Are Hiccups a Sign of Growth in Babies? – All you Need to Know

Hiccups occur as a reflex action in response to the opening and closing of the vocal cords. It is caused by the diaphragm and is a normal occurrence but can cause discomfort. Read through as we answer your question “are hiccups a sign of growth in babies?”

You need to be careful because there are many myths and misconceptions about hiccups. As I have mentioned, they are myths and misconceptions – nothing more. Hiccups often occur eating, drinking or dealing with stressful situations. They are common in babies – perhaps more than in adults.

Interestingly, contrary to what we may have heard, hiccups are a good sign. When a baby is hiccupping frequently, it is a sign that the baby is developing well.

This article answers the question, are hiccups a sign of growth in babies, and tells you all you need to know about hiccups in babies. You know what I always say – let’s get into it – shall we?


Are Hiccups a Sign of Growth in Babies?

As we address the concern “are hiccups a sign of growth in babies”, yes, it is a natural occurrence for a baby to experience hiccups, and it shows signs of healthy development.

A baby may start hiccupping during feeding as a result of irritation or excess gas in the stomach. But there is no need to panic. In such a situation, you should tap their backs gently while holding them gently.

After the hiccups have stopped, you should reduce the pace of the feeding and go a little slower. It is normal for a baby under 12 months of age to hiccup frequently.

However, when you notice that a baby above 12 months of age is repeatedly hiccupping or your baby is experiencing frequent severe hiccups, contact a doctor. If you notice that the hiccups are too frequent and often stressing the baby out, there may be a problem.

It is advisable for you to consult a medical professional for advice and tests to determine any health threats.


Newborn Baby Hiccups – Causes and Prevention

There is no scientific explanation that backs the reason behind hiccups. But they occur in babies – and adults when the diaphragm experiences a movement as a result of our breathing.

The diaphragm is a large muscle that is located at the base of our rib cage. The spasm experienced by the diaphragm can be triggered by different things – especially in babies. In this session, we will discuss all you need to know about the causes and possible prevention of hiccups in newborn babies.

Causes of Newborn Baby Hiccups

Hiccups are a normal and natural occurrence – even in babies. But there are certain things that cause and stimulate hiccups in babies. Below, we have highlighted a few of them for your knowledge.

4 Causes of Hiccups in Children

1. Overfeeding

One of the major causes of hiccups in newborn babies is overfeeding. When the baby has consumed too much food, either through a normal feed or force-feed, they are bound to experience hiccups.

So, if you notice that the newborn baby is experiencing hiccups during feeding, you should stop to evaluate the situation. Too much food in your baby’s system can cause them a lot of discomforts.

2. Swallowing Air During Feeding

A newborn baby can begin to experience hiccups when they have swallowed too much air during feeding. This is often as a result of the speed at which you are feeding the baby. So, you should consider feeding the baby slower.

The excess air in the stomach of the newborn baby can lead to stomach distention which will push up against the diaphragm and cause hiccups.

3. Changes in Stomach Temperature

When there is a sudden change in the stomach temperature of the newborn baby, there is bound to be hiccups. How can sudden changes in stomach temperature occur? Well, this is pretty simple.

When you feed your baby with a cold meal or drink this minute and something warm the next minute, there will be a change in the stomach temperature. The system of a newborn baby is not yet developed to adapt to these changes the same way an adult would.

4. Gastroesophageal Reflux

Gastroesophageal Reflux which is also known as GER, is a condition that many newborn babies suffer from. This is a condition that occurs when acidic content in the stomach, like juices of indigested food, finds its way back to the esophagus.

This causes a burning sensation and a lot of discomfort to the baby. It also causes hiccups in the newborn baby because the esophagus will stimulate the diaphragm.


Prevention of Newborn Baby Hiccups

We have discussed all the possible causes of hiccups in a newborn baby. Let us talk about how we can prevent hiccups in newborn babies. We have highlighted a few below.

5 Tips to Prevent Newborn Baby Hiccups

1. Be Conscious and Alert

When it involves newborn babies, the importance of consciousness and early detection is key to taking important precautions. When you pay attention and notice when the hiccups start, you will be able to take urgent steps to control them.

You stand a better chance of taking urgent actions if you detect the hiccups early. For instance, if it is as a result of overfeeding or fast feeding, you are able to pause and take action immediately.

2. Examine Your Baby’s Feeding Bottle

If you notice that your baby is always experiencing hiccups during feeding, then perhaps there is an issue with the baby’s feeding bottle. It may be that the nipple of the feeding bottle is not appropriate for the baby.

When you use the wrong bottle nipple for the feeding bottle, it may allow more feed or air into the baby’s system than needed. You can try using a different bottle or change to the right nipple for your baby’s age and observe the changes.

3. Calm Your Baby Before Each feed

As a nursing mother or caregiver, you should ensure that your baby is always calm before feeding. When a baby is agitated before or during feeding, it can lead to hiccups which may cause discomfort.

You should ensure that the baby is relaxed and ready to be fed. However, from experience, I know that this may be difficult at times because the baby may not be willing to accept the feeding bottle readily. But this should never stop us from trying to calm them before or during the feed. Try using different tricks like rubbing their feet or stroking their hair before or during the feeding process.

4. Do Not Engage the Baby in Physical Activity After Feeding

There is a high chance of your newborn baby experiencing hiccups immediately after feeding. So, you should not engage the baby in any physical activities, like playing after feeding.

Throwing up the baby or involving in a bouncing game may cause a strong stimulation in the baby’s stomach. This could cause a movement to the diaphragm and lead to a spasm.

5. Place Your Baby in an Upright Position

You should ensure that your baby remains upright during and after the feed to aid digestion. You should keep your baby in an upright position for about 20 to 30 minutes after feeding.

Experts advise against placing your baby on their backs immediately after feeding them. Also, I have noticed from experience that this causes stimulation in the stomach. So, place your baby in an upright position to aid full digestion before laying them on their backs or engaging them in any playful activity.


Are Hiccups a Sign of Growth in Babies?

Yes, hiccups can be a sign of healthy growth in babies. For an internal stimulation to occur in the baby, it indicates that the internal organs are developing well. However, when you discover that the hiccups are becoming too frequent and stressing out the baby more than usual, you should consider speaking to your doctor.

Are Hiccups a Sign of Growth in Babies? What You Need to Know


Hiccups When Asleep – Can a Baby Hiccups While Asleep?

A baby can experience stimulation that would cause them to have hiccups, even when they are asleep. Again this is normal and harmless to the baby. It also does not have any effect on the baby’s sleep or breathing.

However, if you notice that the hiccups are becoming more frequent and tend to wake the baby and cause discomfort, you should consider speaking to a medical health professional about it.


How Long Can Baby Hiccups Last?

Interestingly, according to medical reports, babies experience hiccups even in the womb. So, trust me when I say it is not new to them in any way.

Under normal circumstances, a baby should stop experiencing hiccups when they are between the ages of 5 and 10 months old. Also, each hiccup session should last for only a few seconds or minutes. When you notice that the hiccups are becoming longer than they should and causing the baby discomfort, you should consult a doctor.


How to Get Rid of Baby Hiccups?

Yes, there are certain steps you can take to stop your baby from hiccupping. Do not engage in any of the traditional advice you must have heard to reduce the risks of harming your baby in the process. Below, we have highlighted some tips on how to get rid of baby hiccups. Check them out!

  • Change the feeding position of the baby
  • Reduce the pace of feeding the baby
  • Burp the baby until its stop
  • Give the baby some water to drink
  • Give the baby a pacifier or something to suckle upon


How to Stop Baby Hiccups in Breastfed Babies?

If you notice that your baby is experiencing the occurrence during breastfeeding, you should change the baby’s position to the other side. From experience, I also advise women to keep the baby engaged by playing with their fingers, toes, or hair while feeding. Also, you should consider giving them water.


How to Prevent Baby Hiccups?

It may be difficult to prevent a baby from hiccupping since it is a normal occurrence. However, you should always make sure the baby has enough water in their system, and is not overfed.

Also, ensure that they are not being fed too fast. Lastly, you should always keep them in an upright position after feeding and resist the temptation of engaging them in physical activities for about 30 minutes after feeding.