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Hiccups in Newborns

Ningthoujam Sandhyarani Nov 5, 2018
Babies having hiccups should not really get you panicking. New mothers, though, are bound to get a little paranoid to see their child getting hiccups incessantly. Learn about how to tackle them.
The occurrence of hiccups is not considered to be an uncommon phenomenon. It is an annoying condition that affects people of all ages. In fact, it is fairly normal for even babies to experience a hiccup attack. Many women report to have experienced their child having hiccups even during pregnancy.
New mothers, however, can be bewildered when they see their child experiencing hiccups for the first time, and may not be aware of how to stop them.
Firstly, understand that this isn't a cause for major worry, as there are simple ways to tackle this problem. To begin with, let us look at what causes hiccups in humans, before learning how to put a stop to them.
The diaphragm, which is a dome-shaped muscular sheet that separates the chest and the abdominal portion, can get irritated due to certain reasons. This gives a sudden pull to the muscle sheet (which feels like a spasm), and leads us to inhale forcefully.
Following this, the vocal cords instinctively shut. When the inhaled air meets the vocal cords, it produces the peculiar hiccup sound.

Causes of Hiccups in Newborn Babies

Newborns are highly prone to the development of hiccups, especially during the first few weeks after birth. As of now, the exact cause of hiccups in newborn infants has not been identified.
It is believed that they develop hiccups in the same way as adults do. In newborn babies, a hiccup episode usually lasts for a few minutes to a few hours. Following are some of the probable causes of hiccups in infants.
1. Babies tend to hiccup if they swallow a lot of air when they are bottle-fed.
2. Excitement of the nerves that regulate the diaphragm can also result in hiccups.

3. In newborns, drinking milk and/or baby formula may act as a trigger.
4. An upset baby tends to drink her milk very quickly, thus resulting in hiccups.

5. Babies having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) tend to hiccup more frequently.
Several possibilities have been cited regarding the occurrence of hiccups in babies. Nevertheless, a very few theories are medically accepted. Doctors are of the opinion that these could be a sign of an immature neurological system.

How to Get Rid of Hiccups

Hiccup remedies for newborns differ from the ones that are applicable to adults. For instance, you can't really expect a newborn to take slow sips of water, or take deep breaths.
Hence, such remedial measures for hiccups cannot recommended for babies and toddlers. Here are some tips for you to consider -
1. Always monitor the newborn baby during feeding and ensure that she drinks slowly.

2. Frequently burping the baby while feeding (during breastfeeding and bottle-feeding) is an effective way to stop hiccups.
3. Change the feeding position and try to comfort the baby, so that she gets distracted from repeated hiccups.

4. Feeding the newborn before she is hungry minimizes the chances of developing hiccups.
5. Make sure that you feed the baby when she is calm and not excited, so that she drinks it slowly.

6. In case the hiccups start while feeding, withdraw the feed, pat the baby, and allow her to relax before feeding.
7. Do not overfeed the baby at once; you'd rather feed her small portions at regular intervals.
Hiccups in newborn infants is considered normal behavior, or even a reflex. A common query among concerned parents is how to prevent hiccups in newborns. Feeding warm water in a bottle helps in reducing the same.
However, consult a qualified pediatrician, in case your baby experiences persistent hiccups or if they last for more than two days.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical professional.