Dr. Tariq Jagnarine

Fam Med, Endocrinology/ Diabetes
Hiccups happen when a baby’s diaphragm contracts, forcing air out through closed vocal cords and thus creating the hiccupping sound. There are several methods that may stop hiccups in newborns, including regular burping and using pacifiers. It is, however, important to remember that most babies get hiccups, and hiccups do not harm a baby.
A parent or caregiver may wish to try home remedies to stop or prevent hiccups.
While adults may find hiccups uncomfortable, they tend to cause less distress in babies. It is usually fine to leave a baby to stop hiccupping on their own. If they do not stop, a person may want to speak with a doctor.

Hiccups in babies tend to occur for no apparent reason, but feeding can cause the diaphragm to spasm. Hiccups may happen when a baby:
* Overfeeds
* Eats too quickly.
* Swallows too much air
These factors can cause the baby’s stomach to expand, thus pushing against the diaphragm and triggering the spasms that lead to hiccups. Hiccups happen when something causes the diaphragm to spasm, and the vocal cords quickly shut. Air is forced out through the closed vocal cords, and the hiccupping sound is created.
If hiccups happen frequently and cause distress, they may result from an underlying health condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux (GER). This occurs when partially digested food and stomach acid come back up through the esophagus, or food pipe. As these fluids pass the diaphragm, they may irritate it and trigger spasms.
Feeding or stomach issues may not always cause hiccups. The diaphragm may also spasm for unknown reasons.
When a parent or caregiver is concerned about newborn hiccups and does not want to let them run their course, the individual may find various strategies helpful.
* Taking a break to burp the baby.
When the stomach is filled with air, it may push on the diaphragm, causing spasms. Taking a break from feeding to burp the baby may reduce the amount of air in the baby’s stomach. This may prevent hiccups.
According to Boys Town Paediatrics, it is a good idea to burp babies who are bottle-fed every time they consume 2–3 ounces. If a baby is breastfed, it is a good idea to burp them while switching between breasts.
* Rubbing the baby’s back
Rubbing the baby’s back and rocking the baby back and forth can help them relax. This may stop the spasms that cause hiccups.
Rubbing the back can also help with burping, which may help stop hiccups.
* Using a pacifier
Sucking on a pacifier may help to relax the diaphragm and stop hiccupping. However, there is no specific scientific evidence to support this, only anecdotal reports.
* Feeding the baby gripe water
Gripe water is a mixture of herbs and water. Some people have traditionally used it to treat colic and other stomach concerns. The herbs usually contained in gripe water include ginger, fennel, chamomile, and cinnamon. If stomach issues are responsible for hiccups, some people believe that gripe water may help. However, no scientific evidence currently supports this treatment.

Some well-known remedies for hiccups are entirely rooted in tradition, and have no scientific basis. These include:
* Making a person jump
* Pulling their tongue
* Making them sip water while upside down.
It is a bad idea to try these and many other home remedies on a baby. These supposed remedies can distress a baby, and may even be dangerous. Moreover, they are unlikely to stop the hiccups.

It may not always be possible to prevent hiccups. While there is no evidence to support any technique for preventing hiccups, a parent or caregiver may wish to try the following strategies listed below:
*Feeding the baby before they become very hungry, to keep them calm.
*Feeding the baby frequently in small amounts
*Sitting the baby upright after each feeding
*Repositioning the bottle so that no air is near the teat
*Ensuring that the baby’s mouth is latched over the whole nipple.

Contact a doctor if hiccups seem to distress the baby. This can indicate an underlying health condition.