Why do Infants have Hiccups?

Hiccups are harmless and can happen at any age. Most women can feel their baby’s hiccupping while still in the womb. It usually occurs due to disturbance in their digestive system. There is no need to worry when your newborn experiences multiple hiccups. It is not a sign of any underlying issue. Let’s talk about what causes hiccups and how to relieve them. 

What Causes Hiccups?

Hiccups are strong spasms or contractions of the diaphragm. It also involves the rapid closing of the vocal cords. This rapid closing is what creates the hiccup sound. They are rarely painful. 

How to Ease Hiccups

Hiccups can be really startling for your baby at first. However, they get used to them and can even sleep through them. In any case you would prefer to ease your baby’s hiccups because you find them disturbing for you. Here are some ways you could do this:

  • Burp your baby – Burping after a feed will release any gas trapped in their digestive system. You can stop to burp your baby as you switch breasts. This will also help you slow down the feeds to avoid overfeeding. Do the same when bottle feeding. Stop halfway through to burp.
  • Pacifier – You can opt to give your baby a pacifier, as hiccups are not always a result of feeding. 
  • Try giving your baby some gripe water (consult your doctor before giving your baby any medication)

If you can bear through it, then it is wise to let the hiccups stop by themselves. 

How to Prevent Hiccups

You can prevent hiccups if you are clear about what causes them. Try to pay attention to the things that may cause your baby’s hiccups. Some of them are:

  • Overfeeding  – try feeding your baby in small amounts twice as much. When the stomach gets too full or expands too fast it can cause the diaphragm muscle to go into spasms. 
  • Feeding when baby is upset or too hungry – This may cause them to swallow more gas.
  • Sit upright – Maintain your baby in an upright position for about 20 minutes after a feed.
  • Relaxing after a feed – Avoid vigorous or heavy activity such as bouncing

When to Seek for Help

Persistent hiccups may indicate the possibility of gastroesophageal reflux (GER). GER is a common and in most cases temporary condition that involves the body bringing up some stomach’s content into the oesophagus. This too can cause hiccups, though these can be accompanied by pain. Your baby waking up at night crying, experiencing abdominal pain and spitting up is also a sign of reflux. Please consult your doctor for help if it gets this serious. 


#Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

#Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

#Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: parenting, healthline, medicalnewstoday, coliccalm

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