If you can feed and put a baby to sleep, then you can help your baby get rid of hiccups just by following this guide. It’s that simple.
Hiccups may seem rather discomforting in babies, but it’s not always like that – it sometimes plays a positive role in a child’s development.
A study in 2019 indicated that hiccups might be necessary for developing a baby’s brain and breathing.
That said, hiccups are just one of those tools a child might need in the course of development during infancy.
This is precisely why, as a parent, you must be careful while helping your baby get rid of hiccups.
What do I mean?
You don’t want to force the situation – sometimes, you might need to let the hiccup run its course.
What Are Hiccups?
Hiccups (also spelled hiccough) are the sudden tightening of the diaphragm, a muscle inside the chest and below the lungs that causes air to be pulled in.
A short time after the diaphragm contracts, the throat suddenly closes. This closing stops the air from flowing in and results in the “hic” sound that gives “hiccups” its name.
A hiccup is an involuntary action involving a reflex arc that happens in the body without trying. Hiccups often repeat several times per minute and end independently after a few minutes.
The Latin name for hiccup is ‘singultus,’ derived from “singult,” meaning to catch one’s breath while sobbing.
Hiccups are caused by the diaphragm involuntarily contraction. The diaphragm is the primary muscle of respiration.
Unpopular fact: do you know babies even have hiccups right in the womb? Of course, they do. I just had to mention it in case you don’t know, but that’s by the way.
Meanwhile, for the rest of this article, we’ll discuss how to help your baby get rid of hiccups and other related questions raised during my research.
What Triggers Hiccups?
Who knows? You might have tried figuring out the cause of hiccups. Maybe you got your answers; perhaps you didn’t.
Either way, that’s what I will talk about in this section because it’s essential to understand a problem’s cause before seeking solutions.
That said, some of the things that trigger hiccups in babies include but are not limited to:
- Laughing or crying for an extended period
- Swallowing too much air
- Eating very fast
Your baby’s diaphragm might become irritated or have a sudden contraction if he’s eating too fast or too much, or perhaps if he’s feeling excited or nervous about something. This could result in a hiccup.
How To Help My Baby Get Rid of Hiccups
The following methods can help your baby get rid of hiccups, and the best part is that they’re all simple, no rocket science.
- Burp your baby during feeding
- Use a pacifier
- Change feeding position
- Try gripe water
- Rubbing the baby’s back.
Burp Your Baby During Feeding
This is an essential part of feeding. When your baby swallows, air bubbles can become trapped in its stomach, causing discomfort.
Burping can get rid of air bubbles causing discomfort to your baby.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests burping your baby after feeding and periodically during feeding.
Use A Pacifier
A pacifier is a plastic, rubber, or silicone nipple substitute for a baby to suckle upon. It can help to soothe a crying baby, as prolonged crying can lead to hiccups.
Pacifiers also help to relax your baby’s diaphragm and help stop the hiccup. ‘The sucking motion can help relax the diaphragm.’ Dr. Liermann explained.
Change Feeding Position
Sometimes, the feeding position of your baby could be the cause of hiccups. Changing the baby’s position, like making the baby sit upright, can help get rid of the hiccup.
Try Gripe Water
Gripe water is a combination of herbs and water. The herbs may include ginger, cinnamon, and fennel. Most parents use this method to stop a hiccup in their babies.
Clinically, gripe water has not been shown to help with hiccups in babies. It is advisable to ask your doctor before giving anything to your baby.
Although, Gripe water is not recommended for babies younger than one month because the digestive tract is sensitive and still developing at this age.
Sometimes, allow the hiccup to stop on its own. Most times, this doesn’t cause discomfort to the baby, and it’s most likely to quit within 5 to 10 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Baby Frequently Have Hiccups?
Usually, hiccups are not a cause for concern in babies under 12 months old.
Your baby frequently having hiccups could result from overfeeding, as I mentioned above. It would be best if you considered changing the feeding pattern.
Contact a doctor if hiccups are recurring or distressing the baby because sometimes, this indicates an underlying health condition.
Hiccups In Babies, Is It Connected to Any Underlying Health Issue?
Most hiccups in babies are harmless and will mostly go away within a couple of minutes or hours, as the case may be. Though from experience, it hardly lasts for hours.
Sometimes, continual hiccups could signify gastroesophageal reflux disease in babies.
In case you’re wondering, in babies, Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens when stomach contents come back up into the esophagus, which can cause regurgitation and spit up.
If the hiccup becomes frequent, consult a doctor to be on the safe side.
How Long Do Hiccups Last in Babies?
Hiccups tend to last within the range of 5 to 10 minutes. The max I’ve witnessed firsthand lasted for over 20 minutes.
On that note, if your baby’s hiccup doesn’t stop within the first 30 minutes to 1 hour, please reach out to the pediatrician for proper action.
Is It Normal for Babies to Get Hiccups After Breastfeeding?
Most times, it appears that hiccups start for no apparent reason.
There is no cause for panic if you experience this with your baby after breastfeeding because hiccupping after feeding is common amongst babies.
Do Babies Have Hiccups in The Womb?
This might sound new to some people, but…
Yes, babies have hiccups in the womb.
Baby hiccups in the womb are also called fetal hiccups.
They are the little movements the baby’s diaphragm makes when they begin to practice breathing in the womb. It feels a bit jerky and rhythmic.
Sometimes, fetal hiccups are mistaken as baby kicks, but they are two different things.
One theory of fetal hiccups is that it plays a role in lung maturation. This reflex is normal and another part of pregnancy; it is also a good sign.
You might also be concerned about how to get rid of fetal hiccups; well, there is nothing to worry about when experiencing this. It usually stops after 32 weeks of pregnancy.
What Position Is Best When a Baby Is Having Hiccups?
An upright position. Placing your baby upright after feeding will likely help reduce hiccups.
If your baby is already hiccupping, switching the position will cause different muscle groups to engage, resulting in the relaxation of the diaphragm.
Is It Okay to Lay My Baby Down with Hiccups
In most cases, putting a baby on their back is fine when they have hiccups. There is no physical or medical reason not to lay them that way because their diaphragm spasms don’t interfere with breathing.
What Not to Do When Your Baby Has Hiccups
There are so many parents out there who seem great at face value, but if we approach their parenting methods with a bit of critical thinking, we begin to realize how flawed most parents are.
I’ve seen the ignorance of some parents on how they handle their baby’s situation, even on matters like the hiccups we’re talking about right now.
That’s precisely why I want to use this opportunity to correct certain impressions concerning helping your baby get rid of hiccups.
That said, the following are things you shouldn’t practice when trying to help your baby get rid of hiccups.
Don’t Startle or Scare Them
You might want to make a sharp noise to startle your baby, thinking it will help. This will only end up scaring them and not stopping the hiccup.
In some cases, scaring them might even aggravate the situation into something else, something more complicated, and you and I know you don’t want that.
Wet Clothing Materials Shouldn’t Be Put on Their Forehead
Some people might consider this a natural remedy, but it is wrong because wet clothing materials on their forehead don’t stop hiccups; instead, they might result in cold or irritation.
Stop Feeding When It Starts
If you notice your baby hiccupping during feeding, it is good practice to stop feeding and position your baby upright or gently rub their back until the hiccup stops. This helps to relax the diaphragm.
Don’t Obstruct Their Breathing
Some parents might think withholding their baby’s breath might stop the hiccup, but it isn’t always the case.
On the contrary, that’s a dangerous practice and should never be considered while trying to help a baby get rid of hiccups.
Don’t Withhold Their Pacifiers
If the hiccup comes on randomly and not as a result of feeding, a pacifier could be a good cure.
Parents don’t need to worry too much when their baby is hiccuping because it’s not as bad as some people have painted it.
Like I said earlier, they have positive roles to play in your child’s development during infancy.
“Each time a newborn baby hiccups, it triggers a large wave of brain signals which could help the baby learn how to regulate their breathing,” a new UCL- led study stated.
Dr. Lorenzo Fabrizi, a senior research fellow at the University College London’s department of Neuroscience, Physiology, and Pharmacology and the study’s senior author, said:
“The activity resulting from a hiccup may be helping the baby’s brain to learn how to monitor the breathing muscles so that eventually, breathing can be voluntarily controlled by moving the diaphragm up and down.”
He further stated
“When we are born, the circuits which process body sensations are not fully developed, so the establishment of such networks is a crucial developmental milestone for newborns.”
This proves that hiccups usually are harmless and resolve themselves after a few minutes. It usually lasts for a period of 5 to 10 minutes.
Babies can sleep peacefully while hiccupping because they are not typically affected by it.
In rare cases, prolonged hiccups that last for days or weeks may be symptomatic of underlying diseases like Gastroesophageal reflux (GER).
Gently patting your baby’s back or keeping the baby in an upright position could help get rid of hiccups. Sometimes, allow it to run its course because it will stop at a point.
Generally, hiccups are typical and not something to worry about.