Hiccups tend to occur more frequently in children under the age of 12 months.
In fact, babies get hiccups while in the womb, especially in the 6th month of pregnancy when their lungs are developing.
For adults, getting rid of hiccups is as easy as ABC—just gulp some water and try to relax, but it’s not the same for infants.
Hiccups in newborn babies are a little more challenging, especially as they are also frustrating for the baby!
This makes it a big concern for parents; If you are always worried and frustrated when your baby begins to hiccup and are a loss for what to do, this is for you.
In this blog post, we reveal the exact causes of hiccups and how to get rid of them. We also answer your number one (1) question: Are baby hiccups dangerous?
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5 Things You Can Do to Get Rid of Baby Hiccups
These 5 simple ways to get rid of your baby’s hiccups are very useful and have helped thousands of mothers with a newborn with hiccups, and manage their anxiety when dealing with a hiccup situation.
If your baby starts to hiccup between meals, take a break from feeding, put them in an upright position, and burp them. Overfeeding or feeding your baby too quickly can cause them to gulp in a lot of air along with the formula or breastmilk. Burping helps to disperse excess gas in the stomach that might be the cause of the hiccups.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that you burp your baby as often as you take breaks during feeding and immediately after feeding. While burping your baby, be careful not to apply much pressure or slap his back as it might cause him to vomit, and you don’t want that, right?
Use a Soother
When your baby gets a bout of hiccups, let them suck on a soother (also known as a binky or pacifier). This will help the diaphragm relax and ultimately stop the hiccups. Ultimately, bringing an end to your baby’s hiccups is easier if you can somehow get them to relax their diaphragm!
Babies love soothers—they are completely safe to use whether they are made from rubber, plastic, or silicone.
If you are not keen on using a pacifier because of the struggle to get them to quit, just use it until the hiccups have gone and then remove it. By the way, the struggle is real! It took a bizarre trade to stop my toddler son from using his pacifier!
Speaking of relaxing, you could try using a baby ceiling projector to distract and relax your baby!
Feed Them Gripe Water
Gripe water is simply herb-infused water; herbs with soothing and anti-inflammatory properties like chamomile, fennel, ginger, cinnamon, and licorice are used to make gripe water.
This water is traditionally used to heal stomach upsets and intestinal problems like colic, and although there are no scientific studies to prove its efficacy, holistic practitioners swear by it.
You should consider feeding it to your child as it is completely safe and worth the trial. But, make sure you read the product labels and avoid any gripe water containing peppermint because it can worsen a baby’s reflux symptoms. Check with a medical professional if you are unsure, or if you simply want to know if you should be using it.
Check Your Baby’s Bottle
A feeding bottle which traps in a lot of air can potentially cause hiccups. If the hole of the feeding bottle is the wrong size, your baby might be feeding too quickly or slowly and swallowing so much air in the process. Using the wrong bottle can even cause your baby to develop gastroesophageal reflux, otherwise known as acid reflux.
Check your baby’s bottle, observe the nipple opening, and determine if the size might be a problem for your baby. If it is, consider changing it to a more convenient bottle or an anti-colic bottle.
Like other reflexes, hiccups come and go, without any intervention from anyone. As long as they don’t bother your baby or affect his growth and happiness, let it pass as quickly as it comes.
If not, you would be frustrated and unnecessarily worried every single time. Babies get hiccups even in their sleep and still manage to sleep undisturbed, this is to say that while hiccups can wake adults up, it doesn’t hurt or upset babies.
What Cause Baby Hiccups?
Hiccups are a reflex action caused by forceful contractions of the diaphragm—these contractions force air out of the vocal cords, causing them to open and close rapidly. It is this abrupt closing of the vocal cords that creates the hiccup sound.
Dr. Daniel Howes, a professor in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care, suggested that hiccups might serve as a way to remove excess air from the stomach.
Also, underlying conditions such as Gastroesophageal reflux (GER, also known as acid reflux), which happens when digesting food or stomach acids go back into the food pipe irritating the esophagus, can trigger hiccups. In any event of your baby crying profusely during feeding, spitting, or vomiting while hiccupping, you should seek medical attention.
Too much excitement or anxiety can also cause hiccups.
Are Hiccups Dangerous?
So many parents, especially first-time mothers, usually ask this question out of concern. Hiccups are not dangerous to your baby, neither are they always a sign of an underlying health condition. They are completely normal, so you have nothing to worry about.
Research has shown that newborns spend an average of 2.5% of their time hiccupping. Be rest assured that it will occur less frequently as they grow older.
Ultimately, there is no cause for concern as Healthline states ‘there is limited evidence that anyone has died as a direct result of hiccups’.
You just need to ride out your baby’s hiccups and keep them as relaxed and as comfortable as possible. However, if there is ever a time where you feel unsure about the health of your baby, you must speak to a medical professional or contact your emergency services!
Can You Stop Hiccups?
Technically, you can’t prevent hiccups. Just like coughing, sneezing, and blinking, they happen involuntarily. However, you can get rid of them whenever they start or prevent them from happening constantly.
Here are some things you can do to help prevent hiccups:
- Avoid waiting until your baby starts his hunger cries before feeding them. Calming them would be much harder, and if you feed them just to stop them from crying, they might develop hiccups right after.
- Do not overfeed, or feed them too quickly or slowly.
- If you are breastfeeding your baby, consider burping them before alternating between breasts.
- Place them in an upright position for 20 minutes after feeding time.
- Avoid shaking them, tickling, or any high-energy play immediately after feeding.
Like I said above, the goal shouldn’t be to prevent hiccups 100% of the time, it should be to help to reduce the number of times your baby’s hiccups occur.
Now you know the causes of hiccups and that they are not a reason to worry, and also 5 things you can do to help stop them.
Be sure to use any of the 5 things mentioned in this blog the next time your baby begins to hiccup; we know they’d help a great deal. If it seems like your baby is discomforted because of the hiccups, see your doctor quickly.
I have tried these 5 things in the past whenever my son had hiccups as a newborn. Sometimes one of the options worked, and other times another option worked.
Your job is to go through all of the 5 options until you hit one that gets rid of your baby’s hiccups! When you get comfortable with the 5 options, they become second nature.
Now all you need to do is remember what they are at 3 in the morning, which is something I have struggled with in the past!
Your baby is fortunate to have a parent who does their best to make life comfortable for them, remember to stay calm and take good care of yourself.