Newborns tend to get hiccups, especially at some point during a feeding, according to the Children, Youth and Women's Health Services of South Australia. Although anyone can get hiccups, they're more common in babies and children. If your newborn gets hiccups during or after eating, rest assured--along with spitting up and soiled diapers, a hiccuping baby is perfectly normal.
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More About Hiccups
The tiny "hic!" your newborn makes is caused by a contraction of the diaphragm, a muscle separating the chest and abdomen, states MayoClinic.Com. Each contraction causes your baby's vocal cords to close abruptly, accounting for the "hiccup" noise. The number of hiccups that take place each minute can vary widely--anywhere between four and 60, states the clinic.
Causes in Newborns
According to the Children, Youth and Women's Health Services, most causes of hiccups start when you do two things concurrently, such as eating and drinking. Babies can start to hiccup at some point during a feeding, but they don't necessarily have a cause or trigger. One hypothesis is that hiccups are more likely to start when your newborn feels stressed.
If your newborn starts hiccuping while you're still feeding him, the American Academy of Pedatrics suggests changing his positioning or burping him. After the hiccups stop, then resume the feeding. When hiccups persist after five to 10 minutes, try to feed your baby a little more. The AAP states that this is usually the best fix for hiccups.
If your newborn gets frequent hiccups, the AAP feeding her before she becomes voraciously hungry, while she's still calm. Additionally, it's okay to feed your newborn while she still has the hiccups, says the Children, Youth and Women's Health Services. The contraction that causes the hiccup causes your baby's epiglottis to cover the entryway to her lungs, acting as a safety measure to prevent liquid from getting into her lungs.
Should You Be Concerned?
Newborn hiccups are usually more troublesome for parents than they are for a baby, says the AAP. Your baby isn't bothered by the hiccups. Hiccups resolve on their own, so there's no need to try and stop them unless you absolutely want to, says the Children, Youth and Women's Health Services.