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ABC’s of Newborns- H is for Hiccups
Phew. Your newborn finished eating and is finally sound asleep. You put them down and are ready to get a few hours of peaceful shut eye yourself. You snuggle into bed, lay your head on your pillow, shit your eyes and…
UGH. Why does it seem like every single time your newborn lets you put them down, they wake up with the hiccups 10 minutes later?!
The good news: while we all know how annoying both baby and adult-sized hiccups can be, they aren’t dangerous.
So why do baby hiccups happen?
The truth is that we don’t actually know for sure. It is believed that it could be a result of an irritated diaphragm from prolonged bouts of crying or their stomach expanding when they eat to fast. This may cause the diaphragm to spasm leading to those dreaded hiccups.
How do you treat baby hiccups?
Our best answer for this is that you don’t need to! They’re harmless and will go away as mysteriously as they came on.
If you feel like they’re bothering you little one, while we can’t make a baby hold their breath and it’s probably not a good idea to purposefully startle them, there are a few things that may just do the trick. Sometimes getting your baby into a repetitive sucking pattern, like with a pacifier, can reduce their duration or using the age old trick of distraction by making them smile or laugh.
Some cultures also swear by placing a wet thread on the baby’s forehead. I mean…it can’t hurt to try, right?!
Can you prevent baby hiccups?
While feeding your baby from breast or bottle, slow things down. We know this is sometimes difficult while breastfeeding. If you feel you have a fast letdown, you can put some pressure on your breast during your letdown and feed in a laid back position. If bottle feeding, used paced bottle feeding. This will also prevent over feeding, a possible other trigger of hiccups. It will also be helpful to burp more often.
Like we said, hiccups are almost always harmless but if you do feel that they’re going on too long (an hour or more) or your baby is having them too frequently, it never hurts to bring it up to their pediatrician.
Jenn del Sol
BIRTH DOULA, POSTPARTUM DOULA, INFANT FEEDING SPECIALIST + COFFEE MUG HOARDER
We are doulas living in Miami with a love for cafecito, pregnancy and newborns. We are the experts and the moms who have been there sharing our best tips and tricks with a side of inspiration. Our goal? Help you kick ass at this parenting gig.
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