This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.
Babies are adorable, including their hiccups — which is a habit they develop in the womb.
Hiccups are completely normal and don't usually bother a baby the way they do older children and adults.
Baby hiccups are important for your baby's breathing and brain development. However, if your baby does seem bothered by hiccups or if they're interrupting your sleep, read on to learn methods you can use to eliminate them.
1. Change feeding positions
If your baby lies flat when they eat, they may inhale too much air.
Try feeding your baby in a more upright position. You can use pillows to prop them up or hold them a little straighter so they take in less air.
2. Burp your baby more often
Your baby may have hiccups because of trapped air in their stomach.
Burping can help your baby get rid of excess air that causes hiccups. Don't wait until your baby finishes eating to burp them. Stop frequently during feeding to burp.
If your baby already has hiccups, you can try burping them to help relieve them.
3. Try feeding your baby more slowly
If your baby seems to get hiccups when eating, it may be because they're eating too fast.
If your baby is bottle-fed, try paced bottle-feeding to help slow the flow of milk.
To do so, use a four-ounce bottle and a slow-flow nipple. Hold your baby upright in a supported position and hold the bottle horizontally. Let your baby start sucking before milk is in the bottle. Tip the bottle so milk fills half of the nipple, and let your baby drink for 20 to 30 seconds. After 20 or 30 seconds, give your baby a little break. Repeat until your baby seems full.
4. Calm your baby down before feeding
If your baby is crying and upset before you feed them, their food may not go down easily. They may swallow air and get hiccups.
Try calming your baby down before eating to keep them from hiccupping. It may be hard to calm your baby if they're hungry, but the 5 S's may help:
Swaddle: Try swaddling your baby
Side or stomach: Put your baby on their side, stomach, or over your shoulder (never put a sleeping baby on their stomach or side)
Shush: Make a shushing sound
Swing: Swing or jiggle your baby in a supported position
Suck: Give your baby a pacifier to suck on
5. Give your baby a pacifier
If your baby has hiccups, a pacifier may help eliminate them.
The sucking motion can help calm your baby down and relax their diaphragm.
6. Keep your baby upright after feeding
Don't lay your baby down flat immediately after they eat. Keep them in an upright position for about 30 minutes after a feeding.
Hiccups are usually harmless, but they can be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Maintaining an upright position after eating will help stop your baby's food from coming back up. If your baby has GERD, they'll probably have other symptoms besides just hiccups, including:
Crying and irritability
Arching their back during or after eating
Talk to your pediatrician if your baby seems uncomfortable when they hiccup or show any of the above symptoms.
7. Wait five or ten minutes
Your baby’s hiccups will likely stop in five or ten minutes if you don’t do anything.
This is probably your best option since babies under the age of one frequently get hiccups. If your baby’s hiccups don’t stop on their own after a few minutes, mention it to your pediatrician.
8. Don't worry
Taking care of a newborn can be stressful. It’s natural to feel like you need to get rid of your baby’s hiccups.
For most adults, hiccups are uncomfortable and annoying. Fortunately, they don’t seem to bother babies and are not usually a sign of an underlying medical issue.
If your baby has had the hiccups for a prolonged time or seems to be in pain, contact your pediatrician for advice.