Hiccups happen when an infant’s diaphragm contracts and spasms. As a result, air is forced to go out through the vocal chords which have closed, causing the hiccup sound. The diaphragm is a large muscle located along the bottom of the rib cage, which moves up and down as a person breathes.
It is important to note that while adults tend to find hiccups to be uncomfortable, they do not tend to bother infants as much and it is perfectly fine to let your baby be until the hiccups stop on their own. That said, there are several things you can try if you would like to help your baby stop hiccuping. Read on for ideas on how to stop baby hiccups.
How to Stop Hiccups
Burp Your Baby
When your stomach fills with air it can cause the diaphragm to be pushed on and spasming to begin. Instead of continuously feeding your baby until the bottle is empty, it could help to pause your feeding sessions and burp your little one in an effort to reduce the amount of air present in the stomach.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests stopping feeding to burp a bottle-fed baby after every two to three ounces, while a breastfed baby should be burped after feeding off each breast.
Rub Their Back
Rubbing your baby’s back and rocking them back and forth could help to relax your little one, and could possibly help when looking for ideas on how to stop baby hiccups.
Use a Pacifier
The use of a pacifier could potentially cause the diaphragm to relax, putting an end to those pesky hiccups.
A mixture of herbs and water, gripe water is typically used as a treatment for colic and stomach problems. While there is no scientific evidence that gripe water actually does help hiccups, some people choose to try it as there is little risk involved and it is a natural treatment. Simply pour it in a sippy cup and try your luck with having your kid drink that stuff!
How to Prevent Hiccups From Happening
While hiccups cannot always be prevented, we have found some ideas that are worth the try and could help when looking for ideas on how to stop baby hiccups.
- feed the baby before they are too hungry, this will help to keep them calm
- feed your baby smaller amounts more frequently
- sit your baby upright for at least half an hour after each meal
- keep the bottle positioned so that air is not making its way to the nipple
- make sure your baby has a good latch, covering the entire nipple, whether it be on the bottle or breast
Things Not To Do
While the following suggestions are traditionally thought of to bring on relief from hiccuping, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that they actually do in fact work. In addition, these remedies are actually dangerous to try on an infant under 12 months of age and could cause distress. It is unlikely that any of these will actually put a stop to hiccups, but will give more problems instead:
- scaring the baby
- pulling their tongue
- making the baby drink water while upside down
When to Go to Your Pediatrician
If your baby is having hiccups often, you may want to consult your pediatrician as there could be an underlying medical condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux (GER). Those who suffer from this have partially digested food and stomach acid rise back up through the food pipe, causing severe discomfort. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication if this is the case to help.
That said, there are certain times when you will want to contact your doctor concerning your child’s hiccups.
- extended periods of crying, particularly when eating
- excessive arching of the back before or after feeding
- spitting up more than usual
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