“Are hiccups in babies normal?”
“My baby gets frequent hiccups?”
“Why does my baby hiccup after feeding?”
“How do I stop my baby’s hiccups?”
We all experience hiccups many times in our life. Baby hiccups are also a very normal thing and are observed in all newborn babies. It is nothing to be alarmed about. In fact, hiccups can also occur while the baby is in the mummy’s womb.
Babies have hiccups mostly after a feed. Hiccups occur frequently in babies who are under six months old and may last for a minute or an hour. According to doctors, hiccups are caused because of repetitive contractions of the diaphragm and also because the organs of an infant are immature and need time to develop. And as the baby grows, organs start to develop and the frequency of hiccups is reduced.
Babies respond to sudden temperature change very quickly. When babies are exposed to extreme cold, they begin to hiccup.
While being fed, sometimes babies suck lots of air along with milk. This excess air makes the diaphragm to contract which results in hiccups.
This is known as acid reflux and this happens when the acid from baby’s tummy is released repeatedly from the esophagus. This is also common in toddlers. Although hiccups are normal, the baby may feel frustrated and needs to be distracted to reduce the frustration.
Overfeeding the baby with formula or breast milk can make the baby’s tummy to bloat. The abdominal cavity expands suddenly and this makes the diaphragm stretch and causes spasms, which lead to hiccups in babies.
An allergic reaction to certain foods such as proteins present in the formula milk or certain foods consumed by the mother can also lead to inflammation of the food pipe and this can trigger hiccups in the baby.
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Babies have hiccups when they swallow excess air and to cure this, parents should burp their baby after every feed.
Tip – Patting on the back is the simplest way to make the baby burp and release the extra air that was swallowed. You may gently pat the baby’s back while making his stomach rest on your shoulder.
The size of the nipple of the baby’s feeding bottle should be chosen wisely. If the size of the nipple is too big, the baby will suck extra air while feeding which will cause hiccups. The nipple should release steady drops of milk when turned upside down.
Tip – While buying the nipple, check its flow if possible.
Babies on a solid diet can be given sugar to stop hiccups. The sweetness of sugar distracts the nerves and makes them stop contracting.
Note: Sugar should not be given to babies below 1 year of age.
Also Read: Is Mundan Helpful in hair growth in babies?
If baby hiccups occur while feeding, then feed should be paused and it is advised to pat on the baby’s back to stop hiccups.
This is the main reason for hiccups in babies. Parents should try reducing the feed to check if hiccups are being caused due to overfeeding.
Tip – Always feed the baby with a gap of 5 minutes between each feed of 15-30 minutes. You may stop to burp the baby and then continue.
This one is a no-brainer. Just as adult hiccups can be stopped by scaring a person or creating doubt, one can also stop hiccups in babies by distracting them. Distracting the baby may stop hiccups and this can be done by using simple ways like putting the baby on a rocking chair for a few minutes.
If the hiccups were not triggered by a feed and you have introduced a pacifier to your baby, you can give it to the baby when he/she hiccups. This can help to relax the diaphragm.
Most of the times, hiccups do stop on their own. So, if your baby doesn’t seem to get irritated by the hiccups, you can allow them to stop on their own.
Hiccups are considered to be normal and good for baby’s growth so you may try to stop them if the baby is getting irritated but never give water to stop them. Doctors advise that water should not be given to babies before 6 months and one should not attempt to stop the hiccups with breast milk. As soon as baby crosses the age of six months, usually hiccups vanish on their own.
However, there are certain conditions, in which you need to see a doctor:
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If your baby experiences hiccups very often and gets irritated or uncomfortable due to them, it is advisable to consult your pediatrician.
In case your baby’s hiccups do not stop with the above measures, you should check with the pediatrician.
If the hiccups interfere with your baby’s sleeping or feeding and makes him cranky, you must check with a pediatrician so that he/she can investigate further.
If your baby continues to get frequent hiccups even after turning a year old, you can check with the pediatrician.
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