The hiccups in babies is very common, especially in the first days after birth and may already arise in the womb in the last days of pregnancy. Hiccups occur due to contractions of the diaphragm and respiratory muscles, as these are still very immature, and end up being easily stimulated or irritated.
The stimuli that usually causes the hiccups are when the baby swallows a lot of air when he suckles, when they become very full or if they suffer from reflux, for example, so to stop the hiccups, some tips are to put the baby to suck on something or to breastfeed, so that you can distinguish when the child has already suckled enough, in order for you to put them vertically to make them burp, for example.
Therefore, episodes of hiccups are not usually worrisome, however, if they are intense enough to disrupt sleep or a baby's eating habits, it is necessary to seek care from the pediatrician for a more detailed evaluation of the possible causes and indication of the treatment.
What to do to stop hiccups
Some tips to make the baby stop hiccuping are:
- Placing the baby to breastfeed: this can be a good solution in the moment, especially if it is time for the baby to eat, because by sucking he can decrease the reflex of the diaphragm;
- Observe the position at the time of the feeding: keeping the baby with his head higher, decreasing the chances that they swallow air during suction can greatly reduce episodes of hiccups;
- Taking intervals during feedings and putting the baby vertically: this can be a good strategy if it is common for the baby to have hiccups after breastfeeding, because this way the baby belches and decreases the excess gas in his stomach;
- Knowing when to stop: It is important to know when the baby has eaten enough because a full stomach facilitates episodes of reflux of contractions of the diaphragm;
- Put them upright: if the baby is experiencing hiccups and they have a full stomach, it is recommended you leave them in a position to burp, standing up, as it facilitates the release of gas in the stomach;
- Warm the baby up: cold can also trigger hiccups, so whenever the temperature is low, it is recommended you keep the baby warm or warm them up;
Usually with these measures, the hiccups in babies disappears by themselves and does not need to be treated since it does not pose any health risk, being just a bit uncomfortable. However, you should avoid homemade techniques such as scaring or shaking the baby, as they have little effect and can be harmful to the child.
Hiccups in baby's in the womb
Hiccups in baby's that are still in the womb can be caused by them still learning how to breathe. Therefore, during pregnancy, the baby's hiccups in the uterus can be felt by the mother or during an ultrasound.
When to go to the pediatrician
It is recommended you see your pediatrician when your baby has very frequent hiccups that prevent him from eating or sleeping, as it may be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux, which may occur when food comes back from the stomach into the mouth.