August 30, 2019

How to Get Rid of Newborn Baby Hiccups: 5 Tips

When a newborn hiccups after nursing, it may seem cute at first and leave you wondering, “Why do newborns get hiccups?” But if your baby has hiccups for an extended period, you may be concerned that it’s causing them discomfort. At that point, your question might be, “How do I stop my baby’s hiccups?”

Fortunately, babies don’t seem to be bothered by them. In fact, many can sleep right through a case of hiccups. However, if you decide to take action when your newborn has hiccups after breastfeeding or to prevent hiccups in the first place, there are things you can do.

What Causes Baby Hiccups?

As many mothers can attest, some babies begin hiccupping while they’re in the womb. It’s an action that continues after birth, with many newborns experiencing hiccups after breastfeeding. But doctors aren’t sure what causes newborn hiccups after nursing — or anytime, for that matter.

Physicians do understand the mechanics of hiccupping. A hiccup occurs when the baby’s diaphragm spasms and forces air through the closed vocal cords. This contraction can happen for no reason at all or for several reasons, including that the baby does any of the following:

  • Eats too much
  • Eats too quickly
  • Swallows air while feeding 

Their expanding stomach then pushes against the diaphragm, causing the spasms that produce hiccups.

So, while we don’t know precisely what causes hiccups in newborns, it generally isn’t a medical issue or cause for concern. Still, it’s understandable to think, “How can I stop my baby’s hiccups naturally?”

What to Do When a Newborn Has Hiccups

Every baby reacts differently to the hiccups. Some find them amusing. Others don’t seem to notice them at all. However, some babies are upset by the hiccups.

If you feel hiccups are a distraction to your baby when you are trying to nurse or that they’re causing your baby distress, newborn hiccups cures include:

  • Burping your baby
  • Giving your baby a pacifier
  • Waiting for the hiccups to stop on their own 

Burp your baby

When addressing baby hiccups, burping is a good place to start. Burping your baby can relieve pressure that’s causing the stomach to irritate the diaphragm. Doctors recommend burping a bottle-fed baby after every two to three ounces. Breastfed babies should be burped when switching sides.

Give your baby a pacifier

Babies can develop hiccups even when they’re not nursing. Sucking on a pacifier can help relax their diaphragm and stop a bout of hiccups.

Wait for newborn hiccups to stop on their own

If your baby isn’t bothered by the hiccups, you can simply let them run their course. Typically, they’ll resolve without any intervention. But if your baby’s hiccups are especially frequent or continue for an extended period, you should talk with your doctor.

Hiccups can be a sign of another condition, such as GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease or heartburn). Fortunately, GERD is easily treated.

How to Prevent Hiccups in Newborns

If newborn hiccups are an issue for your baby, it’s ideal to prevent them in the first place if possible. Actions from modifying the timing and quantity of feedings to finding the best position for avoiding baby hiccups can help.

Try these tips:

  • Feed your baby before they reach the point of being very hungry and agitated.
  • Feed your baby regularly in small amounts.
  • Avoid high-energy play, such as bouncing, immediately after feeding.
  • Keep your baby in an upright position for approximately 30 minutes after feeding.
  • There may be a relationship between hiccups and latch connection. Ensure that your baby’s mouth is latched over the whole nipple when nursing. 

Can I Leave My Newborn Lying Down with Hiccups?

Sleeping with hiccups and how it affects newborn safety is a common concern. Parents often wonder if it’s OK to let a newborn sleep with hiccups.

If your baby isn’t having trouble breathing or demonstrating any signs of distress, you can lay them down with hiccups. However, as noted above, keeping babies upright for half an hour after feeding them is best.

Talk with Baptist Health About Newborn Hiccups

If the steps above don’t have much effect and you’re still wondering, “How can I get rid of newborn baby hiccups?” reach out to the Mother & Baby Care specialists at Baptist Health. We can discuss your situation and work with you to find a solution.

Learn More.