Hiccups in Newborns

Hiccups are a natural phenomenon for the biological functioning of the human body and we often experience it but they are actually more common in babies. The ones under the age of one are most prone to hiccups. They might also experience hiccups in the womb as they start growing. Hiccups among babies last longer than in adults and might not be discomforting for them. It is actually more discomforting for the parents. Some infants also get amused by their own hiccups and are actually used to it unless it interferes with their feeding or sleeping. Usually after being fed, the babies experience hiccups and can also throw some milk due to the reflux. Therefore one doesn’t need to worry much unless it is uncontrollable.

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During infancy the muscular valve is not completely developed which leads to the reflux. The valve is essential to make the food stay in the stomach. So when the stomach is full with food the acid comes out through the hiccups and the baby can also puke in extreme cases. A lot of people think that it is because of breast feed, but it can happen even with the formula feed. Sometimes when the babies get too excited they can experience hiccups which gets better as their organs develop with time and proper growth.

Some parents also worry that their baby has hiccups due to breathing problems which is not the case as it is actually caused because of involuntary diaphragm contractions due to muscular stimulation. Sometimes change in the temperature around the baby can cause hiccups. That is why it is advisable to avoid extreme changes in the temperature around the baby. Babies who already have gastroesophageal reflux disease experience hiccups more frequently. If the experience is accompanied with cough and itching or irritation in the throat then it is discussed with a pediatrician. .

One of the most common causes is overfeeding. There are many cases where the mothers feed their child excessively and at once rather than giving smaller and more frequent amounts throughout the day. This can cause a lot of discomfort to the child as during this stage the muscular valve that helps the food stay in the stomach has not been completely developed. This can also cause acid reflux.

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How to get rid of hiccups in newborns?

For expecting moms fetal hiccups can be exciting or discomforting but it is very normal for them to experience this. What is amusing about it is that a bodily phenomenon can be felt both by the mother and the baby! Fetal hiccups occur as the diaphragm contracts and the baby sucks more amniotic fluid.

Some measures that can be considered to treat baby’s hiccups:

  • Feeding the baby in the right position is very important. Most of the mothers get it wrong in the initial days. It is necessary to have an upright position while feeding the baby.
  • One should not let the baby sleep or lie down right after the feed. Holding for some time after every feed is important.
  • Overfeeding should be avoided at all costs. It is always better to give more frequent and smaller feeds.
  • If the hiccups persist for a long time then one should visit a doctor for a better advice.
  • In order to make the baby burp a gentle rubbing on the back is enough. Giving some warm water also works. The baby should not be handled in a rough manner.
  • Gripe water comes in handy for such problems. It not only helps deal with hiccups but also prevents intestinal discomforts. This has no scientific reasoning but a lot of mothers have been using it.
  • The feed should also be given when the child is not too hungry as it prevents excessive hiccupping.
  • Feeding should also be done with ease and in a calm atmosphere where the child doesn’t get distracted. If the child is hiccupping during feeding then it should be immediately stopped.
  • Swallowing air is also another reason for hiccups to occur. Drinking milk too quickly can make the baby swallow more air. Thus the mother should make sure that the baby is sucking and gulping the milk properly. If the baby is making a lot of noise during gulping and sucking the milk then it should be changed.
  • If the baby doesn’t stop hiccupping the you can place some sugar under the tongue which is also very useful. However this doesn’t have any kind scientific support but is still very effective just like the gripe water. Swallowing sugar makes the diaphragm contract properly which will further prevent hiccups.
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