Baby hiccups may take place very often, and in general, there is no need to be afraid of it. Many pregnant women periodically feel rhythmic contractions in their womb and know for sure that this is a manifestation of hiccups in the fetus. It may last from several minutes to an hour. In the first months of life, babies can often hiccup too, and this condition does not cause them the slightest discomfort. But for parents, baby hiccups can be a signal for action.
How Do Hiccups Appear?
It is a mistake to believe that if a baby has hiccups, it means that he/she has breathing problems. These are completely different processes. Hiccup is a sudden contraction of the diaphragm, the causes of which can be physical pressure or irritation. In small children, the diaphragmatic muscle is very sensitive to all kinds of irritating factors. That’s why newborns may hiccup often and for a long time. With age, hiccups disappear and occur very rarely.
Possible Causes of Baby Hiccups
Hiccups can occur in babies as a result of stretching of the stomach walls. It puts pressure on the diaphragm, causing the reflex contraction.
If during feeding the baby swallows air with food, this can also cause hiccups. This reason is the easiest to recognize. Hiccups in this case arise immediately after eating and pass almost immediately when excess air comes out.
The reason is the same: stretched intestinal walls put pressure on the stomach, as a result of which there is irritation of the diaphragmatic muscle.
Reaction to Changes in Body Temperature
The nervous system of the newborn is very unstable to external stimuli. A sudden movement, fright, loud music, can cause both cry and laughter, which, in turn, often leads to hiccups.
With a sharp sound, bright light, in an unusual environment, among new people or animals, the child becomes nervous, reflexively causing muscle contractions.
A simple thirst may also become a reason of baby hiccups.
What to Do If the Baby Hiccup?
Ensure that the baby does not swallow air when feeding. Breaks between meals should not be long. Otherwise the hungry baby will be greedily eating, which will lead to air in the stomach.
After feeding, hold the crumb upright and wait until he regurgitates the excess air.
Within 15 minutes after eating, avoid laying your baby on the back.
Feed the baby in small portions.
A breastfeeding mother must follow a special diet. It is necessary to refuse the products causing gas formation.
If the child hiccups from the cold, dress the baby warmer or cover with a blanket.
Ordinary warm water helps both children and adults from hiccups. Give a drink to a newborn or attach the baby to the breast.
If you notice that your baby’s hiccups are obsessive, consult your doctor to find out why your newborn has hiccups and dispel all doubts about the health of the baby.
How to Deal With Frequent Hiccups In a Newborn?
Causes and treatment of hiccups are interrelated. Only by identifying the cause, you can influence it and eliminate the hiccups.
Hiccups in a newborn baby, due to stretching of the stomach during feeding, will pass if you hold the baby upright. This must be done within 15 minutes after feeding. Hold the baby by the back. This will help the baby to burp the air that has entered the stomach during the feeding process. So the diaphragm will relax as much as possible, and the hiccups will disappear.
Strong hiccups in the newborn, accompanied by weeping and straining tummy, will pass after the discharge of gases. In this case, warming the tummy will help. A warm blanket on the stomach, or close contact with the mother will relieve the spasms, reduce intra-abdominal pressure, irritation of the diaphragm and, as a result, relieve hiccups.
If the baby’s hands and the back are cold, most likely, hiccups are associated with hypothermia. In this case, it is enough to change the diaper, put on warmer clothes or raise the temperature in the room.
If the cause of hiccups was stress, you can try to shift the attention of the child. For example, distract the baby with a toy or some pleasant sound. It will help reduce the intensity of hiccups, or completely get rid of it.
If the hiccups in a newborn don’t pass, it is necessary to look for other causes and solutions to the problem. For example, breastfeeding is an effective way to block hiccups. If the baby consumes some milk, the diaphragm will relax, leading to the elimination of hiccups. But, keep in mind that this method is recommended only when overfeeding is excluded.
The causes and treatment can be very different. That’s why it makes sense to consult a specialist. Especially, if hiccups are accompanied by other symptoms – vomiting, abnormal stool, insufficient weight gain or poor appetite. Long and strong hiccups in a newborn also require a visit to the doctor. It is impossible to identify the causes and prescribe treatment yourself in this case.
Frequent Baby Hiccups: Preventive Measures
Frequent hiccups in the newborn, associated with feeding, will not occur, if you exclude excessive intake of air or milk in the stomach of the baby. To do this, it is recommended to follow the correct technique of applying a baby to the breast. The baby should take not only the mother’s nipple, but also most of the areola. It is also recommended to take breaks during feeding every 5–7 minutes.
If the child receives the formula, it is necessary to pick up such a rubber teat so that the flow is not too strong and the child does not swallow air. When feeding, it is necessary to hold the bottle so that there is no air gap between the teat and the mixture. All these measures will help get rid of excess air as the cause of hiccups.
With strong contractions of the diaphragm in a baby, you should immediately contact a pediatrician. The specialist will indicate the causes and prescribe treatment.
Try to eliminate stress from the life of the child. For example, you can turn off the phones and the incoming call while the baby is sleeping, or reduce the volume of the TV.
If all these measures prove ineffective, it is necessary to take the help of a specialist who will establish the causes and treatment of this ailment.
In most cases, hiccups in newborns do not need treatment. If this phenomenon occurs frequently, prevents the newborn from eating and sleeping, does not stop for more than an hour and causes anxiety, it is better to contact a pediatrician. To exclude pathologies, the doctor will prescribe tests and examinations. In other cases, parents should be patient, apply the necessary preventive measures and wait until the baby grows up a little.