Hiccups are a common condition in babies and toddlers because your little one takes in large amounts of air during feedings. While adults may experience hiccups due to irritation of the diaphragm, excess air is chiefly to blame for toddler hiccups, according to Baby and Pregnancy. Because your toddler may become impatient or experience stomach upset, remedies to ease hiccups can help.
When toddlers take in too much air in the lungs, the diaphragm dilates to take in the air and contracts to release it—the hiccup occurs when diaphragm muscles spasm, according to Pregnancy and Baby. The air moves up to the windpipe, which closes to prevent the rush of air. This sets off another reaction, making the vocal cords snap. This creates the hiccupping sound. As the muscles work to relax, hiccupping may continue.
Toddlers tend to take in excess air when eating or being active, which can result in hiccups, according to Pregnancy and Baby. However, they also can experience hiccups if they are given a carbonated beverage, the bubbles of which can incorporate extra air into the diaphragm. Eating too much also can distend the stomach, affecting the diaphragm and causing hiccups.
While no single effective cure exists for hiccups, there are a few steps you can take to make your toddler more comfortable. As a baby, your child was likely not bothered by hiccups; however, as a toddler, she might find hiccups to be scary or even hurt her stomach, according to BabyZone. The first step is to help her calm down. Pat her on the back, cuddle with her or bounce her up and down on your knee in order to soothe her, recommends Pregnancy and Baby. The hiccups should go away eventually and are rarely a cause for concern.
Many misconceptions exist surrounding the proper treatment for hiccups. Startling your toddler, giving him a spoonful of peanut butter, pressing on the eyeballs or other home remedies could do more harm than good, according to Baby Center. Instead, work on soothing your toddler until the hiccups pass.
While hiccups are common in toddlers, frequent hiccupping can be a sign of a more serious condition. If your child’s hiccups sound unusual, occur frequently or take an excessive amount of time to cease, this could be an indicator of gastroesophageal reflux disease or another stomach-related disorder, according to Baby Center.