Many parents worry when they see that their babies or young children have hiccups, thinking that perhaps something is happening to them that affects their health. Seeing them with hiccups, they think that this reaction of the body is causing them some discomfort, but in reality, it is not as much as it seems.
When a baby or toddler hiccups, it’s actually like when you do. It is a temporary reaction of the human body that does not cause discomfort or pain. Nor is it a symptom of a serious illness… hiccuping is common in any human being and therefore, it is not a cause for excessive concern. Just as it appears, it disappears and as babies grow, hiccups begin to reduce their appearance.
Why Hiccups Occur in Babies and Young Children
In infants and newborns , frequent hiccups can occur because the central nervous system is immature. There is no mature control and this causes sudden and irregular contractions in the diaphragm causing hiccups in infants and young children.
In other circumstances, when they are young children or older, anything that can irritate the diaphragm can cause the muscle to go into repetitive spasm and hiccups. Suffering alterations due to massive ingestion or rapid sipping (and swallowing air) can also cause hiccups.
Usually the common causes are:
- Swallowing air when feeding
- heavy digestions
- have a very full stomach
- after crying a lot
- Al regurgitar
- temperature changes
It is not a symptom of a disease
It is worth clarifying that hiccups in babies and young children are very common due to the aforementioned and that they do not usually mean that there is a disease. It is not dangerous and can go away in minutes or hours. As long as the baby or young child is healthy, hiccups do not have to cause any type of problem that requires medical attention.
When should you worry?
On the other hand, there are certain circumstances in which you should pay attention to hiccups and in which cases, it would be appropriate to contact the pediatrician as soon as possible to find out if there is any anomaly or problem that needs to be treated.
The symptoms that you have to observe in the hiccups of your baby or small child to seek medical attention would be when:
- Hiccups last more than three hours
- The baby or young child stops eating
- There is weight loss
- Hiccups cause discomfort and crying in the little one
- Hiccups cause fever and restlessness in the child
- Due to hiccups there are frequent vomiting
If your baby or young child has any of the symptoms mentioned above, in this case, you should go to the pediatrician as soon as possible for a medical evaluation and seek the appropriate treatment in each specific case.
Can hiccups in babies or young children be prevented?
When it is due to the immaturity of the nervous system, it cannot be avoided, but neither is it a hiccup that lasts a long time, usually between seconds and a few minutes. In this case it is not that it can be avoided, it is that it leaves without doing anything more than waiting.
As with adults, there may be certain strategies (not scientifically proven but not invasive either) that can help stop the hiccups and stop the contractions in the diaphragm muscles.
- Drink water in one gulp
- give a little scare
- Drink water with a stuffy nose
- Hold your breath for 10 seconds
- Focus on the hiccups ending
These methods, of course, are designed for older children or adults, in no case can they be used for young children or babies. Therefore, the only thing left is the strategy of waiting patiently and observing that the hiccups are not accompanied by any strange symptoms that we should assess to seek medical attention.
Care strategies for when your baby has hiccups
Although it cannot be completely avoided, certain aspects must be taken into account when the baby has hiccups. Take note:
- When a baby is breastfed, he can hiccup if he swallows too much air. To avoid this, you can breastfeed him in small feedings and stop for a few minutes to allow him not to swallow more air than he should.
- If your baby takes the breast or bottle very quickly, take a break from feeding for a few seconds and then try again.
- When a baby finishes being breastfed, always make him burp by putting him in an upright position and gently patting him on the back. This will remove excess air.
- When there are changes in temperature they can also cause hiccups, so it is important that there are no drafts where your baby is.
With all this information, you will now better understand hiccups in your baby or toddler, why it happens and what you can do to prevent it, just in case it happens.