Hiccups in children are rarely the cause of alarm

Oh, the joy of a baby’s hiccup!

The baby’s eyes get big and the whole body shakes with that sweet little hiccup! There it goes again: hic! Ha-ha! So cute. And again: hic! Hmmmm. Hi! OK, you can stop. Hi! Anytime, just stop. Hi!

Not so cute anymore. What happens? Is something wrong?

Probably not.

“A hiccup is part of a natural process,” said Ameera Nauman, MD, a pediatrician at OSF Medical Group – Pediatrics. “Hiccups and sneezes are just two things babies do. In general, they are very mild and they usually disappear after a few minutes.”

Feeding plays a big role

Hiccups occur with a spasm in the baby’s diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle plate under the lungs. When it contracts, air is drawn into the lungs. When it relaxes, the air is pushed out.

Usually, these withdrawals and expansions occur in a smooth, controlled rhythm. But when that rhythm is interrupted by an involuntary contraction, the vocal cords suddenly close and produce a hiccup.

“Mostly in newborns, hiccups are associated with feeding,” said Dr. Nauman. “The baby may eat a little too fast or a little too much. Their stomach gets distended and begins to touch the diaphragm and cause these spasms. Sometimes they ingest air while taking a bottle or breastfeeding. Sometimes there is a slight reflux involved. “

Stop your baby’s hiccups

Most adults tend to have hiccups rarely. When hiccups occur, a teenager or adult can overcome them by turning to a series of honored tricks: drink a glass of water, hold your breath, or breathe in and out of a paper bag.

Young children, especially babies and toddlers, may experience hiccups several times a day. And the funds do not translate so well. Dr. After all, Nauman said, “You can not give a 6-month-old baby a glass of water to drink.”

The burp is the best way to get rid of the hiccups. If you are breast-feeding, you should bark at the baby when changing breasts. If you get bottle, bark the baby about halfway.

“Sometimes baby needs a break so the stomach has time to digest. When they stop eating and relax, they stop hiccuping.”

As a child grows, introduce them gradually to other means.

“Many times you can stop the hiccups by distracting the child, getting their thoughts on something else,” said Dr. Nauman. “I usually recommend something mild, like drinking a glass of cold water. If the child is a little older, you can try to make it hold its breath and count to 10, or maybe put some sugar under the tongue. ”

Steps to prevent child hiccups

Another thing to do is to try to prevent hiccups from starting in the first place.

Adults have learned the basics of triggers. They know to avoid eating or drinking too much or too fast, swallowing drinks or sucking too hard from a straw. They are aware that excess caffeine or alcohol can also cause a bout of hiccups.

Babies and children need help learning the ropes.

“With a baby in a bottle, make sure it is full of milk and that there is no air in the nipple,” said Dr. Nauman. “If you are breast-feeding, make sure your baby’s lips are really locked. When they have finished feeding, do not lay them straight down again. Hold them up for 15 or 20 minutes to help them digest them better. Rubbing their backs is soothing and helps relieve hiccups.

“With older children, keep them from overeating and do not let them eat or drink too fast.”

When to call the doctor

A baby’s hiccup causes no physical harm. Although they continue for 10 minutes or more, they are generally not a cause for concern. But if hiccups continue, a parent should be on guard.

“Hiccups can be a little more worrying if the baby also has other signs, such as being really fussy or bending his back a lot during feeding or after feeding,” said Dr. Nauman. “Sometimes the baby spits up a lot. If they have a lot of reflux, keep an eye on how they react.

“If you are worried or your baby is uncomfortable, call your pediatrician. In general, hiccups are very mild and they go away. But if you are worried about persistent hiccups, discuss it with your pediatrician.”

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