Your precious little bundle of joy is such a pleasure to watch and hold, even when they jerk about hiccupping right? As a pregnant lady, chances are you may have felt those baby hiccups while your baby was in your stomach and thought: ‘this is the cutest thing ever!’
Hiccups are normal and a part of life. They are caused when the diaphragm spasms, and are most likely to occur just after the baby has been fed, or when it is most excited. Just because they aren’t likely to cause any harm doesn’t mean you don’t want to get rid of them, so we put a few suggestions in this article on how to stop those hiccups once they’ve started.
1. Feeding time!
As adults people suggest you have a drink of water to solve the hiccup problem, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. The same rule applies for babies here. Giving them a drink of milk, be it from the breast or the bottle, can be a good way to get rid of hiccups.
Make sure that the baby is drinking it at a slow pace, as a quick gulp down will only make more gas build up in their stomach. This can be difficult if you are breast feeding as you can’t always control the speed of your letdown.
If you are bottle feeding try and use a low flow nipple when getting rid of hiccups. And if you’ve heard the old wives tale of drinking out of a cup upside down you can go ahead and try it but no upside down drinking for babies.
2. Soothe with a soother
Giving a baby a soother does kind of the same thing as a bottle or breast would do as it causes sucking and swallowing. This rhythmic sucking can also help to calm the baby and take their mind off the hiccups until they subside.
If you don’t have a soother on hand, don’t substitute it for a sucker or hard candy. These are high in sugar and can be potential choking hazards for young ones.
3. Gripe water
Gripe water is commonly used for excessive stomach pain from gas in babies, but has also been said to help cure baby hiccups. Gripe water has not been proven but could be worth a try.
Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the label with regards to how to administer the gripe water and how much to give. Gripe water has a wide variety of ingredients, so be sure to consult with a doctor before administering this. The last thing you want is a hiccupping baby having an allergic reaction.
4. Distract them with food
If your baby is at an age where solid foods are okay, then try and give them a little something soft to eat. Some suggestions include mashed bananas, applesauce or pablum (baby cereal).
Since eating involves swallowing, this can also help the body focus on that process and ‘forget about’ hiccupping. That being said you should never force a child to eat if they are not hungry so only use this option if they seem genuinely interested in the food.
5. Let them pass on their own
Giving the little one time to calm their diaphragm on their own can take time and patience, but sometimes it’s the best thing to do. Every now and then you just have to wait it out and let the hiccups run their course. Go about your daily routine as if the hiccups are not there and before you know it they may have ‘magically’ disappeared.
6. Calm them down, take the focus off the hiccups
As the hiccups come from a contracting diaphragm, it’s important to relax the diaphragm to get rid of them. This is usually easier said than done, so have a little patience.
To calm a baby try using a soothing voice and even singing to them. Rub their back gently or slowly rock them back and forth. Try reading a story or playing simple games like ‘pat-a-cake’ or ‘peek-a-boo’ so they begin to focus on something other than the hiccups.
Go for a peaceful walk outside or have them bounce gently in their bouncy chair. If they get calm to the point of falling asleep (even while hiccuping) that is okay and can be a good way for the body to relax and for the hiccups to pass.
7. Tone it down a notch
Sometimes hiccups are unavoidable and just happen. Sometimes there is a cause for the hiccups and you know what created them. With babies, some common causes of hiccups include: getting overly excited, feeding too quickly or big giggle or laughing fits.
If your baby’s hiccups bother you (or if it seems like they’re bothering them) then you may want to avoid situations where you know hiccups will occur.
Not that you’d ever want to limit the giggling or laughter of your baby, but if the hiccups happen regularly look for a pattern and try and stop them before they begin.
8. Stay the course
Sometimes, a rapid change is enough to bring on a case of hiccups. Environmental changes in temperature or rapid changes in emotional feeling can often cause hiccups to show up.
Even though surprising people at an older age can help get rid of their hiccups, this isn’t recommended for babies. Try to keep their surroundings as consistent as possible so the hiccups never turn up.
As with anything going on with your little ones body, if the hiccups persist for a long time, interfere with your child’s eating or sleeping patterns, or if you are just unsure of something then be sure to consult a healthcare professional. This article is not intended to be a substitute for sound medical advice.
So go ahead, help your baby get rid of their hiccups and take joy in the fact that hiccups are temporary, and you’ll see their bright smiling face uninterrupted by hiccups again soon!