Has your baby been hiccuping constantly? We all know how annoying it can be to suffer from a hiccup fit. While hiccups are not inherently dangerous, they can be uncomfortable.
Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to help your baby get rid of its hiccups. Read on to learn how to get rid of a baby’s hiccups.
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How do Hiccups Work, Anyway?
While it certainly feels like hiccups can come out of nowhere, this is not the case. Hiccups are a result of the diaphragm contracting and the vocal cords quickly closing. The quick closing of the vocal cords is what created the ‘hiccup’ sound.
While hiccups affect and annoy adults, you may think that babies also become irritated by hiccups. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, many developing babies get hiccups even before they’re born. And, many babies can sleep through a bout of hiccups without feeling disturbed.
Are Hiccups Dangerous for Babies?
While you may think your baby is bothered by their hiccups, this is not the case. As we mentioned, many babies can sleep through a bout of hiccups. And, hiccups rarely interfere with a baby’s ability to breathe.
However, if your baby’s hiccups last for more than a few hours, you may want to consult with a doctor.
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Tip #1: Give Your Little One a Break During Feeding Time
Even though hiccups aren’t dangerous for babies, it does seem that hiccups are especially common in babies and newborns. Feeding time is the most common contributor to hiccups.
Make sure you take breaks from feeding your baby to burp it, as burping your baby can help get rid of excess gas. You should take breaks whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby. When breastfeeding, you should burp the baby after you switch breasts.
Tip #2: Be Patient and Wait
While it may seem obvious to wait out the hiccups, many parents get stressed and anxious when their baby is hiccuping.
Just as hiccups usually go away on their own for adults, so too do hiccups typically go away on their own for babies. If your baby is under one year old, they will hiccup fairly often. Therefore, letting your baby be is probably your best bet.
If the hiccups aren’t bothering your baby, you can let the hiccups run their course. However, if you don’t interfere and the hiccups don’t stop after a few hours, it may be time to call your doctor. While it’s rare, there’s a chance the hiccups are a sign of a more serious issue.
For example, hiccups can sometimes be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Reflux can cause stomach acid to go back up into your baby’s esophagus. However, if your baby suffers from GERD, hiccups won’t be the only symptom. Babies who suffer from GERD will also experience spitting up, coughing, crying, irritability, and arching of the back, especially after feeding.
While GERD isn’t super dangerous, you should still speak to your doctor about how to help your baby manage it.
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Tip #3: Talk With Your Doctor About Gripe Water
In some cases, gripe water can be helpful for babies who have a history of hiccups, upset stomachs, and diarrhea.
Gripe water is a combo of water and herbs that’s believed to help with colic and other digestive issues. However, it’s important to note that no concrete scientific evidence exists to support the effectiveness of gripe water.
The type of herbs you use to make gripe water can vary, but many people use fennel, chamomile, ginger, or cinnamon. If you don’t have time to make gripe water at home, you can also buy it from the store. Just make sure to check the ingredients before buying, and avoid buying products that contain vegetable carbon, sucrose, or alcohol, as all of these ingredients can have adverse effects on your baby.
Of course, you should speak to your pediatrician first before giving your baby gripe water or adding anything new to your baby’s diet.
Related: When Can Babies Have Water?
While hiccups are normal and there’s no way you can prevent them altogether, there are ways you can reduce the frequency of your baby’s hiccups. To prevent hiccups and help your baby with their digestion, you can:
- Make sure your baby is calm before feeding them. Don’t wait until your baby is so hungry that they’re crying and upset before the feeding begins.
- Avoid any heavy activities after feeding your baby, such as high-energy play or bouncing them up and down.
- Keep your baby upright for about 20 to 30 minutes after feeding them.
As you can see, hiccups in babies aren’t a major cause for concern. Often, you just need to wait it out, and the hiccups will go away on their own. Using gripe water or giving your little one a break during feeding time can go a long way to cure hiccups.
You can also prevent hiccups by making sure your baby is calm before feeding them. In some cases, a pacifier may also help your baby.
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