Your brand new infant is experiencing a severe case of hiccups. You can’t help but feel a twinge of adoration for them, but at the same time, you can’t help but wonder if there’s any reason for concern.
According to paediatrician Kylie Liermann, DO, hiccups in babies are extremely common, and in most cases, they do not present a problem. “In point of fact, they tend to aggravate the parents more than the child,”
Dr Liermann explains what causes baby hiccups and how to get rid of them so that you and your baby can breathe easier. Hopefully, this will help ease some of the anxiety that you may be experiencing as a new parent.
Why do babies get hiccups?
It is likely that irritation to the diaphragm, the muscle that sits at the bottom of the lungs, is the root cause of hiccups. This muscle will start to spasm or cramp up every once in a while. This causes the vocal cords to close more tightly, which results in the distinctive “hic!” sound that you are familiar with and fear.
Many pregnant women have reported feeling the telltale flutters in their bellies that accompany hiccups in their developing babies. Hiccups can occur in developing babies even before they are born.
Hiccups are particularly prevalent in brand new babies and infants. According to Dr. Liermann, “We don’t know exactly why, but increased gas in the stomach may be the cause of hiccups.” [Citation needed] “If babies overfeed themselves or take large gulps of air while they are eating, this could cause the stomach to expand and rub against the diaphragm, which in turn could cause those annoying hiccups.”
Hiccups and gastroesophageal reflux
Usually, hiccups don’t bother babies. But sometimes, hiccups are a sign of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Reflux causes stomach acid to back up into the baby’s esophagus.
If your baby has GERD, hiccups won’t be the only symptom, Dr. Liermann says. Infants with reflux also have signs such as:
- Spitting up.
- Irritability and crying.
- Arching the back, especially during or after a feeding.
If you notice these signs, talk to your doctor about whether your baby might have reflux and how to manage it.
How to stop baby hiccups
If your baby doesn’t have reflux symptoms, don’t stress over hiccups, Dr. Liermann says. But if those little “hics!” are bothering you, there are some things you can try.
Change feeding positions
Try feeding your little one in a more upright position, Dr. Liermann suggests. Propping your baby up on a pillow so they aren’t lying flat may help them take in less air at mealtimes.
Burp more frequently
“Burping usually helps with hiccups,” Dr. Liermann says. Burp your baby during feeding to prevent hiccups from striking. Try taking a burp break after 2 or 3 ounces.
If you’re nursing, burp your baby before you switch sides. If your nugget already has hiccups, you can try to relieve them with some gentle pats on the back.
Reach for the binky
Pacifiers can sometimes stop hiccups in their tracks. “The sucking motion can help relax the diaphragm,” Dr. Liermann explains.
Give gripe water
Gripe water is an over-the-counter blend of herbs marketed as a treatment for colic and tummy troubles. Some parents find it helps with hiccups, too.
But above all, says Dr. Liermann: Don’t fret. “Hiccups stop on their own and don’t cause discomfort to babies. So don’t feel you need to treat them,” she says.
Are Hiccups A Sign Baby Is Full
When a baby is full, some medical professionals believe that the baby may experience hiccups as a result of food and acid coming back up from the stomach. It’s possible that overeating or eating too quickly could be to blame for your child’s hiccups. If you feed your baby slowly and take frequent breaks to burp him or her, you may be able to prevent hiccups from occurring in your child.