Hiccups are very common among newborn babies and even in foetal stage. Hiccups occur due to sudden repeated contraction of diaphragm when it is irritated or stimulated due to any reason. There are several contractions per minute. It creates “hic” sound due to rush of air in lungs due to contraction of diaphragm which results in closure of vocal cords.
Hiccups occur involuntarily. Usually hiccups last for short period of time and vanish on its own. No treatment is required for hiccups. Infants tend to have hiccups frequently up to age of one year.
Why Do Babies Get Hiccups?
Hiccups start in foetal stage itself. The exact cause of hiccups is not known. One thought is that hiccups occur due to immaturity of foetal organs. As baby grows and its organs mature then baby gets hiccups less frequently like an adult. Another thought is that it is nature’s way to strengthen diaphragm.
Contractions make the diaphragm strong in order to facilitate breathing after birth. Occasionally frequent attacks of hiccups in foetus may indicate cord compression that can occur when umbilical cord gets wrapped around foetal neck.
Foetal hiccups are felt like rhythmic movements which are different from normal kicks. Ultrasound is necessary to rule out cord compression if mother feels these movements more frequently and if the intensity or duration of hiccups increases.
- Sudden drop of temperature is one of the causes of hiccups in infants.
- Feeding can also cause hiccups.
- Babies who may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease will have more frequent attacks of hiccups. Hiccups are associated with spit up, coughing and baby will be irritable.
- Many babies get hiccups after laughing or when they get excited.
- Premature babies get hiccups more frequently.
How To Get Rid Of Hiccups In Newborn Baby?
Hiccups are normal and usually harmless. Hiccups disappear on its’ own. Hiccups do not require any treatment. Sometimes due to persistent hiccups baby may become irritable. One can try simple thing to stop the hiccups.
- Give baby one or two sips of water. Help baby to stay calm and relax. Play with baby to distract its’ mind off hiccups.
- Feed your baby as sucking action may stop hiccups by helping diaphragm to relax. But if baby is uncomfortable do not feed the baby forcefully.
- If baby gets hiccups after feeding then help baby to burp by holding baby in upright position on shoulder and gently pat on the back of the baby. Burping helps to ease pressure on diaphragm. Overfeeding should be avoided.
- If hiccups are due to sudden drop in temperature, cover baby with warm rug and hold baby close to you to keep the baby warm and comfortable.
- It is important that parents need not worry too much for short attacks of baby hiccups. It usually stops in few minutes but sometimes it may last for thirty minutes. As baby reaches first year hiccups will become rare thing.
- Consult your doctor if there is increase in frequency or duration or intensity of hiccups.