Before we talk about hiccups in babies, it is best to understand precisely what hiccups are and what causes them. Hiccups are when your diaphragm, the muscle between your chest and your abdomen, contracts involuntarily. Each time your diaphragm contracts, your vocal cords close, and that is what produces the “hiccup” sound.
Everyone is familiar with hiccups. We all experience them from time to time, typically less often as we grow older. In adults, they often occur after a big meal, drinking a cold drink, or as a result of sudden excitement. They won’t do you any harm and usually go away after a few minutes on their own.
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Hiccups in babies usually last longer than in adults. They don’t cause pain or discomfort to the baby, and they usually disappear on their own after a few minutes. Babies can sometimes fall asleep even before their hiccups stop.
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Are newborn hiccups normal?
From passing a smile to yawning, babies do the cutest and most adorable things, but sometimes it’s hard to know if what they’re doing is a normal part of their development, especially if you are a first-time parent. When your infant hiccups, it can sound cute and sweet, but you might be wondering, is it normal?
The answer is yes; it is perfectly normal. Hiccups in newborns babies are very common. According to the latest research, 80% of newborns have hiccups. Baby and infant hiccups are entirely harmless, and it is also one of the signs of a baby’s growth and development. Babies are particularly prone to hiccups, even within the womb.
From time to time during your pregnancy, you may have noticed some quick jerks that followed a rhythm. Many expecting mothers will feel it when their babies have hiccups.
It will usually feel like quick, repetitive flutters or light kicks. A baby’s hiccuping in the womb is also completely normal, but it is also a good sign that your baby is most likely developing as it should. Fetal hiccups can indicate your baby’s reflexes, respiratory system, and nervous system are all in working order.
Why do babies hiccup? There are many different potential causes, so don’t panic. Baby hiccups are something that most infants experience, especially during their first year.
Some leading pediatricians believe that infant hiccups are usually caused by feeding (breast, formula, or other foods) or by a drop in temperature that causes the baby to get cold. Hiccups are considered harmless unless they prove persistent enough to interfere with regular feeding and sleeping. Hiccups in babies can also be caused by swallowing air at the time of feeding, an inadequate pacifier, indigestion, or after a crying crisis.
Babies with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may tend to hiccup more frequently, accompanied by spitting up, coughing and irritability. Such behavior should be mentioned to your pediatrician, as should persistent bouts of uncontrollable hiccups, particularly after age 1. Premature babies tend to have more hiccups than full-term babies.
As a newborn’s internal organs develop and mature, hiccups should diminish in intensity and frequency.
If you’re concerned with the frequency of your newborn’s hiccups, start keeping track of them. You can keep a diary documenting exactly when the hiccuping happens. Also, keep track of what happens before the hiccups come out. This may give you an idea of what’s causing your baby’s hiccuping.
How long do baby hiccups last and when should we see the doctor?
Babies can have hiccups several times a day, lasting for 10 minutes or longer. As a general rule, if the baby acts happy and seems comfortable, baby hiccups aren’t a cause for concern.
For new moms and dads, hiccups can be worrisome, but don’t worry. You can just wait it out and allow the hiccups to resolve on their own. According to the Spanish Association of Primary Care, hiccups in newborn babies should not worry you because they are a natural phenomenon that occurs frequently and aren’t a risk to the baby.
However, there are some exceptions. It is recommended to go to the pediatrician if you observe the following symptoms:
• Hiccups last more than 3 hours.
• The baby doesn’t want to eat.
• If they cause weight loss.
• If your baby is crying more than usual, especially during or after feedings.
• If your baby is arching their back excessively during or after feedings.
• Spitting up more than usual.
• If hiccups cause discomfort to the baby, causing crying, restlessness, or fever.
• If they cause frequent vomiting.
Never try these remedies for stopping baby hiccups:
It is not a good idea to rely on old wives’ tales or remedies based solely on tradition or superstition. Here are some things you should never do to try to stop your baby’s hiccups:
· Scare your baby
· Pull their tongue
· Try to make them drink water
· Hold them upside down
These “remedies” are not based on scientific facts or evidence, and they are not effective in stopping hiccups. More importantly, these remedies can be dangerous when performed on a baby.