How To Get Rid Of Baby Hiccups – Just like adults, babies get hiccups. Unlike a lot of adults, many babies sleep through them. Baby hiccups are a reflex that may be associated with the sucking reflex. Some infants are more prone to hiccuping than others. Although hiccups in newborn babies are quite normal, many parents find frequent hiccups annoying. It is helpful to know about newborn hiccups and most of all, how to get rid of infant hiccups.

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How To Get Rid Of Baby Hiccups
Newborn Baby Hiccups

Before you learn how to get rid of baby hiccups, the development of baby hiccups is important to understand. Hiccups occur when there is a sudden involuntary contraction in the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm assists with breathing as its contraction inflates the lungs. When this muscle suddenly spasms in combination with the sudden closing of the vocal chords, the hiccup sound is created [1].

This process occurs in both babies and adults. The only difference is that babies have an easier time sleeping through these episodes.

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Leading Causes of Baby Hiccups
Leading Causes Of Baby Hiccups

Several factors can cause baby hiccups:


If you feed your baby too much formula, your baby’s stomach can become distended. This causes the stomach to press against the diaphragm and cause the diaphragm to spasm [2].

Improper Breastfeeding

Sometimes a newborn has a hard time latching on the mother’s nipple properly. This can result in the infant swallowing a lot of air. The stomach can become distended and press against the diaphragm. If the diaphragm contracts in a spasm, bouts of hiccups follow.

Change in stomach temperature

Some babies get hiccups when there is a sudden change in temperature in their stomachs. If you feed a baby something cold, this may occur.

Gastroesophageal reflux or GER

Aside from feeding related issues, infant hiccups can be triggered by a digestive issue called gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux. This happens when half-digested food and stomach acid revert into the esophagus causing discomfort and a burning sensation. This can also cause diaphragm irritation and subsequent hiccups. Signs that your baby has GER include crying all the time, spitting up more than normal and arching the back after breastfeeding or formula feeding your baby. Sometimes, the baby won’t breastfeed. Talk to your doctor immediately if your baby appears to be in discomfort during feedings [3].

Quick Excitement

Babies get excited easily. This reaction can cause your infant to inadvertently swallow too much air.

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How To Get Rid Of Baby HiccupsHow To Help Your Baby Get Rid Of Baby Hiccups

Wives’ Tales

Unfortunately, there are many wives’ tales that have gained traction for dealing with when a baby has hiccups. These urban legends are incorrect and some can be dangerous for your baby.

  • DO NOT give your baby gum to chew.
  • DO NOT have your baby swallow a tablespoon full of sugar.
  • DO NOT startle your baby to make them suddenly inhale air.
  • DO NOT have your baby drink water upside down.
  • DO NOT give your baby a teaspoon of peanut butter.
  • DO NOT have your baby sniff pepper.
  • DO NOT have your baby chew on a lemon.
  • DO NOT feed your baby gripe water. Gripe water is a non-prescription drink that often includes a combination of sugar, alcohol, water, herbs and sodium bicarbonate [4].  Although one of many popular folk remedies, it is not recommended. Babies should drink only breastmilk or formula. Some studies demonstrated that gripe water contained bacteria [5].

How To Prevent Baby Hiccups
How To Prevent Baby Hiccups

Sometimes the best way to forestall baby hiccups is through prevention. Your baby has probably been hiccuping for a while. Foetal hiccups often occur inside the womb and can be felt through the abdomen. Try the following methods to prevent baby hiccups:

Feed your baby before they become hungry

One way to prevent hiccups from happening is to feed your baby even before hunger hits so that they will not suckle too fast.

Feed your baby small amounts

Instead of feeding your baby in one sitting, give them small amounts first to get the belly used to it. In other words, double the feedings, but halve the amounts.

Reposition during feeding

Position the bottle or breast in such a way where there is no air trapped near the nipple that can be inhaled. By doing this, your little one will be less likely to swallow air during feeding.

Burp your baby

Burping your baby on a regular basis while feeding can help get rid of excess air.

Newborn baby hiccups are normal and only necessitate a visit to the pediatrician when they cause your baby discomfort. Understand the most common triggers for your particular baby and prevention are great ways for how to get rid of baby hiccups. Keep track of when your child develops hiccups. This hiccup diary can help determine if your child gets them most when startled, excited or when feeding. Keeping a hiccup “diary” is a good tool if you choose to visit the doctor.

How To Get Rid Of Infant Hiccups
How To Get Rid Of Infant Hiccups

6 Methods For How To Get Rid Of Baby Hiccups

Method 1 – Distract your baby

When hiccups have already started, a good distraction can make your baby forget about their hiccups.

Method 2 – Take a break from feeding

For babies who have hiccups while feeding, pause during feedings. Have your baby sit up while rubbing their back. Keeping your little one calm and relaxed lessens the intake of air and minimizes the contractions of their diaphragm. Feed breastfed babies in an upright position to minimize excess air that is consumed while suckling from the nipple.

Method 3 – Burp your baby

Excess air bubbles form in your baby’s tummy while feeding which can trigger hiccups. Burping your baby properly can clear out the gas bubbles in their tummy to stop the hiccups.

Method 4 – Check your baby’s bottle

It is possible that the baby bottle that you are using during feeding triggers hiccups. Certain designs trap more air that your baby can swallow. Try switching to a different type of bottle until you find one that suits your baby.

Method 5 – Let it run its course

Sometimes feeding is not the cause of hiccups. The hiccups may just need to run their course.

Method 6 – Offer a pacifier

Give your baby a pacifier as the sucking motion will help the diaphragm relax. If your baby is a “pacifier baby,” choose one with a good fit to prevent taking in extra air.

When To Talk To Your Pediatrician
When To Talk To Your Pediatrician

If spit ups and apparent discomfort present during feeding along with your baby’s hiccups, your little one may be suffering from GERD or heartburn. A visit to the doctor is warranted. Although most babies outgrow this condition, there are some who need medical help.

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How To Get Rid Of Baby Hiccups Resources:

[1]   Healthy Children; Burping, Hiccups, and Spitting Up, November 02, 2009.
[2]   Medline Plus; Hiccups.
[3]   Medline Plus; Gastroesophageal reflux disease – children.
[4]   Victoria State Government; Colic.
[5]   US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Is gripe water baby-friendly?, B. Adhisivam, April 2012.

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