Hiccups are a natural occurrence. Babies get them. Adults get them too. But when your little one has hiccups and it seems to put them in discomfort (or so you think), you want to know immediately how to get rid of baby hiccups.
Surprisingly, hiccups don't actually bother your baby!
Hiccups happen when the diaphragm contracts and there is a quick closing of the vocal chords, which makes the "hiccup" sounds. But it doesn't actually affect your baby very much.
In fact, babies can sleep even through a bout of hiccups. Despite that, if you really want to know how to get rid of baby hiccups, there are some tips you can follow.
How to Get Rid of Baby Hiccups
1. Burp your baby
Sometimes, your baby might develop hiccups during a feed. When this happens, just pause the feed for a while and burp your little one. This might help to get rid of the hiccups. It also helps to place your child in an upright position (which is typically done while burping them), to help release the excess gas in the body that is causing the hiccups.
Tip: Rub their backs slowly in an upwards motion (from waist to shoulder) while they are sitting upright. If this doesn't work, move on to gentle pats. Try to do this in a still chair, rather than a rocking chair or a swing as this might prolong the hiccups or cause nausea.
2. Give your baby a pacifier
If the first step doesn't seem to be working, you can try to give your child a pacifier. The motion of sucking on the pacifier will help relax the diaphragm and possibly stop the hiccups.
Tip: Try not to let your baby suck on other things, like your fingers, to relieve their hiccups. Only use pacifiers because they are clean and appropriately sized for your baby. Or you can breastfeed.
3. Feed your baby gripe water
Tip: Before feeding your baby gripe water, please read through the ingredients of the gripe water. Some brands still put trace amounts of alcohol or artificial sweeteners in the gripe water.
4. Distract your baby
Sometimes, just making your baby laugh or distracting them by playing with them will help them stop hiccuping.
Tip: Find an activity that calms your baby down, rather than exciting them further.
5. Let it run its course
If all else fails, let the hiccups run its course. More often than not, the hiccups should go away within 10 minutes. However, if the hiccups persist for prolonged periods, then it might be time to consult a doctor.
Tip: Don't interfere with your baby's hiccups. Just monitor it for a while.
Other Do's and Don'ts When It Comes to Baby Hiccups
- If the hiccups occur naturally and not during feeding, offer your baby some milk, either by nursing her or from a bottle. The swallowing action might help her diaphragm to get back in control.
- Hold your newborn and rock her in your arms to soothe her.
- Feed your little one when she is relaxed and don’t wait too long between feeds so she won’t get too upset.
- Do not pinch your baby’s nose to make her hold her breath for a few seconds because this can hurt her and cause suffocation.
- Avoid giving your newborn some water to drink, as this can be harmful for babies under six months old.
- Do not cover your baby’s nose and mouth by making her breathe into a paper bag as she could suffocate.
- Refrain from giving your bub peppermint, lemon, vinegar, peanut butter or pickle juice (popular home remedies for hiccups) as this can give her digestive problems and is not good for her health.
- Do not attempt to “scare the hiccups away” by startling or shocking your baby because this will probably upset her further.
If your baby hiccups, spits up and coughs frequently during feeding, it could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is essentially baby heartburn.
Now you know how to get rid of baby hiccups. Try out these methods and see if it works for your little one. If you know of any other 'secrets' to stopping the hiccups, let us know too!