Hiccups

What do I do when my baby has hiccups?

Hiccups are a twitch of the breathing muscle. They are normal and there is no treatment. Babies react differently to hiccups. They may not mind them, they may get annoyed, and they may want to feed or refuse to feed. Some babies spit with the second hiccup.

A) Describing hiccups

Hiccups are a twitch or spasm of the breathing muscle (diaphragm). Many babies have them as often as several times a day. Hiccups become less common with time but even adults will sometimes have them.

Hiccups may help babies’ brains develop (Whitehead 2019).

Babies react differently to hiccups. They may:

  • Not mind them.
  • Get annoyed and want to breastfeed with hiccups.
  • Get cranky and won’t feed.
  • Spit with the second hiccup.

B) “Fixing” hiccups

Hiccups are normal. They cannot and should not be “fixed”. They do not cause a baby to swallow more air or have tummy cramps or gas.

They are not related to the baby’s digestive system, so it won’t help to give the baby water or other liquids.

You should not try to treat your baby’s hiccups with medication either as it is ineffective and can be dangerous.

References

Whitehead K, Jones L, Laudiano-Dray MP, et al. Event-related potentials following contraction of respiratory muscles in pre-term and full-term infants. Clin Neurophysiol. 2019;130(12):2216–2221