What to do when babies hiccup
A hiccup is the result of an involuntary contraction of the muscle below your lungs (diaphragm). This makes your vocal cords close suddenly, which causes you to make that familiar “hic” noise.
Hiccups can occur for a variety of reasons. These include eating too much, swallowing air while chewing, or even being anxious or excited. These same triggers can cause newborn babies to hiccup, which is not usually a problem for a healthy child. However, there are also some more serious causes of hiccups. Hiccups that last for a long time should be noted. Also, sometimes hiccups can lead to complications in newborns on ventilation, like premature babies that need help breathing.
Hiccups When Feeding
It’s easy for a newborn to also swallow some air while nursing or taking a bottle. Extra air can raise the risk of hiccups. This is why it’s important to burp the baby to get that air out of the stomach. An air or gas bubble can also make a newborn uncomfortable and can cause them to spit up.
If your baby starts to hiccup while feeding, take a break and try to help them relax. Burping or moving your baby to a different position may put an end to the hiccups. If the hiccups continue for several minutes after you’ve stopped feeding, continuing with the feeding may help.
Some newborns may be more prone to hiccups than other infants. If your baby tends to hiccup frequently, start a feeding when the baby is relaxed. Waiting too long may increase the likelihood of hiccups since being hungry may upset the baby.
Of course, hiccups may have no effect on feeding at all. Babies can often feed and sleep with the hiccups. Many expectant mothers may also notice episodes of fetal hiccups in the womb.
When Hiccups Are Dangerous
Hiccups are usually nothing more than an annoyance for a healthy baby. For some newborns the hiccups can interfere with healthy respiration. Premature babies may require breathing assistance. The clinical term for machine-aided breathing is ventilation. A study in the Journal of Pediatricsfound that hiccups in infants on ventilation were associated with significant problems like upper airway obstruction and reduced respiratory frequency.
Talk with your doctor about issues such as hiccups or coughs if your baby requires ventilation. Careful monitoring of newborns may mean that these bodily functions are harmless. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions about your baby’s health during this vulnerable time.
Cause for Concern
Most hiccup episodes last several minutes at the most. You should seek medical attention if your newborn hiccups for hours on end. The cause may be relatively harmless and simple, like a sore throat or something in the ear that is touching the eardrum. Long-term hiccups may be the result of a digestive problem known as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), or a tumor or cyst in the throat.
Kidney problems and diabetes may also trigger hiccups that last for hours. Call your pediatrician if your newborn has hiccups that last all day. Pay attention to other symptoms like changes in feeding and sleeping habits or increased fussiness. The more information you can provide your doctor, the easier it will be to diagnose and treat the problem.
Short-term hiccups in newborns or adults will usually go away on their own. You may have tried a home remedy like sipping on water when you’ve had the hiccups. While there is no medical science to back up the effectiveness of water as a cure for hiccups, it’s still worth a try. You can give your newborn a little sip of water. The swallowing action may be enough to get the diaphragm back under control. Letting your baby suck on a pacifier could also lead to the same positive results.
You may also have tried holding your breath for a few seconds to get the hiccups to stop. Don’t try this with a baby. Simply rocking a newborn or providing a gentle back rub may be just the thing to put an end to hiccups.