In reality, baby hiccups (and even fetal hiccups!) are very common. Find out what you can do to stop hiccups in newborns.
In this article:
- Reasons Why Babies Get Hiccups
- Ways to Get Rid of Hiccups
- How to Prevent Baby Hiccups
- When to Call a Doctor
How to Manage Baby Hiccups
Reasons Why Babies Get Hiccups
A hiccup is a spasm of the diaphragm and it can happen for many reasons. Hiccups can occur in babies days or months old. In fact, babies can start hiccuping before they’re even born.
If your baby hiccups a lot, there are many factors to consider. Habits of the mother, habits of the baby, and even baby allergies can impact whether a baby gets hiccups.
Knowing the reasons for newborn hiccups and what can be done about baby hiccups can help new mothers to keep their babies happy and healthy.
New mothers tend to worry and hiccups in babies are a common source of concern. Babies have sensitive systems, and many mothers worry that hiccups may be symptoms of a problem.
Allergies can cause irritation in a baby’s esophagus, which in turn can cause the baby’s diaphragm to flutter. This results in persistent hiccups in newborns.
To get rid of baby hiccups, find out what the allergen might be. Babies can be allergic to pollen in the air as well as food in their diet. Getting rid of allergens will help relieve the diaphragm muscle and relieve frequent hiccups in newborn babies.
2. Over Eating
Eating a lot of food can cause a baby’s stomach to become enlarged and distended. When this happens, the diaphragm becomes stretched and can begin to spasm, resulting in hiccups.
If your baby eats too much, he or she can get dyspepsia. Hiccups are just one of the symptoms for this condition.
Dyspepsia Definition: This is the pain or uncomfortable feeling in the upper part of the stomach. It’s also known as indigestion.
3. Swallowing Air
Babies who eat fast or who eat from a bottle can swallow too much air. This causes the stomach to become enlarged in much the same way as if the baby had eaten too much. Hiccups are the result.
You will have to make sure to make your baby burp properly to ease the newborn hiccups. Burping your baby properly will also help prevent bloating and stomach discomfort.
4. Dust and Airborne Contaminants
Dust and other contaminants in the environment can cause a baby to cough repeatedly. This action can cause the diaphragm to become irritated, resulting in repeated hiccuping.
Dust could also be an allergen to your baby, bringing about diaphragm spasms. Make sure to take your baby away from polluted or dirty areas.
5. Gastroesophageal Reflux
This condition occurs when a backflow of food moves from the stomach into the esophagus. This backflow causes the diaphragm to flutter and causes the hiccups.
Gastroesophageal reflux can result in hiccups in newborn babies. You will have to be careful when feeding your baby to avoid hiccups.
6. Temperature Fluctuations
A severe drop in temperature can cause the diaphragm to contract. When this happens, hiccups in children can be the result. Often this problem goes away when the temperature changes again, or when the diaphragm relaxes.
Asthma can cause the esophagus to become narrowed and irritated. This makes breathing difficult for the baby, which can also lead to an irritation of the diaphragm.
Ways to Get Rid of Hiccups
Whatever the reasons for the hiccups, there are methods that mothers can use to ease their baby’s hiccups. Try any of these methods to solve the problem:
- Sugar. Place liquid sugar under your baby’s tongue. This can be done with granular sugar if your baby is old enough to eat solid foods.
- Massage. A good back massage can help relax a baby’s muscles. To do this, lay your baby down on his or her stomach on a spongy surface and rub your baby’s back in a circular motion. You can also use baby-safe essential oils to help your baby relax.
- Sit the baby upright. Sit your baby upright after feeding. Pat your baby’s back gently to release air bubbles from the stomach.
- Gripe Water. Gripe water is a liquid supplement made from a combination of natural ingredients like chamomile, peppermint, cinnamon, ginger, licorice, lemon balm, and more — depending on the formula you choose. It can help ease your baby’s stomach problems, colic, and soothe gas pains as well.
Some other methods of curing baby hiccups like pulling on the tongue or holding your baby’s breath mustn’t be attempted. These methods can hurt your baby or put your baby in danger.
Scaring your baby is also not recommended. Babies don’t appreciate being scared, and this method is unlikely to work anyway. If you’re not sure about a method for curing hiccups and like to know which method is safe, talk to your baby’s doctor.
How to Prevent Baby Hiccups
There are many things you can do to prevent your baby from getting hiccups. Babies are more likely to get the hiccups when they’re very full.
- To avoid problems, feed your baby small portions. You may need to feed your baby more frequently to ensure he or she gets enough food. Try to feel your baby’s stomach and make sure it’s not too hard.
- If your baby breastfeeds, make sure your baby covers the entire nipple with his or her mouth. If your baby makes slurping noises, this is a sign your baby is swallowing a lot of air when he or she eats.
- Burp your baby in the middle of the feeding process. Burping your baby can prevent the stomach from becoming enlarged with air.
- You can also prevent your baby from getting the hiccups by holding your baby upright for feeding. Babies who are old enough to sit up on their own must do so. If your baby is not old enough to sit upright, then hold your baby at a 45-degree angle during meals.
- Do not allow your baby to suck on a bottle while sleeping, as this can result in overeating.
- Contact a lactation specialist for advice if you breastfeed your baby. If your baby isn’t latching properly, this can cause your baby to swallow air during the meal, resulting in hiccups.
- If you feed your baby from a bottle, hold the bottle so the air bubbles are at the bottom instead of at the top. This can prevent your baby from swallowing the bubbles.
Finally, start keeping a record of when your baby gets hiccups and what’s happening when the hiccups occur. This can help you pick out patterns that enable you to determine the cause of the hiccups.
When to Call a Doctor
Hiccups in babies can be scary, but most of the time these hiccups are normal.
Hiccups in newborns can be caused by environmental factors, habits and even by dietary choices. Making changes to your baby’s eating habits and environment can prevent hiccups. If making these changes doesn’t work, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor.
While it’s rare for hiccups to be a sign of a serious problem, it’s always a good idea to consult with a medical professional in matters of baby health and happiness.
Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy infographic for reference:
Newborn hiccups are normal and mustn’t be a cause for worry. However, if your baby has chronic hiccups that don’t let up, then you must visit your pediatrician. It’s better to be safe when it comes to your little one.
What else do you want to know about newborn hiccups? Post your questions below!
- Is My Baby Overweight? Baby Fat Management Tips For Parents
- How To Calm A Crying Baby Quickly
- Baby Acne | Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 1, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.