Baby hiccups result from a contraction of the diaphragm and the quick closing of the vocal cords. The diaphragm is the main muscle the body uses for breathing. A rapid closing of the vocal cords is what creates the sound of hiccups.
Since hiccups tend to bother adults, you may assume they bother babies as well. However, babies are typically not affected by them. In fact, many babies can sleep through a bout of hiccups without being disturbed, and hiccups rarely affect a baby’s breathing.
In fact, a 2019 study indicated that hiccups may be important to your baby’s brain development and breathing. Hiccups in infants are likely another development tool — and one of the earliest they develop in the womb.
But if your baby seems to be uncomfortable, here are some tips:
- Burp your baby.
- Give them a pacifier.
- Let the hiccups run their course.
Let’s look deeper at these suggestions:
If your baby is breastfed, burp them before they switch breasts.
Rub or gently pat your baby’s back when they have hiccups. Do not slap or hit this area roughly or with too much force.
Infant hiccups don’t always start from a feeding. When your baby starts to hiccup on their own, try allowing them to suck on a pacifier, as this will help relax the diaphragm and may help stop the bout of hiccups.
If they aren’t bothering your baby you can just let them run their course.
If you don’t interfere and your baby’s hiccups don’t stop on their own, let their doctor know. While rare, it’s possible for hiccups to be a sign of a more serious medical issue.
Some people use gripe water for hiccups. Gripe water is a combination of herbs and water. Some people say it helps with colic and other intestinal discomforts, though no evidence exists to support it.
The types of herbs can vary and may include ginger, fennel, chamomile, and cinnamon. Gripe water has not been clinically shown to help with hiccups in babies. It is also considered a supplement, and the FDA does not regulate gripe water.
Before you give your baby anything new, it’s always best to discuss it with your baby’s doctor.
There are a few ways to help prevent hiccup episodes. However, it’s difficult to prevent your baby’s hiccups completely as the causes aren’t yet clear. They may even have some benefit, although research has not yet confirmed this.
Try these methods to help prevent hiccups (and for general good digestion):
- Make sure your baby is calm when you feed them. This means not waiting until your baby is so hungry that they’re upset and crying before their feeding begins.
- After a feeding, avoid heavy activity with your baby, such as bouncing up and down or high-energy play.
- Keep your baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes after each meal.
Hiccups are common in babies. They can also occur while the baby is still in the womb.
However, if your baby gets hiccups a lot, particularly if they’re also upset or agitated, it’s a good idea to speak with a doctor. It could be a sign of other medical issues.
Also, seek medical advice if:
If you’re searching the internet on this topic, you may find a variety of recommendations for home remedies.
It’s important to note that doctors advise that you avoid many of the stereotypical cures for hiccups when your baby gets them. For instance, don’t startle your baby or pull their tongue.
These methods are not suitable for infants and may do more harm than good. If your baby seems content, there’s no reason to intervene.
What causes baby hiccups?
Most young infants probably hiccup due to swallowing air during a feed. Many hiccup from before they are born and continue to do so for some time after delivery. One
Do all babies hiccup a lot?
It is common for babies to hiccup, and there is not usually any reason to worry. However, if you have concerns about your baby’s hiccuping, ask a healthcare professional for advice.
How do I stop my baby hiccupping?
You can try the following:
- Take a break from feeding and burp the baby, as this can get rid of any excess gas.
- Offer them a pacifier, as this may relax the diaphragm.
- Leave them to hiccup, and they will probably stop alone.
It’s not always clear what causes a bout of hiccups in infants, and there may be benefits yet to be known.
As long as your baby is not vomiting with their hiccups, does not seem bothered, and is under the age of 1, hiccups can be a usual part of development.
Regular hiccups should go away by the time your baby reaches 1 year old. However, if your baby often hiccups after that or seems upset or unusually cranky, talk with your doctor. They will be able to rule out any other possible causes.