As a new mom, all your waking moments are as sweet as they are ridden with anxiety. While each little coo warms your heart, each little hiccup freezes it over. But as far as baby hiccups go, here’s something to put your anxious mind at rest. Hiccups are perfectly normal and very common for babies. Babies hiccup more than adults do. In fact, they hiccup even when they are in your womb. Remember the gas bubbles, flutters, or tiny little rhythmic spasms in your belly during pregnancy? Well, that was your baby hiccuping in your womb.
So if your baby hiccups after you feed them or without any apparent reason, don’t panic.
In most cases, the hiccups go away on their own, but if they are bothering your baby, let us tell you how to get rid of baby hiccups.
8 Ways To Stop Baby Hiccups
1. Feed Your Baby
You may nurse your baby, feeding them small amounts of breast milk and burping them when they switch breasts. Also check whether they are latched on correctly. Otherwise, they might swallow more air and worsen the hiccups. If they are drinking from a bottle, burp them every 2–3 oz.3 A study mentions that feeding the baby warm water in a bottle with a large nipple helps.4
2. Burp Your Baby
A hiccup can occur when your child swallows a large volume of air, mostly when suckling. Hold your baby upright and against your shoulder. Gently pat the back to help release trapped air. Eventually, a final burp should stop the hiccups. Be sure to keep a burp cloth on your shoulder.
3. Give A Pacifier
A pacifier will ease your baby’s diaphragm, the muscle at the base of the lungs above the abdomen. This will control their breathing. You can even try and see if the old wives’ tale of sprinkling some sugar on the pacifier helps your precious one.
4. Rub The Back
Simply massaging your baby’s back can also relax the diaphragm. You can sit them upright over your shoulder as you walk around. Another way is to place their belly down across your lap, changing table, or bed. Give the baby a toy to play with as you go ahead with the massage.
5. Feed Gripe Water
Another natural approach is gripe water. This is thought to relieve hiccups and gas in babies. You can buy it from the store or make it yourself.
6. Distract Your Baby But Don’t Startle Them
Hiccups are also caused when the vagus nerve connecting the brain and the abdomen is stimulated. If your little one is bothered by the hiccups, distract them so that the vagus nerve is stimulated by a different sensation.5 Use toys or have a little playtime. Even a pacifier can be a distraction. But don’t ever startle them.
7. Hold Your Baby Upright
Place your baby on the floor and hold them upright. This position can ease reflux, a common cause of hiccups. Make sure to use both your hands to support them.
8. Pause Feeding And Burp The Baby
If you’re in the middle of feeding your baby, take a break. It can help them regain control of their breathing. Burping your baby halfway through feeding can also prevent hiccups. Burp them even when they switch breasts.
Eventually, hiccups should stop on their own.
Baby Hiccups Are Caused By A Full Stomach Or A Quick Feeding
Hiccups are nothing but muscle spasms in your baby’s diaphragm. A full stomach, eating too quickly and swallowing large volumes of air, or a sudden change in temperature can trigger hiccups, but there can be many other factors that trigger hiccups in babies. Scientists, however, think hiccups are a good thing.
- One theory is that hiccups are a species survival mechanism. While infants suckle milk, they swallow large volumes of air. To remove the excess air, they “burp” and hiccup. Hiccuping suckling infants can consume more milk and, hence, have better health.6
- Another theory suggests that hiccups are an inbuilt strengthening exercise for respiratory muscles in the first month after birth.7
See A Doctor Only If The Hiccups Are Uncontrollable
You have no reason to worry about your baby’s hiccups unless their regular feeds and sleep are taking a hit. It is important to know that hiccups are more frequent in babies suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), often accompanied by spitting and coughing.
If your baby has very frequent bouts of uncontrollable hiccups, especially after they turn 1, it’s best you discuss it with a pediatrician. You should also be alert and check that your little one isn’t in pain.
Prevent Hiccups In Babies By Feeding Them Right
To minimize your baby’s hiccuping, here’s what you can do:
- Feed your baby when they are calm.
- Feed them before they get excessively hungry.
- Feed frequently but in small quantities and burp them between feeding.
- Make sure they are latched on correctly and not swallowing air.
- Minimize distractions while feeding so that they feel relaxed.
|↑1||Kahrilas, Peter J., and Guoxiang Shi. “Why do we hiccup?.” Gut 41, no. 5 (1997): 712-713.|
|↑2||Brouillette, Robert T., Bradley T. Thach, Yousef K. Abu-Osba, and Suzanne L. Wilson. “Hiccups in infants: characteristics and effects on ventilation.” The Journal of pediatrics 96, no. 2 (1980): 219-225.|
|↑3||Burping, Hiccups, and Spitting Up. American Academy of Pediatrics.|
|↑4||PENDLETON, WALTER R. “Hiccups among infants.” American Journal of Diseases of Children 34, no. 2 (1927): 207-210.|
|↑5||True or False: Some Hiccup Remedies Actually Work. Henry Ford Allegiance Health.|
|↑6||Howes, Daniel. “Hiccups: A new explanation for the mysterious reflex.” BioEssays 34, no. 6 (2012): 451-453.|
|↑7||Sampath, V., Mahesh R. Gowda, H. R. Vinay, and S. Preethi. “Persistent hiccups (singultus) as the presenting symptom of lateral medullary syndrome.” Indian journal of psychological medicine 36, no. 3 (2014): 341.|