What to do When your Baby has Hiccups

What to do When your Baby has HiccupsWatching your baby hiccup can be pretty hilarious.  Often hiccups come after a big feeding when your baby is “milk drunk,” dazed and hiccupping like a drunk sailor.  Fortunately, hiccups are harmless for your baby, although they may be rather annoying at times.  Today we’re exploring why babies get hiccups and what to do when your baby has hiccups.

Why Babies get Hiccups

Many people believe hiccups are related to a lack of oxygen but that’s not true.  Hiccups are contractions or spasms in diaphragm.  Although the diaphragm is used for breathing, hiccups are not related to taking a breath.  This is why even babies in the womb can get hiccups, much to the alarm of many expectant moms.

Babies often get hiccups after eating because the diaphragm is very closely situated to the stomach.  Large feedings, drinking too fast or swallowing too much air can trigger hiccups.  Be vigilant about when your baby tends to get the hiccups.  If you noticed it is during or after nursing, you may need to make some adjustments.  One helpful trick is to allow your baby to breastfeed for less time but feed twice as often.  Smaller more frequent meals may work better.  Also, ensure your baby has proper latch to avoid swallowing too much air.  You may need to alternate breastfeeding positions to achieve the best latch.

Sometimes hiccups are a sign or symptom of gastroesophageal reflux.  Like acid reflux, this disease causes babies to spit up their food, in this case into the esophagus.  Babies with gastroesophageal reflux tend to hiccup more often and the reflux can be quite painful.

What to do when your Baby has the Hiccups

Unfortunately there is no tried and true cure for hiccups.  Usually they subside after a few minutes.  Some parents try to give their babies something to suck on or chew on, which may work or may distract your baby from the nuisance of the hiccups.  As already mentioned, if your baby tends to get hiccups at a certain time or after feedings, take note and make changes to avoid hiccups.  If your baby is spitting up a lot or coughing along with persist hiccups, talk to your pediatrician about the symptoms.  Otherwise, it is very common for babies to hiccup daily or even several times a day.

There are many myths about how to cure hiccups.  Be careful because you could really hurt your baby.  Startling your baby, applying pressure to certain areas or pulling her tongue will not cure hiccups and could cause more of a disruption than the hiccups themselves.