Even if your baby's hiccups are driving you to the brink of insanity, they are likely not annoying your infant and are not a life-threatening condition, Healthy Children says. Babies often get hiccups, particularly during feeding times, when their diaphragm goes into a spasm. While hiccups affect people of all ages, not all hiccup remedies are safe for all ages, not even a seemingly harmless swig of water.
No Water before 6 Months Old
While water often works to cure hiccups in older children and adults, it is not a safe remedy for an early infant's hiccups, notes Dr. Stephen Daniels on Baby Center. In fact, water is not safe for any reason in babies under 6 months old. Water can give your baby a false sense of being full, interfering with her feeding and her body's absorption of nutrients. Water intoxication, although rare, is another hazard, where water dilutes the sodium in a baby's body and sometimes leads to seizures or a coma.
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Water Later On
Once your baby hits 6 months old, water is O.K. in small doses, Daniels notes, as a cure for hiccups or in general. Keep the water to small sips, rather than massive gulps, as water can still upset his stomach or bloat it so he doesn't feel hungry and doesn't want to eat. By the time your child hits 1 year old, water is fair game in larger quantities, as long as she is already eating solid foods and drinking milk on her own.
Safe Baby Remedies
Sometimes simply waiting out the hiccups works, Healthy Children says, as they often go away on their own after 10 minutes or so. If they don't, Healthy Children and Mother Nature offer a few remedies that are safe for infants. Holding your baby up against your shoulder and gently patting his back is one method to try. Another is to change the baby's position, get her to relax or try to make her burp. Continuing to feed him, even with the hiccups, often makes them stop.
A few preventative measures help keep hiccups at bay during feeding, Mother Nature and Healthy Children note. Hiccups often crop up if your baby is getting too much air into her stomach, something that happens when the hole on the bottle's nipple is too large. Turn the bottle upside down and make sure the bottle drips freely and then slowly stops, rather than spills all over or does not drip at all. Feeding your baby when she's relaxed, calm and not overly hungry also works as prevention.
In addition to steering clear of water to cure your young baby's hiccups, also disregard other home or folk remedies that could end up hurting your infant. These include sugar water or sugar cubes; or pepper, anise or other spices or substances that your baby cannot yet handle. Also steer clear of physical remedies that include scaring your baby, startling her with a loud noise or popping balloon, shaking her, pushing in her eyeballs or pulling on her tongue.