How to Get Infant Hiccups Under Control

Ways to Prevent Hiccups in Infants – HowToGuide

Introduction

Naturally, hiccups occur both in grown-ups and babies. It could be easily handled and resolved for adults with a drink of water or hold in a breath, but we cannot say the same of our little ones. It can be quite uncomfortable for them, and they may be startled by it, which sometimes makes it difficult for them to drink. This could be a slight concern for the parent, who will want to find a way to put it under control.

However, hiccupping is inevitable in children; it’s something we cannot stop or control. Many studies have shown that it is very prominent in newborns, who hiccup 2.5% of their time, but it lessens as they grow older. Research shows it is a developmental stage for babies and could only be a problem if done frequently and causes a high level of discomfort.

Moreover, there’s a part we can play as parents in helping our babies with their hiccups, and in this article, we’ll show you exactly that. We’ll also show you how to prevent frequent hiccups, what causes them, and what to do when it’s severe.

What Happens in a Hiccup?

Usually, when we perform our breathing exercise, we pull in the air into the lungs, and the diaphragm releases the air back, and this goes on and on. When a hiccup happens, there’s a rush of air into the diaphragm, causing it to contract, trapping the air inside, then this causes the vocal cords to close up, which protrudes a sound instantly, and this sound is what we hear when we hiccup.

It is an involuntary action, just like when we sneeze or cough, which is why it cannot be stopped or controlled. Mostly in babies, it lasts for just about a minute or two, making it something not to worry much about. However, when we know what causes hiccups, we realize there are little things we can do to stop it from being frequent because our babies do not find it interesting.

What Leads to a Hiccup?

As mentioned earlier, the hiccup is a reflexive action, meaning it can sometimes happen without you or your baby playing any part in it. On the other hand, most times, hiccups occur, we do play a role in it.

These are some prevalent causes of a hiccup:

  • Food Rushing: Hiccup in babies occurs mostly when they are feeding, which is often because the food is being rushed. When we let our babies get too hungry before feeding, they tend to rush the food to quench their hunger, and this often causes air to be trapped in the diaphragm, leading to a hiccup.
  • Long Feeds: Many mothers make the mistake of not taking short breaks between feeds. This is important because when there’s no pause between meals, the baby will not properly breathe in and out, leading to the contraction of the vocal cords and diaphragm. It is better to take short breaks between feeds to burp your baby.
  • Long Cries: If your baby cries for an extended period, they can have a hiccup. This happens because while crying, your baby isn’t breathing as required, causing the diaphragm to contract.

Should You Be Worried About Your Baby’s Hiccups

According to research, hiccups help babies develop their brain and proper breathing when they occur naturally. Hiccups are usual for babies, especially newborns, and they should not overly concern you. It is a reflexive action that should occur from time to time, and babies should be allowed to do their thing.

However, in some cases, hiccups could be very uncomfortable, frequent, and sometimes cause pain for babies. It could be symptoms of irritation of the esophagus, digestive sensitivities, acid reflux, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). In this scenario, you should contact a doctor for further medical assistance.

What to Do About Your Baby’s Hiccups

Most hiccups your baby would have will not affect them, so it is better you do nothing on most occasions. You should let it go on for one to three minutes, and if it doesn’t stop, you can carry out any of the following:

  • Giggle Your Baby: A little bit of distraction can end a hiccup in a snap. When you notice your baby isn’t stopping the hiccup, you can do something to make your baby laugh. Whether it’s by putting up a funny face or singing a song and ticking your baby, it doesn’t matter what it is; it just has to be funny. When your baby laughs, it will help that air trapped in the diaphragm escape, which relieves your baby of the hiccup.
  • Utilize A Pacifier: You can provide your baby with a pacifier to stop the hiccup. A pacifier will help relax your baby’s body, placing him/her in a calm state, which allows the air to leave the diaphragm which resumes normal breathing. You have to make sure your baby keeps sucking the pacifier for this method to be efficient, and if it falls off, place it back. Also, ensure the pacifier is clean.
  • Try Using Gripe Water: Gripe water can be efficient, primarily when the hiccup extends for up to five minutes. Gripe Water is a mix of water and herbs such as fennel, cinnamon, chamomile, and ginger. A set of instructions of use will come with the packet; follow appropriately. Your baby needs a simple dose, which will help relax the diaphragm and end the hiccup.

How You Can Prevent Frequent Hiccups

Hiccups are usual but will be so uncomfortable for your baby if they occur frequently. You can take a few steps to avoid this, but if the hiccups persist, take your baby to see a doctor. Some of these steps are:

  • Employ the Right Approach to Feeding: Doing this one thing will significantly prevent any hiccups. Your baby has to be sat upright when feeding so that the food will travel right through the digestive system with no complications. When sat upright, it allows for better breathing during and after feeding because it places the diaphragm in a good position to take in and release air.
  • Monitor Your Baby: As a parent, you’re to pay absolute attention to your baby’s state at all times. When you do so, you’ll easily realize what causes hiccups for your baby, and then you can take steps to avoid it. It could be when they are lying flat or when bouncing around. It differs for many babies, so you should pay close attention to yours.
  • Take Breaks to Burp Between Feeds: As mentioned earlier, long feeds are among the most recurring causes of hiccups in babies. When feeding your baby, ensure you take quick pauses to burp your baby. A gentle pat or rub on the back will go a long way in relaxing your baby’s diaphragm, thereby allowing for easy breathing.
  • No Heavy Activities after Feeding: Your baby will have lesser chances of having a hiccup if you keep them calm and collected after feeds. Try as much as possible not to let your baby engage in any bouncing or jumping around after a feeding session. It will aid your baby’s digestion and keep the diaphragm functioning at its best.
  • Feed Your Baby Regularly: If your baby is very hungry, they’ll hurry through the food, putting them at risk of having a hiccup. You should ensure your baby isn’t hungry by feeding them regularly. What makes mothers special is how sensitive we are to our babies that we could tell when they need anything. So, you should pay attention and feed them every two to three hours.
  • Check Bottle Design: If you feed your baby with a feeding bottle, ensure that the bottle has a good design that allows for air while feeding. You should not use a bottle that traps air and causes your baby to hiccup. A good bottle will have an opening for enough food to pass through and will not cover your baby’s entire mouth.
  • Approach a Doctor: When hiccups disrupt your baby’s sleep, causes your baby pains, or your baby vomits afterward, it signals something is not right. It could be symptoms of acid reflux or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and requires prompt medical attention. See a Doctor with your baby immediately.
Preventing Hiccups in Infants Guide

How to Get Infant Hiccups Under Control

Burp your baby between feeds, sit your baby upright while feeding, try using gripe water, and so on. However, your baby’s hiccups will often go away without you having to do anything, so there’s usually nothing to worry about.

What You Shouldn’t Do

Doctors give warning to mothers not to employ stereotypical cure measures to address their baby’s hiccup problems. You shouldn’t engage in pulling your baby’s tongue or startling them. Whenever your baby shows signs of serious hiccup issues, approach a doctor immediately.

Conclusion

Babies experience hiccups right from their time in the womb, so it is not a strange thing. Do not get worried or scared when your baby is having hiccups. It is normal and goes away most times in a minute or two. If it doesn’t, you can follow some of the steps we’ve listed above, and if it persists into being painful for your baby, you should see a doctor. Also, as your baby grows older, they’ll experience lesser hiccups.