Reasons To Call A Doctor
Hiccups in newborns are usually considered normal until the child reaches the age of one year. However, if your baby hiccups a lot and seems agitated or upset while hiccuping, you should consult a pediatrician as this may indicate other medical conditions.
GER may result in frequent and uncomfortable baby hiccups. Apart from hiccups, the following symptoms indicate that GER may be an issue:
- Crying more than usual, especially when you feed the baby
- Problems gaining weight
- Arching the spine excessively, especially after or during feedings
- Spitting up more than usual
If you suspect that your baby may be suffering from GER, talk to a doctor, as they can easily treat this condition. You should also talk to a pediatrician if the hiccups are disturbing the sleep of your baby, or if hiccups continue occurring even after your child turns one year old.
Other Causes Of Baby Hiccups
1. Temperature Changes
Sometimes sudden changes in stomach temperature can trigger hiccups. It may occur if youre feeding your baby cold milk followed by something warm, or vice versa. Its generally not a cause for concern.
2. Gastroesophageal Reflux
If you notice that hiccups are often accompanied by distress, it could be an underlying condition like gastroesophageal reflux, or GER.
GER occurs when food thats been partially digested moves back up the food pipe, together with stomach acids. Due to the acidity, the upward moving food irritates the diaphragm, triggering spasms and resulting in hiccups.
GER is rarely a severe issue for babies, and it typically resolves itself after 12 months of age. As long as your baby is growing, content, and happy, theres no need for worries . If youre concerned, consult your pediatrician.
Sometimes, though, hiccups can occur during episodes of painful reflux, called gastroesophageal reflux disease .
Other alarming symptoms that require a doctors visit are listed below. Call your doctor if your baby:
3. Removement of Excess Air
In a 2012 study, it was suggested that hiccups could occur as a way to remove excess air from the stomach. According to that study, when your baby feeds, the air they swallow enters the stomach, triggering spasms. The diaphragm then forcefully moves downward, releasing the air, much like a burp.
What Causes Hiccups In Babies
Why do babies seem to hiccup more than the rest of us?
Hiccups are a purely reflexive action caused by the sudden and involuntary contraction of the diaphragm a thin layer of muscle separating the chest from the abdomen.
The force of these spasms causes the vocal cords to snap shut, producing the familiar hic! sound that usually accompanies these contractions.
Newborns are especially prone to experiencing hiccups and this is usually nothing to worry about.
Its thought that younger babies generally hiccup the most because their digestive systems are still in the process of developing and learning to cope with the extra demands of newborn life , most of which draw extra air into their tiny tummies.
Hiccups in babies are a frequent occurrence and its estimated that newborns spend as much as 2.5% of their time doing it! Baby hiccups can be caused by a variety of reasons, but are usually due to one of the following :
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How Can I Stop My Babys Hiccups
If you feel your babys hiccups have gone on for too prolonged a period of time , or seem to occur more frequently than seems normal, you can always ask your doctor about it, she says. If your baby hiccups, spits up and coughs frequently during feeding, it could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease , which is essentially baby heartburn. Most babies outgrow GER as the lower esophageal sphincter gets stronger so it can stay closed and doesnt let the acid up into the food pipe. But some babies may require medical attention in severe cases.
To prevent hiccups, Heard recommends burping your baby more frequently during feedings and, if youre bottle feeding, to slow things down by taking little breaks .
If its too late and the hiccups have already hitand are clearly bugging your babyHeard recommends good old distraction as the best solution. Make them laugh, she says. Do something silly so they forget whats going on with their hiccups. Its the equivalent of trying to drink out of the wrong side of a glass for grown-upsas soon we stop worrying about hiccups, they tend to stop as suddenly as they started.
Taking A Break To Burp The Baby
When the stomach fills with air, it may push on the diaphragm, causing spasms. Taking a break from feeding to burp the baby may reduce the amount of air in their stomach. This can prevent hiccups.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is a good idea to burp bottle-fed babies every time they consume 2 to 3 ounces.
If a baby is breast-fed, it is a good idea to burp the baby while switching between breasts.
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Sit Your Baby Upright After Feeds
Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, holding your baby upright after feeding can help them digest their milk and decrease hiccupping, burping, and other digestive discomfort. You can also consider holding your baby in an upright position during feeding, as this can aid in the milk flowing downward.
How To Get Rid Of Your Babys Hiccups
If your baby gets hiccups while youâre feeding him, stop and try to burp him or change his position. In general, try to help him relax.
Hiccups usually go away on their own, but if they havenât gone away after about 5 or 10 minutes, try to start feeding him again. This will typically help relieve them.
When your little one has hiccups, it probably wonât bother him too much. Still, you can help keep him relaxed and comfortable as possible by having some easy playtime, gently rocking him, and making sure his diaper is clean.
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Are Hiccups In Babies Serious
Most bouts of hiccupping seem to disturb parents more than they do babies. Again, hiccupping is very normal and most babies do it. Its something they generally outgrow within a few months.
Nevertheless, at times they can be bothersome to your baby, and in rare cases may signify a more complex medical issue.
Dont Nurse A Fussy Baby
If your baby is getting cranky or fussy during a feeding, theres a chance shell swallow air, which can cause hiccups. Instead of continuing to breast feed or bottle-feed a cranky baby, stop the feeding for a little while and see if you can calm your baby down. The fussing and the nursing can lead to hiccups and spitting up, so taking a sort break may help baby relax and swallow less air.
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Are Baby Hiccups Dangerous
When should you worry about baby hiccups?
Hiccups in babies are generally harmless and some babies even find them amusing.
While its rare, sometimes severe, prolonged and frequently recurring bouts of hiccups may be linked to gastroesophageal reflux disease .
Varying degrees of reflux are seen in up to 25% of all babies and this condition will usually pass somewhere between the ages of 6-9 months, with most babies experiencing no reflux related symptoms by the time they reach 18 months.
While reflux in babies is common and not usually a cause for concern, severe cases will need to be addressed by your paediatrician.
If your baby experiences frequent and prolonged spells of hiccups , combined with the following symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease include:
- Irritability during or after feeds
- Refusing feeds
- Stalls in weight gain and weight loss
- Recurrent episodes of violent spit up, emptying stomach contents
- Green or yellow colored spit up
- Spit up that has blood in it or resembles coffee grounds
- Wheezing and coughing
- Blood in stools
- Starts to spit up after the age of 6 months
Some doctors argue that the LACK of hiccups may actually be a cause for concern. See the below video to see what we mean.
Just Let The Hiccups Run Their Course
More often than not, your babys hiccups alarm you more than they bother them! Most cases will run their course and stop of their own accord, with no harmful side effects. If they dont seem to be causing discomfort, theres no need to intervene.
If your babys bouts of hiccups are frequent, prolonged and seem to be causing discomfort, it may be a sign of GER/GERD.
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Can You Put Baby Down With Hiccups
In most cases, its totally fine to put baby on their back when they have hiccups those little diaphragm spasms dont interfere with breathing so theres no physical or medical reason not to. Of course, as you know, hiccups can be a pesky nuisance, and baby may find having a case annoying, disruptive or mildly uncomfortable, in which case, you may want to hold them upright until the hiccuping subsidies.
That said, babies who are hiccuping as a result of reflux may be prone to vomiting if your little one seems to be having a painful GER episode, try keeping them upright. Its always best to consult with your doctor if you have concerns.
Overfeeding Can Make Baby Gets Hiccups After Feeding
If your baby is overfed and swallows a lot of air during feeding, it likely causes hiccups. It can occur more often after bottle feeding.
Because improper bottle feeding causes the baby to swallow a significant amount of gas into the stomach. When it exceeds the tolerance of the stomach, it creates an irritation that causes the diaphragm to contract and create hiccups.
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What Not To Do
If youre searching the internet on this topic, you may find a variety of recommendations for home remedies.
Its important to note that doctors advise that you avoid many of the stereotypical cures for hiccups when your baby gets them. For instance, dont startle your baby or pull their tongue.
These methods dont work for infants, and they may do more harm than good. If baby seems content, theres no reason to intervene.
How To Stop Baby Hiccups After Feeding
To stop baby hiccups after feeding, you can try the following:
- Take a break from feeding and burp your child. This helps remove the excess gas in their stomach that may be irritating the diaphragm and causing hiccups. It also puts the baby in an upright position, which can be beneficial. According to the recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should burp your infant after every two to three ounces. You should burp your breastfed baby in between switching breasts.
- If your baby hiccups a lot during feeding , you may slow the feeding so that your baby can take their time and feel relaxed.
- You may give your baby some gripe water to relieve the hiccups. Gripe water is a blend of water and herbs that is traditionally used to relieve colic and stomach discomfort. The herbs may include fennel, chamomile, cinnamon, and ginger. Though no scientific proof exists to support the idea that gripe water helps relieve baby hiccups, it carries low risk and many parents say it helps. Before introducing a new product to your baby, discuss it with your doctor. Some herbs may cause an allergy in infants.
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How To Stop Baby Hiccups In Breastfed Babies
When offering baby your breast, be sure to mind these tips to help curb hiccups:
Burp baby as you switch from one breast to the other.
If swallowing air seems to be the main issue, its a good idea to reevaluate the latch. Make sure babys lips are sealed around the areola of your breast, not just the nipple.
Causes Of Hiccupping In Babies
Experts do not agree definitively on what causes hiccups, though it appears that there may be more than one cause. Hiccups are a reflex, similar to coughing or sneezing, something your body does without you thinking. Babies are born with many reflexes, including the sucking reflex, rooting reflex, and startle reflex.
Most cases of hiccups in adults are caused by drinking something too quickly, indigestion, eating too much, swallowing air while eating, drinking carbonated beverages, emotional stress, or even air pressure changes. Hiccupping in babies has similar causes, although babies obviously dont consume the same foods and drinks as adults!
Below are some of the most common causes of hiccupping in babies.
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Latching Correctly During Nursing
If youre breastfeeding your baby, make sure she is latching on correctly. If not, she may be swallowing extra air during her feedings. Most breastfed babies dont make a lot of gurgling and gulping sounds. If your baby is doing this or seems to get fussy, try to latch her on again, so you have a tight seal on your nipple. And if youre a new mommy, dont worry! Breastfeeding is not always easy during the first few weeks, but youll get the hang of it. And so will your baby!
How To Help Prevent Hiccups In Your Baby
If your baby tends to get hiccups at feeding times, make sure she’s calm and not overly hungry when you feed her. This typically decreases the chances of her getting hiccups during feeds.
Your baby’s healthcare provider can also provide guidance and reassurance about what to do to help prevent hiccups some of the time. If you have a well-baby checkup coming up soon, you could even ask about it then.
When your little one gets hiccups, remember that itâs usually nothing to worry about. Try to slow down her feeding or just make sure sheâs feeling calm. Maybe you can stop for a little baby tummy time with her.
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Feed Baby Smaller Amounts
When a hungry baby takes in too much milk too fast, that can cause the stomach to distend, which can cause hiccups. Instead of one big feeding, feed baby half as much, but twice as often. That way your baby can digest her milk more slowly, avoid a too-full tummy and alleviate gas pressure that can trigger hiccups.
Your Baby Probably Hiccupped Inside The Womb
Babies hiccup very often in fact, your baby hiccupped even when they were in the womb!
Starting about halfway through pregnancy, your baby develops their hiccup reflex. This happens even before their swallowing or respiratory reflexes develop. You may have even felt your baby hiccup in the womb. It feels like tiny little spasms or jolts. Hiccups can even be seen on ultrasound exams.
After your baby is born, hiccups are very frequent in the first year of life. Your newborn may spend up to 2.5% of their day hiccupping! So if you have a constant hiccupper, you are not alone.
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Natural Remedies For Baby Hiccups
For baby hiccups, never use the common cures you may try for a case of adult hiccups. These include:
- Holding your breath
- Inhaling smelling salts
- Any other folk remedy that a friend of a friend swears by
These activities can be extremely dangerous for your newborn, and theres absolutely no scientific proof that they even work.
So what can you do? Here are the safest and best natural remedies for baby hiccups.
How To Prevent Hiccups
Preventing baby hiccups isnt always easy, particularly when they occur out of the blue. Still, here are some ways you can try:
- Keep calm when feeding: When youre getting ready to nurse your baby, ensure that theyre relatively calm. The best way to do this is to feed them before theyre starving and crying anxiously for food.
- Place in an upright position: After youve finished feeding your little one, place them in an upright position, similar to when youre burping them. Keep them like this for about 20 to 30 minutes after each meal.
- Wait with tummy time: Avoid doing tummy time right after a feeding. Wait at least 30 minutes to let the food settle down.
- Hold the play: Wait at least 30 minutes before you begin playing with your little one after feeding.
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What To Do When A Newborn Has Hiccups
Hiccups in a newborn usually dont cause any harm. Unlike for adults, hiccups are less uncomfortable for babies and tend not to provoke any distress. So, what can you do for baby hiccups? Many times, baby hiccups get better by themselves. If the hiccups arent disturbing your child, simply leave them to get better on their own. When the hiccups in your baby arent due to feeding, you can give him or her a pacifier to suck, which helps relax the diaphragm and stop the hiccups.
Feeding Them Gripe Water
Gripe water is a mixture of herbs and water. It is traditionally used to treat colic and other stomach problems.
The herbs usually contained in gripe water include:
If stomach issues are responsible for hiccups, some people believe that gripe water may help. However, no scientific evidence currently supports this treatment.
Because the risks are low, a person may decide to give gripe water a try. Several brands are available for purchase online.
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How To Stop Fetal Hiccups
While fetal hiccups can be distracting, they are not painful, and episodes should not last longer than 15 minutes.
However, some fetal movements can cause discomfort and make it difficult for pregnant people to relax or even fall asleep.
Some tips for reducing the discomfort of fetal movements include:
- lying on the left side of the body
- using pillows to support the bump and ease pressure from the spine
- eating a varied and nutritious diet
- continuing to exercise moderately, as long as it is safe to do so
- staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- sticking to a regular bedtime and napping in the day, as necessary