is being fed and other factors like whether you allow the baby to burp frequently in between the feeds to reduce the amount of air swallowed.

4.    Drop in Temperature

Hiccups may also occur if the body temperature drops suddenly. As newborn babies are less capable of maintaining their body temperature, any significant change in the environment may significantly affect their core body temperature. Therefore, it is advised to keep the babies warm and cozy.

5.    Acid Reflux

GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease), also known as acid reflux disease, may be another contributor to baby hiccups. Acid reflux is quite common in babies. If it persists, you should seek medical advice for optimal management.

6.    Mother’s Diet

Hiccups are often influenced by the diet of mothers. Whatever the mother drinks or eats, the nutrients consumed are passed to the baby via breast milk. The baby is more likely to get hiccup if the mother has consumed eggs, peanuts, caffeine, wheat, citrus fruits, chocolates, and soy products before feeding the baby. For best results, avoid foods that may cause baby hiccups at least an hour prior to feeding.

How to Treat Baby Hiccups

The ethnic culture and traditional folk remedies by old wives do provide numerous options that have been in practice for centuries, such as creating an unexpected sudden noise by bursting an inflated paper bag or dropping the keys to distract babies’ attention. However, not all the folk remedies are ideal in case of babies due to safety reasons. In babies, hiccups can be managed by the following easy remedies:

  • Nurse Your Infant: Feed the baby exclusively breast milk. Nursing can ease up the hiccups quickly by relaxing the diaphragm of the baby.
  • Burp Your Baby: While feeding, making your baby burp can help the trapped air escape from the baby’s stomach and may assist in relieving other gastrointestinal issues, such as feeding problems, diarrhea, bloating and gaseous distention.
  • Hold Your Baby Upright: You must hold your baby in upright position after he is done feeding. Although it is highly recommended to switch position while breastfeeding, it has been observed that holding the baby in upright position after the feed allows the gas to rise and pass out in a natural way.
  • Offer a Pacifier: Provide your baby with something that he could suck on. Hiccups in newborns can be relieved when they are allowed to suck on a pacifier.

To learn more about treating baby hiccups, watch the video for assistance:

How to Prevent Baby Hiccups

Honestly, there isn’t much to do to prevent hiccups in newborn babies. Nonetheless, adopting some feeding strategies for babies is preventative and may decrease the chances of hiccups.

1.    Feed More Frequently

The problem can be solved by feeding the milk in smaller portions and at shorter intervals. This will prevent babiesfrom feeling famished, thereby ensuring calmness and satisfaction rather than irritation or agitation, which is an important contributory factor in excessive air swallowing.

2.    Feed When the Baby Is Calm

If the baby is often found hiccupping, try feeding him when he is calm. This will suppress the chances of hiccupping during the nursing period and afterwards. Make sure the nursing is as quiet, calm and leisurely as possible with minimized distractions to divert the attention of the baby from feeding.

3.    Make Sure the Baby Is Latched On Properly

If your baby is experiencing frequent episodes of hiccups, the latch-on technique should be reviewed (ideally by a breastfeeding specialist). Make sure that the lips of baby are widely open, forming a firm seal around the areola (and not just the nipple). Listen keenly to the baby, plenty of gulping and swallowing of air will be heard if he is sucking too quickly and ingesting the air. If you are feeding through the bottle, try tilting the vessel at an angle of 45 degree so that the air elevates to the bottle’s bottom. You might consider using bottles that have collapsible bag inserts. These bottles are designed especially to minimize the swallowing of air.