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What Causes Baby Hiccups and How to Get Rid of it

What causes baby hiccups? This is one of the most questions new moms ask. Hiccups! Adults get them all the time, but is it normal for a baby to hiccup? Babies do all the little adorable things like tiny yawns and little coos, but sometimes it’s hard to know what they’re doing is considered a normal part of their development and growth or not. So, when your little one hiccups, the sound may be cute and funny but you must wonder, is it normal? Well, the answer is yes. Hiccups in babies and newborns are harmless and are a sign of growth and development. According to pediatricians, “hiccups that occur in the baby’s gastrointestinal tract are seldom a sign of a problem in infants“.

In this article, you will learn about what causes baby hiccups and how to get rid of it.

What are hiccups a sign of in babies?

Just like in adults, what causes baby hiccups can be the spasms of the baby’s still developing diaphragm, which is the large muscle that runs across the rib cage and moves up and down as they breathe. Though no one knows for sure why hiccups occur in humans, the spasms in the diaphragm can be triggered by several things. Newborn hiccups are mostly because of overeating, eating too quickly, or swallowing a lot of air.

According to pediatricians, any of these things can lead to stomach bloating. When stomach bloats, it pushes against the diaphragm which results in spasms causing hiccups. Hiccups can also be caused due to changes in stomach temperature. For example, if you feed your baby some cold milk and then afterward give them hot rice cereal, the variations in the temperature can lead to hiccups.

Sometimes hiccups are also caused due to gastroesophageal reflux, common in babies. When a baby suffers from reflux, partially digested food and stomach acids flow back up the esophagus resulting in discomfort and burning sensation, and since the esophagus passes through the diaphragm, reflux can also result in hiccups in newborns and babies.

Are hiccups bad for a newborn?

Normally, hiccups are not a cause of concern for babies under 12 months old. Though you may think as adults face a lot of discomfort due to hiccups, then maybe babies find them uncomfortable. That’s not the case in babies. Hiccups usually cause less discomfort for babies as compared with adults. It is also usually fine to leave babies as they are and do nothing to stop the hiccups. Hiccups will pass eventually. If it does not stop, then instead of worrying, speak to your pediatrician.

Do hiccups mean the baby is full?

No one knows for certain what causes babies to hiccup frequently, however, there are a variety of different theories behind why babies hiccup. As hiccups often develop after eating, it is suggested that they may be caused by pressure on the baby’s diaphragm from a full stomach or due to swallowing large amounts of air, or due to gulping down formula or breast milk too quickly.  Then again, there are also times when babies hiccup for no obvious reason. So we can’t say that hiccups are a sure sign that the baby is full and is no longer hungry.

How long should baby hiccups last?

It can be worrisome for new moms and dads to see their babies struggling with hiccups. But there’s no need to worry because newborn hiccups are harmless and they go away after a few minutes on their own. Babies can have multiple hiccups during the day, lasting for 5 minutes or longer. As a rule of thumb, if the baby is happy, and doesn’t seem in discomfort then you shouldn’t stress over it. You can just wait them out till they go away on their own. If they continue for over two hours and are causing distress to the baby, then it’s better to call the pediatrician so you can figure out the reason for discomfort.

Can you lie a baby down with hiccups?

Babies hiccup frequently. They sometimes do that even before birth when they are in their mother’s womb. Sometimes feeding your baby will help stop the hiccups, but if not, don’t worry. Fortunately, hiccups don’t cause as much discomfort in babies as they do in adults, so babies do not seem to be bothered by hiccups and they can often eat and sleep even while hiccuping. Thus, it is okay to lie a baby down with hiccups.

How often should newborns get hiccups?

There is no general rule about how often newborns should get hiccups. It depends on the baby and varies from baby to baby. If your baby eats too quickly, they can get hiccups often. If your baby swallows a lot of air while feeding then they can get hiccups often. If you overfeed your baby, then it can cause hiccups often. Sometimes your baby will even get hiccups without any reason. So, it depends on the baby.

How to stop baby’s hiccups?

There’s usually no need for you to do anything to stop baby’s hiccups. They often go away on their own after a few minutes. But if you want to stop your baby from hiccuping, here are some tips which can help you.

  • Take a break during the baby’s feeding session and help them burp. This will help them bring up any air they may have swallowed during feeding. If you bottle-feed your baby then it is recommended to burp them after 2 to 3 ounces and then burp them again after they have finished their bottle. If you breastfeed your baby, then burp them in between switching the breasts and at the end of the feeding session.
  • When your baby hiccups on their own without any obvious cause, then try allowing them to suck on a pacifier, as this will help relax the diaphragm and may help to stop those pesky hiccups.
  • According to some mothers, gripe water also helps in stopping baby’s hiccups. Gripe water is a mixture of different herbs and water and is often used to reduce discomfort due to colic. Be sure to see the list of ingredients and ask your pediatrician before giving your baby gripe water.

The answer to the question “what causes baby hiccups” is mentioned above. The real cause of hiccups isn’t clear. Also, hiccups are usually harmless in infants as long as the baby is not vomiting while hiccuping and does not seem to be bothered by them, and is under the age of 1. The hiccups should go away by the time your baby reaches their first birthday. However, if they continue after that time, or if your baby seems to be upset by them or crankier than usual, then talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to rule out any other causes behind your baby’s discomfort.

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