Why Do Newborns Get Hiccups so Much?
Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes hiccups. They believe that it might be a reflex to eliminate air from the stomach. The diaphragm spasms, pushing air out through closed vocal cords. That’s what causes the brief, high-pitched noise.
Newborns may have hiccups many times a day. Some bouts can last longer than 10 minutes. It’s completely normal for a baby to have the hiccups more than you do.
Like anyone, a newborn can get hiccups for apparently no reason. However, sometimes feeding can trigger your baby’s hiccups. Infants can get hiccups from:
- Eating too much
- Eating too quickly
- Swallowing air
At one week old, a newborn’s stomach is only about the size of an apricot. It can only hold about one to two ounces of liquid at one time. When it fills to capacity, it puts pressure on the diaphragm. This could trigger a case of those adorable, tiny hiccups.
But feeding isn’t always the culprit. It’s tough to know exactly what is.
Baby Hiccup Remedies
In most cases, you don’t need to do anything to stop your baby’s spasms. They’ll usually resolve on your own.
If you notice that your baby gets hiccups most often while feeding, you might not need an infant hiccups cure at all. Try changing the routine.
Some ideas include:
- Burping baby more frequently
- Using a different bottle
- Trying a different breastfeeding position
- Feeding the baby before they are crying out of hunger
- Offering less milk or formula more frequently
- Ensuring that baby has a proper latch
- Keeping baby in an upright position for half an hour after feeding
However, if feeding doesn’t seem to be the issue, you might want to try offering the breast or a bottle to try to soothe the hiccups. You could also try some of the following baby hiccup remedies:
- Giving baby a pacifier
- Rocking and snuggles, which promote relaxation
- Gently rubbing baby’s back
- Try making baby giggle
- Gripe water, which has not been proven to quell spasms but may help
Perhaps most importantly, stay calm. Your baby can pick up on your stress, and that tension could keep those hiccups around. If you do worry that your baby is in distress, it’s always a good idea to see a physician.
What SHOULDN’T You Use as a Baby Hiccups Remedy?
Adults often try to scare or startle their friends when they have hiccups. Doing this doesn’t work on grown-ups, and you shouldn’t try it on your baby, either. You’ll likely frighten the child, and crying can trigger hiccups.
Some people recommend putting a cold washcloth on the infant’s heads. This is not an effective baby hiccups remedy either. It might startle or irritate the baby, making them more distressed.
Do you ever try holding your breath to cure your hiccups? You can’t exactly ask an infant to do that. Do not attempt to restrict your baby’s breathing in any manner.
Don’t put your fingers in the baby’s mouth or try to pull on their tongue. Although doing this may sound silly to you, some people recommend it. It’s not effective and could harm your baby.
Does Your Baby’s Diet Cause Hiccups?
Breastmilk and formula have not been shown to cause infant hiccups. Food doesn’t generally cause hiccups for anyone. However, if you’re concerned that your little one is sensitive to a particular ingredient in a formula that you’ve been using, you might want to switch.
If you have been using cow’s milk formula, try offering one with a goat milk base. The fat molecules in goat milk don’t cluster together the way that they do in cow’s milk. This makes them easier to digest.
Goat milk also contains more of certain essential fatty acids than cow’s milk. Compared to cow’s milk, goat milk also has less lactose, different minerals and different protein than cow’s milk. While these factors may not affect your little one’s hiccups, they may ease digestive issues or abdominal distress.
If you’re breastfeeding, you might worry that you’re passing along something from the foods that you eat to trigger hiccups. You’re not. It’s not common for a baby to react to the foods that you eat.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to scour the internet for remedies for baby hiccups. The spasms usually resolve on their own. Persistent hiccups could be a sign of reflux. Still, reflux usually clears up on its own by 18 months.
Offer your infant the best nutrients, whether you feed them breastmilk or high-quality baby formula. Give them lots of love, and comfort them gently if you worry that they’re uncomfortable while they have hiccups. An extra hug never hurts.
- Jennifer Akiyama