Does your baby have a serious case of hiccups and you're wondering if there's any cause for concern? We're here to ease your worries!
Although it may look uncomfortable for your baby, there's usually no need to worry at all.
Baby hiccups are very common, and they aren't normally a problem. In fact, they usually bother parents more than the baby.
To help calm your worries, let's learn what causes hiccups in your child, and how to get rid of them, so your baby can breathe easier.
Why do babies get hiccups?
Hiccups are most likely caused by irritation to the diaphragm, the muscle at the base of the lungs. Sometimes, that muscle starts to spasm or cramp. That causes the vocal cords to clamp shut, creating that distinctive “hic!” sound you know and dread. Developing babies can get hiccups even before they’re born, and many pregnant people have felt the telltale flutters in their bellies. Again, usually, hiccups don't bother babies. Hiccups are especially common in newborns and infants. “We don’t know exactly why, but hiccups may be caused by increased gas in the stomach,” Dr. Liermann says. “If babies overfeed or gulp air during eating, that could cause the stomach to expand and rub against the diaphragm, generating those hiccups.”
What if it's something more serious?
Sometimes, hiccups are a sign of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Reflux causes stomach acid to back up into the baby’s oesophagus. If your baby has GERD, hiccups won’t be the only symptom. Infants with reflux also have signs such as:
Irritability and crying.
Arching the back, especially during or after a feeding.
If you notice these signs, then we recommend you speak to your doctor, to get your baby properly checked out, and learn ways how to manage it.
How to help stop baby hiccups
Change feeding positions - try feeding your baby in a more upright position. If you are breastfeeding, please check out this Pampers article on 5 different breastfeeding positions.
Burp more frequently - burp during feeding to prevent hiccups.
Use a dummy - as the sucking motion can help relax the diaphragm.
Try distractions - if your baby looks stressed, simply try to distract them.
Try rubbing your baby's back - and rock your baby back and forth to help them relax, to slow down the spasms.
We hope this has helped relieve your worries, and please remember, hiccups will naturally stop on their own, and do not cause discomfort to babies, so there is no need to 'treat' them.