Most adults experience discomfort when they get hiccups. Fortunately, hiccups don’t seem to bother babies unless they result in vomiting, long periods without oxygen, or pain. It is, therefore, important to pay attention to your baby’s response to hiccups and consult your pediatrician if your baby’s hiccups result in discomfort for your baby.
So, What Are Hiccups?
Hiccups happen when the diaphragm, a muscle running across the body, separating the chest from the abdomen involuntarily contracts.
This part of your body contributes to your ability to breathe. The “hic” sound is caused by the sudden closure of your vocal cords. The same is true for babies.
Hiccups Are Normal!
Some babies start having hiccups at around six months while inside the womb before they are born. This is the time when your baby’s lungs begin to develop. Hiccups are helpful because they help babies expel excess air from their stomachs, though this theory hasn’t been proven it still provides a foundation on how to help best your baby get rid of the hiccups by identifying the root cause.
What Causes Hiccups in My Baby?
Although the cause of hiccups it not pointed to one factor, research has shown that hiccups in babies are usually caused by
- feeding to fast
- not burping them
The hiccups could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is equivalent to baby heartburn. This happens when the acids from the stomach come back up the digestive tract.
While most babies grow out of GERD as their bodies get stronger and organs develop, some do not, so it is best to tell your pediatrician about your baby’s hiccups and work with them to find a solution.
Research also shows that hiccups are not related to breathing; they won’t start if you need more air. But because babies have irregular breathing, hiccups tend to affect the amount of oxygen they receive, which makes it important to help relieve their hiccups.
It’s also important to remember that hiccups are not dangerous and usually resolve themselves, but there are several ways to stop your baby’s hiccups.
Feed Your Baby Often
If hiccups often happen with your baby after feeding, then you should feed them often.
This could be a sign that your baby’s meals are spaced too far apart. Eating too fast is often associated with the body’s starvation mechanism.
The body relies on the external nutritional supply by providing it through the food you eat. If you aren’t giving your body an adequate nutritional source, you will find yourself wolfing down food when you get it.
The same is true for babies. If your baby’s feedings are spaced too far apart, their body may be going into starvation mode, which causes them to eat as much as possible, as fast as possible, trapping air in their stomach, because they are not certain when they will receive their next meal. You can solve this by increasing the frequency of your baby’s feeding.
Babies should be fed one and a half to every two hours. Remember, their bodies are growing, and they need nutrients often.
Slowly Feed Your Baby
Sometimes your baby may simply be a fast eater. When you give them their bottle or your breast, they suck very fast, while this can be cute at first, it also means your baby is sucking in a lot of air.
This air gathers up in their small tummies, and their body tries to get rid of it by stimulating hiccups. If the hiccups cause them to vomit, visit your pediatrician as this could be a sign of a digestive issue.
You can help the suck slower through positive reinforcement, remove the bottle or your breast from their mouth every time they start to suck faster, and then giving them more if they suck slower.
Babies are smart and always in sync with you so that they will learn through this positive reinforcement.
You can also tip the bottle or the breast upwards to fill the nipple and your baby’s mouth, reducing the number of air bubbles that are ingested by your baby.
Burp Your Baby
Burping your baby after each feed will help clear any excess air that might have become trapped in their stomach that could lead to hiccups. Make it a point to burp them after every feed.
Try Gripe Water
Gripe water is an over-the-counter herbal remedy that is made up of herbs to help your baby find relief with hiccups and other digestive issues. Gripe water is usually formulated from a mixture of
- Lemon Balm
It is important to talk to your pediatrician about the best gripe water brands available to ensure that your baby receives the safest and best brand. You should avoid brands that list alcohol, sugar, or any other artificial ingredients as part of their ingredients.
Gripe water is generally safe, but should not be given to babies less than one month, because it could cause complications with their fragile digestive tract.
Use a Pacifier
If your baby gets the hiccups, hand them their pacifier. The sucking motion will help relax their diaphragm, which is a muscle and relieve their hiccups.
The Old Wives
The old wives catch a lot of flack, but they were the baby carers, and while some of their solutions might be a raise for concern, there are others that could work and are harmless.
Take a small string of cloth from your baby’s clothes of their shawl. Place it in your mouth to get it a little wet and place it in between their eyebrows. Watch in amazement as their hiccups fade shortly after.
Wait for the Hiccup to End
Hiccups usually go away on their own. If your baby gets the hiccups and your baby is not in distress or causing any pain, let your baby ride it out. Just pay attention to them, and they will be fine. The hiccups will go just as fast as they came. In the event that they don’t, contact your pediatrician.