Does your baby have a case of the hiccups that just won’t let up? Are their hiccups making it difficult to get in a good feeding session? Or maybe they’re taking in extra air which is leading to more gassiness?
Whatever the case may be, sometimes as parents we want to know how to get rid of baby hiccups––and fast!
Today, we’ll learn all about baby hiccups, what causes them, how to get rid of baby hiccups, and what not to do. Read on mama! Let’s do what we can to make those pesky hiccups vanish.
What causes hiccups for babies?
Hiccups are very common in infant and babies, and even happen while babies are developing in the womb. Do you remember those rhythmical little jumps when your baby was in your belly?
Usually, infants and babies aren’t too bothered by them, and can even sleep through a bout hiccups. However, in some instances, hiccups can disrupt feeding, lead to more gassiness or spit up, and cause frustration for baby.
Hiccups occur when there is a sudden contraction or spasm of the diaphragm which cause the vocal chords to quickly shut. When this happens, air is forced out through the vocal chords, causing that hiccup sound we all know well (source).
So, why do babies get hiccups?
Baby hiccups seems to happen spontaneously and randomly most of the time. In fact, researchers aren’t quite sure what the purpose of hiccups are and why babies are especially prone to them.
However, some evidence suggests that swallowing too much air while feeding, and sudden drops in temperature can cause hiccups (source).
How to Get Rid of Baby Hiccups?
1. Burp your baby
One tried and true method for getting rid of your baby’s hiccups is with a good burping session. There are a couple of ways to do this effectively:
- Put baby against your body with their chin on your shoulder and gently pat and rub baby’s back. Try cupping your hand as your pat them instead of using a flat palm
- Lay your baby on their tummy across your lap with their head slightly higher than the rest of their body. Gently pat and rub their back
- Sit baby in your lap and lean them forward, supporting their chest with your forearm and chin with your hand. Gently pat and rub their back
2. Give your baby a pacifier
While I know pacifier use can be a bit of a hot topic, one thing’s for sure, it can really help ease a bout of hiccups in your baby. When they suck on a pacifier, it can help relax their diaphragm which will cause the hiccups to stop (source).
You can choose a medical grade silicone pacifier to offer your baby. Some babies especially those who are exclusively breastfed may not accept pacifiers. We love these pacifiers as they are ones that my breastfed babies took without a fuss. Plus these come in a super stylish pacifier pod to match your style.
3. Try gripe water
Gripe water is a natural supplement that combines herbs and water to relieve gassiness and digestive upset in babies. Usually, gripe water contains gas-fighting herbs like fennel, ginger, and dill seed.
While it’s mostly used for colic and excessive gas, anecdotally, some mamas have found it to be effective at stopping their baby’s hiccups, too.
Consult with your doctor before giving gripe water to your baby. Also many brands contains sugar and other unwanted additives that is not ideal for your little one.
We recommend this organic brand as they are USDA certified, free of additives, artificial coloring and dyes. This organic gripe water is also gluten, paraben, soy and dairy free. This is very important if your baby has related allergies.
4. Rub you baby’s back
Rubbing your baby’s back can promote relaxation and may help their diaphragm ease more quickly (which will stop the hiccups!). You can do this while baby wearing, with your baby resting against your body, while they lay on your lap or even during tummy time.
5. Distract your baby
Have you ever used distraction to get rid of your own hiccups? I know I have! Sometimes distracting baby with playtime, a board book, fingerplays, or some sing alongs is all it takes for those hiccups to disappear on their own.
Hiccups usually don’t cause discomfort to babies, so this approach to distract and let them go away on their own is very effective.
How NOT to get rid of baby hiccups
I know there are about a million and one suggestions out there for relieving hiccups in adults and children. It’s important not to try anything too crazy to get rid of baby hiccups. Remind yourself that these are very natural and normal!
When it comes to baby hiccups, do not try to scare or startle your baby to get rid of their hiccups, feed them anything besides breastmilk or formula (if they are under 4-6 months of age), bounce or move them in unsafe ways, or try any other unsafe or unproven methods for relieving hiccups.
How to prevent hiccups for babies
If your baby seems to get the hiccups all the time, there are some things you can do to try to prevent them from occurring:
- If you are breastfeeding check your baby’s latch. You don’t want them swallowing too much air while they eat because this can lead to hiccups and excess gas
- If you’re bottle feeding, try to reduce how much air they’re swallowing. Opting for a bottle with a good air vent, or that is marketed as anti-gas or anti-colic can help with this. I highly recommend getting a anti colic bottle because it can make a huge difference with babies who are suffering from colic pain. These Dr. Brown bottles are specifically designed for colicky babies and prevent them from ingesting air. Highly recommend!
- Stop frequently to burp baby. The idea is that the more you help your baby get trapped air out, the less likely they are to get the hiccups
- Bottle or breastfeed in an upright position instead of lying down. Keeping baby at a 45 degree angle during feedings can help prevent trapped air and hiccups.
- Try to keep baby upright after feeding. After your baby eats, try to keep them upright for 20-30 minutes. This is a good tip for preventing gas, spit up, and hiccups. One trick that worked like a charm with my little girl was to use a boppy pillow to keep her upright after the feed. This worked very well as it prevented her from spitting up after every feed. Check this nursing pillow, that is what I used.
Baby hiccupping explained
At the end of the day, baby hiccups are a completely normal part of life. They aren’t a cause for concern, and if they aren’t interfering with your baby’s ability to eat or sleep, there’s really no problem with just letting them go away on their own.
If you do want to move things along, the tips in this article can help you get rid of baby hiccups today. Do you have another tip about how to stop baby hiccups? Chime in below!