Baby Hiccups

Are you aware that babies can hiccup even in the womb? It may sound unreal, but it is true. Babies under 1 year old experience hiccups very often. Hiccups occur as a result of small contractions in the diaphragm of the baby. It often stops by itself, but sometimes hiccups may make your baby uncomfortable. There are instances where the hiccups can even come in the way of feeding. When this happens there are tricks you can employ to help alleviate the discomfort. This article will help you understand hiccups and how to reduce their severity and the discomfort it causes when it happens.

Are Baby Hiccups Normal?

Hiccups are common in children, especially those under 1 year. Nevertheless, it is important that you know that hiccups are totally normal. Hiccups are small and sudden contractions of the diaphragm, which are usually caused by a stimulation of the muscle or an irritant.

Lynnette Mazur, a pediatrician at Shriner’s Hospital in Houston, Texas and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center states that infant hiccups can come as a result of feeding (formula, breast milk and other foods). He also states that sometimes a decrease in temperature can cause a baby to get cold and that would lead to hiccups.

According to Mazur hiccup is not a nuisance to your baby. As a parent, you do not have to worry about your baby’s hiccups, especially if they do not interfere with activities such as sleeping or eating. He also states that babies suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease hiccup more frequently than normal and healthy babies. It is, therefore, advisable that you talk to your pediatrician if your baby hiccups often with him or her spitting out a lot or he or she may even seem cranky.

How to Cure Baby Hiccups

1. Change Feeding Habits

There are various ways you can employ to change the feeding habits of your baby. These include:

Feed More Frequently

Reduce the rate at which you feed your baby. Sometimes hiccups can occur as a result of the fast flow of milk from the breast to the mouth and into the stomach. This may lead to distension of the stomach and result in hiccups. Instead of giving your baby one big feeding at a time, try dividing it into two separate feedings. This will reduce the speed of the flow of the milk and the amount the baby takes in at a time, thereby reducing the rate of occurrence of hiccups.

Burp Your Baby

You can also reduce the speed at which your baby takes in milk by burping your baby when it is time to change from one breast to another during breastfeeding. In case you feed your baby artificially, take time out to burp your baby when you are halfway through the feeding. This will prevent the baby from being too full and therefore prevent hiccupping.

Change Feeding Positions

The position you take when feeding your baby is also very important. Sitting your baby upright during feeding can help prevent the baby’s stomach from being distended and thereby swallowing too much air during feeding. Moreover, changing positions during feeding can also help prevent air from settling in the stomach.

Make Sure Baby Is Latching on Correctly

Another way to prevent hiccup is to make sure that your baby is latched on correctly. Pay attention to the sound your baby makes when you are feeding him or her. The swallowing of air usually causes the gurgling and gulping sound that you may hear.

Hold the Bottle at 45 Degrees

Holding your bottle at an angle of 45-degree during feeding will cause the air to settle in the bottom of the bottle. The settled air in the bottom will not be swallowed by the baby and thereby the incidence of hiccups is reduced.

2. Check If the Baby Has Reflux

Sometimes hiccups may occur as a result of gastroesophageal reflux. This condition makes the babies regurgitate into the esophagus and this causes stomach pain and hiccups. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Colicky behavior
  • Frequent spitting
  • Stomach pain

Talk to your pediatrician if you think your baby is suffering from gastroesophageal reflux. Your pediatrician will make you know the treatment and management options available.

3. Distract Your Baby

Games and toys can help distract your baby during an episode of hiccups and these toys and games can also help get rid of the hiccups. You can play peekaboo with your baby; give a rattle to your baby to play with or give him/her a chew toy.

4. Try Sugar

Placing a little sugar under the tongue of your baby can help reduce the incidence of hiccup. Although, there is no scientific backing to this, it has been proved to work. It is believed that the effort to swallow the sugar granule will displace the diaphragm to its normal state and thereby prevent hiccups from happening. You can also do this by placing a pacifier in sugar and put it in the mouth of your baby.

5. Massage Your Baby’s Back

A gentle back rub may loosen the muscle of your child, thereby relaxing the diaphragm. The massage should be directed upwards, from the bottom, of the back to the shoulder. This massage is most effective when the baby is positioned upright. A massage may take a few minutes to start working.

6. Try Gripe Water

There is no scientific evidence that supports the use of gripe water to treat hiccups. Nevertheless, many nursing mothers have used gripe water to treat hiccups successfully. Gripe water soothes intestinal discomfort in the children that may lead to hiccups.

To use gripe water to treat hiccups, start by dissolving a little amount of the gripe water in a cup of water and give it to your baby. Your baby may be allergic to some of the components of the gripe water such as alcohol, dill, fennel, ginger and others. If so, then avoid the use of gripe water.

7. Experience of Other Moms

I have a daughter who is 8 days today. She experiences the hiccups twice in a day. When the hiccups occur, I massage her and it works every time. It usually takes less than 5 minutes, 1-2 minutes on the average. I also rock my daughter while massaging her. The rocking is not to put her to sleep, but to soothe her.


Do not use a remedy just because someone told you about it. Usually such remedies could harm your baby. Do not ever try any of the following remedies:

  • Slapping the back of your baby.
  • Pulling the tongue of your baby.
  • Pressing the eyeball of your baby.
  • Shocking your baby in the bid of “scaring” the hiccups away.
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