Tips for Calming Your Baby's Hiccups

Babies are very prone to hiccuping, and mothers are very prone to worrying about it. Take heed of the advice in the following article to help your little one overcome the hiccups in a matter of minutes.
Tips for Calming Your Baby's Hiccups

Last update: 16 June, 2018

Women who bring a little one into the world face numerous challenges every day. One of those challenges is calming their baby’s hiccups.

Hiccups are very common among small babies, especially newborns. During the first 6 months of a child’s life, bouts with hiccups can be very frequent. 

However, their repeated appearance isn’t necessarily an indication of a serious medical issue.

What are hiccups?

Hiccups are an abrupt and involuntary movement of the diaphragm.

The movement repeats at regular intervals. When a person has the hiccups, his lungs expel air violently and intermittently, producing the characteristic hiccup sound.

What are the possible causes for hiccups in babies?

Below is a list of the most frequent causes for hiccups in babies:

1. Underdevelopment of the pyloric sphincter

Your child’s hiccups may be the result of a lack of development of the pyloric sphincter. 

This valve is responsible for communication between the esophagus with the stomach. If the valve hasn’t fully developed yet, it might not close completely, resulting in hiccups.

This is a common issue for babies during their first months of life. However, there’s no need to worry.

Your little one’s nervous and digestive systems will continue to develop and strengthen. Little by little, your child’s constant hiccuping will become a thing of the past.

2. Indigestion

When a child’s stomach is full, this results in the compression of the diaphragm. Therefore, hiccups are a common symptom of indigestion.

Tips for Calming Your Baby's Hiccups

3. Crying

When your child cries for long periods of time, this can also cause hiccups. This is because your baby takes in excess air at an accelarated rate in order to scream.

So, don’t be surprised if, after a long bout of crying, your child ends up with the hiccups. The same can occur if your child swallows food or milk too quickly or regurgitates.

How to help your baby avoid hiccups

By following this practical advice, you can help your little one avoid the hiccups:

  • Avoid abrupt temperature changes. 
  • Dry your baby well after bath time and avoid exposure to cold air.
  • Don’t wait too long between feedings. If your baby is anxious or overly hungry, this will cause her to swallow quickly and get the hiccups.
  • If your child cries or becomes upset while feeding, you should change his position to help him calm down. Also, burp your baby.
  • Don’t nurse your baby in the middle of a crying bout. Try to calm your baby first and then allow her to drink.
  • Make sure your baby latches on correctly. An improper latch can cause the hiccups.
  • If you bottle feed, make sure to use the right-sized nipple according to your baby’s age.

“When a person has the hiccups, his lungs expel air violently and intermittently, producing the characteristic hiccup sound.”

How can I calm my baby’s hiccups?

There are many myths and strategies regarding how to get rid of the hiccups. Some of them are good and some are not. Read below to find out some tried and true techniques for helping your baby

1. Massage

Hiccups can become so uncomfortable for your baby that she may start to cry. If these circumstances arise, then you should try to calm down your little one, as the crying will only cause more abrupt breathing.

A gentle massage to the back and abdomen will help your baby relax and, in turn, calm the hiccups.

2. Control  the velocity with with your child eats

Your child might be so desperate to feed that he nurses or bottle feeds anxiously. If your little one has the hiccups, it’s better to let him rest a little so that he can nurse in a more relaxed manner.

Another tip is to pause regularly during feedings to burp your baby. You should dedicate at least 10 minutes to burping after feedings in order to expel gases.

Tips for Calming Your Baby's Hiccups

3. Water

If your baby breastfeeds exclusively, you can gradually offer your little one a few teaspoons of water and gently pat her back. 

If your baby is older you can replace the water with a spoonful of sugar.

4. Find the best position

Placing your baby in a vertical position to produce burping can help to calm the hiccups. At the same time, gentle movements from side to side can also aid in releasing gases.

You should avoid plugging your child’s nose at all cost. The idea behind this technique is to force your baby to hold his breath in order to cure the hiccups.

However, this will do nothing to help calm your baby. Rather, it will only terrify your baby and cause him to cry desperately. Thus, this strategy only makes things worth.

As we’ve pointed out, there are some tips that really do work to get rid of the hiccups.

However, there are other strategies that we should really avoid. The best thing to do is be prepared and informed when the time comes.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.