Hiccups after breastfeeding is a common occurrence, and part of a baby’s normal growth. The following article will help explain why a baby gets hiccups after breastfeeding, and lay your worries to rest.
There is an old wives’ tale that says, if you get hiccups, it means someone is missing you. Hiccups are a type of clonus that affects the diaphragm. When air gets trapped under the diaphragm, due to eating, or drinking hurriedly, or due to involuntary muscle spasms, it leads to hiccups.
Newborn babies and infants too suffer from hiccups after breastfeeding, as well as bottle-feeding. Hiccups in babies after breastfeeding are just as normal and harmless as temporary hiccups you and I experience.
What Causes Baby Hiccups?
Hiccups are normal even in fetuses. A tiny fetus of about 6 weeks too, can get hiccups. Many babies who get hiccups are often surprised and amused by sudden jerks they experience due to hiccups. You may find baby hiccups last for a few minutes to up to a few hours. They are usually harmless, unless persistent hiccups interferes with feeding and sleeping patterns of the baby.
A sudden stimulation or irritation of the diaphragm muscles causes hiccups. This usually occurs after a feeding episode, or there is a drop in temperatures causing the baby to feel cold. When a hungry baby feeds too fast, it also swallows air along with milk. This air starts irritating the diaphragm after begin trapped under it.
Sometimes, overfeeding also causes hiccups. The baby’s stomach is too full and causes the diaphragm to develop spasms. Thus, it is always advised to break off a feeding episode. You can do so by switching the nipples while feeding and holding the baby upright for a minute or so. Thus, it will ease the hiccups, and allow the baby to slow down when gulping milk.
In some cases, mother’s diet also influences hiccups in newborns and babies. Whatever the mother eats or drinks, the nutrients are passed on to the baby through breast milk. Thus, making it important to breastfeed your baby.
You may find a baby gets hiccups after breastfeeding, especially after you have consumed soy products, chocolates, citrus fruits, wheat, eggs, caffeine, peanuts or eggs. So, avoid eating anything you suspect causes hiccups in your baby about an hour before you breastfeed.
How to Prevent Baby Hiccups?
There is nothing much that you can do to prevent newborn hiccups after breastfeeding. However, taking a few precautions will lower the chances of hiccups in babies. You need to feed you baby as often as you can, but feed him smaller quantities of milk. This will prevent overfeeding and the stomach won’t be too full to irritate the diaphragm.
You should also make your baby burp after a breastfeeding session. This will allow any excess air swallowed to be released. You should hold your baby in an upright position for about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the milk to be digested and the air to rise up, and be released as a burp.
Pediatricians also recommend that a calm and quite baby should be fed and not a crying or agitated baby. This is because an extremely hungry, agitated, or a baby who is crying, will gulp down more air along with large gulps of milk. This will cause the baby to develop hiccups. Thus, frequent feeding of little quantities of milk will help solve the problem. The baby won’t become extremely hungry as his/her stomach will be full enough. Thus, the infant will be more calm and satisfied, instead of agitated and irritated.
If your baby suffers from frequent hiccups and shows signs of abdominal pain, spitting up food or burping, or shows disinterest in nursing, or tends to arch when feeding, it may indicate gastroesophageal reflux (GER). This is a treatable condition, and should be reported to a pediatrician.
Try different breastfeeding positions and strategies, that help prevent baby hiccups. You can speak to your doctor and know more steps to prevent baby hiccups after breastfeeding. As a mother, one is always worried about their baby’s health. Hiccups, however are a harmless reflex action of the baby’s digestive system.