Ever imagined cuddling your bundle of joy and breastfeeding him, to realize it follows with a bout of newborn hiccups? If you’re a first-time parent, this can alarm you. Well, you no longer have to worry if you educate yourself on the causes and things you could do to make your newborn feel better.
Hiccups are typical in babies, and although we think it’s new to your newborn, that’s not true, for hiccups do occur while the baby is still in the womb.
What causes hiccups in newborns?
With all the new changes your newborn experiences in his new world, his amazing little body keeps adjusting to the new environment, along with the little developments that keep happening inside his organs.
There isn’t a single primary cause that causes hiccups in newborns. According to theories, the closest cause can be identified as irritation in the newborn’s diaphragm, which could further elaborate as a tiny contraction in his developing diaphragm. Hiccups could also result from the baby being overfed or if the baby sucks milk too fast, in which case he could be swallowing a lot of air.
Newborn hiccups after breastfeeding
It’s a well-known saying that “babies do not come with a catalog.” If it did, then bringing up a baby would not be as exciting. After all, you learn things with hands-on experience. So if your newborn experiences hiccups after being breastfed, there could be few causes that we could look into. The position that you nurse the baby can cause hiccups if it’s an unnatural position that you have been feeding him. Also, suppose the baby has been swallowing excess air or being overfed. In that case, that too could cause the newborn’s tiny digestive system to react differently.
You, as a new parent, could worry about these regular hiccups. Still, it’s no reason to worry unless you think it’s causing discomfort to your newborn.
How to get rid of newborn hiccups?
Changing the nursing position to start with and being aware of the correct nursing positions will help you massively. For example, suppose you experience that your newborn is getting hiccups frequently in a particular position. In that case, it’s advisable to be observant and keep changing the nursing position to find out which position your newborn is most comfortable with. We may follow a specific position known to be the most suitable for most mothers. Which might not be the best position your tiny precious baby is looking for. If you think you need some expert assistance, do not hesitate to talk to a lactation consultant.
- Follow a feeding schedule
Hiccups can occur in the case of the baby being overfed. As a new parent, when the baby cries, you may consider it an indication that your baby is hungry, but it may not always be so. The best solution to this would be to follow a feeding schedule. Hence, after a while, you are aware of when the baby is really hungry, and that will enable you to feed the baby while he is calm. This method will also help the baby to digest easily and in a pattern.
- Observe the baby’s lip in holding the nipple
It is highly advisable to keep a watch on your newborn to see if his mouth is correctly connected to the nipple (areola). For example, suppose the baby’s mouth is not adequately wrapped around the nipple. In this instance, your baby is likely sucking more air than milk, resulting in air getting filled in his stomach.
- Take a break and burp the baby
Taking breaks while feeding to burp your baby will also help in getting rid of hiccups. Carrying your little one in an upright position and slightly bending the baby over your shoulder will help the baby in burping. Technically, baby care experts suggest that when doing this, make sure you gently press your newborn’s tummy against your lower shoulder area. Thereby it will release excess gas in his digestive system. Just a little tip would be if you ever think you need daddy’s assistance in anything, they are good at this. So do not hesitate to give this a try.
- Rub the tummy / carry upright
You could also do something as simple as rubbing the baby’s tummy, giving him some comfort, or even carrying him upright for a couple of minutes. By doing this, it helps release the pressure from the diaphragm, which results in proper digestion. Apart from all these forms of little practices and positions, you could also use few other things to bring comfort to your newborn.
- Use a pacifier
Using a pacifier will help the baby’s hiccups get better. What it does is when the baby keeps sucking the pacifier, and when it’s time for breastfeeding, his little lips are trained to hold the nipple in the correct form. Therefore, this helps the baby not to swallow excess air while breastfeeding.
- Use Gripe water
Gripe water was something mothers have been using over the years. It is used to make newborns and children feel better whenever they feel discomfort in their stomachs and primarily to comfort babies suffering from colic. Gripe water is an herbal mixture containing sodium bicarbonate and some herbs such as fennel, dill, ginger, chamomile, lemon, and peppermint.
Since gripe water is a non-prescription product, you could use it if you please. However, it’s also advisable to consult your pediatrician, as every baby reacts to things and medicine differently.
- Let the hiccups stop on their own
As long as the hiccups are not bothering the newborn or discomforting him, it’s OK to let the hiccups just run their course. Nevertheless, while allowing it to stop on its own, be observant. If it doesn’t stop without your interference, talking to your pediatrician will help.
What should you avoid while your newborn has hiccups?
Sometimes parents, out of despair and fear or if they are not aware of newborn hiccups, tend to either give water or shake and sway the baby vigorously. Thinking that will help stop the hiccups. Yet as parents, we should be aware that you should not panic and give even water in the first few months as a part of only breastfeeding a baby. Secondly, shaking a baby can have other adverse effects, like the baby could throw out the milk which has not been digested.
Also, in the case of older people being at home, they could suggest specific remedies that were believed in the past to get rid of hiccups. One such remedy is to pull their tongue. However, such treatments can be terrible for your baby. Therefore, while accepting suggestions from family and friends, it is advisable to understand on your own what’s best for your baby.
Food for thought
As stated above, bringing up a baby is a hands-on experience. Therefore, unless your newborn is in excessive discomfort or vomiting after hiccups, you do not have to be alarmed as hiccups are a normal stage of development in newborns.
Suppose, after taking all necessary actions to make your newborn get rid of hiccups. Yet, the hiccups continue to an extent where the baby feels uncomfortable. Then you should consult your pediatrician. While knowing the causes and remedies, you must believe in your instincts as a parent. After all, you know what’s best for your newborn.