Hiccups: Causes in infants, cure and Remedies

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Everyone is familiar with hiccups. We all experience them from time to time, less and less often as we grow older. Babies are particularly prone to hiccups, even within the womb, sometimes as early as the 6th week after conception. But hiccups are usually nothing to worry about. They may last for a minute or up to an hour but do the baby no harm – in fact some infants seem amused by the surprise caused. Baby’s hiccups are just one of those normal behaviors and reflexes that parents need to know about but not be alarmed by. Hiccups are most likely to occur just after a feed or when the child gets excited. In some exceptional cases one can get rid of hiccups from their babies by applying the following tips

  • Burp your baby.
  • Give them a pacifier.
  • Let the hiccups run their course.
  • Feed your baby gripe water.

BURPING

Burping your baby is an effective step to control hiccups, especially during feeding as it helps to reduce excess gas which may cause hiccups. The act of burping babies involves placing the child in a position conducive to gas expulsion (for example holding the infant up to the adult’s shoulder, with the infant’s stomach resting on the adult’s chest) and then lightly patting the lower back so that the child burps. Considerably, taking a break from a feeding to burp your baby may help get rid of the hiccups.

 Use a pacifier

Sometimes feeding may not be the major cause of hiccups in babies, if your baby starts to hiccup on their own, provide them with a pacifier to suck, as this will help relax the diaphragm and may help stop the bout of hiccups.

Allow it to stop on its own

In most cases, your baby’s hiccups will stop on their own. If they aren’t disturbing your baby, then you can just let them run their course. If you don’t interfere and your baby’s hiccups don’t stop on their own, let their doctor know. While rare, it’s possible for hiccups to be a sign of a more serious medical issue.

Gripe water

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If your baby seems to be in discomfort because of their hiccups, then you may want to try feeding them gripe water. Gripe water is a combination of herbs and water that is believed by some to help with colic and other intestinal discomforts.

These types of herbs can vary and may include ginger, fennel, chamomile, and cinnamon. Before you give your baby anything new, it’s always recommended that you discuss it with your baby’s doctor.

Tip

  • Check the ingredients list before giving store-bought gripe water to your baby.

 

Preventing hiccups

There are limited ways to help prevent hiccup occurrence. However, it’s difficult to avoid your baby’s hiccups completely as the causes aren’t always precise. These methods to help prevent hiccups:

  • Make sure your baby is calm when you feed them. This means not waiting until your baby is so hungry that they’re upset and crying before their feeding begins.
  • After a feeding, avoid heavy activity with your baby, such as bouncing up and down or high-energy play.
  • Keep your baby in an upright position for 20 to 30 minutes after each meal.

Author: Bibian Okoye

A Retired Chief Nursing Officer, PGDip IHM

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