The first hiccups had your baby certainly already in the womb. And also newborns are shaken by small hiccups again and again. Does it hurt? What helps? And does the hiccups have a meaning?
– What is hiccup? – What are the causes of baby hiccups? – What is the meaning of the hiccups in babies? – Why do unborn dogs hiccup?? – How much hiccupping is normal? – Are hiccups harming your baby? – The best remedies for hiccups in babies
Hiccups often occur in babies after breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Has it swallowed? No, because actually rather the opposite is the case.
The hiccups prevented fluid from entering the trachea. Pretty smart how mother nature helps to protect your baby. But that is not all. Read what British researchers have found out about the hiccup and What simple tricks your baby can use to get rid of the hiccups faster.
What is hiccup?
Hiccups usually occur when our diaphragm tenses up. At the beginning of inhalation, there is a rapid, brief and uncontrolled twitching of the respiratory muscles – for example, the diaphragm. The epiglottis then reflexively closes. When the inhaled air hits this barrier, we hear the typical sound from our mouth: the hiccup.
The principle is the same in babies, children and adults. Only the triggers become rarer in the course of development. Because by adulthood at the latest, we have learned to use our respiratory muscles in a more controlled manner. In babies, the muscles of their diaphragm are not yet fully developed. For this reason, hiccups are more frequent in them.
What are the causes of baby hiccups?
What the Muscle twitching concretely triggers, is not yet conclusively investigated. However, hiccups in babies (as well as in older children and adults) are thought to be caused by
– too cold or too hot food, – hasty swallowing, – too much food at once, – swallowing air while drinking or laughing, – excitement, fright or fear.
The Swallowing air while drinking is a trigger that you have surely observed in your baby before. We adults are familiar with this too, especially when carbonated drinks are consumed too quickly.
What is the purpose of hiccups in babies??
Science does not yet have reliable answers to the question of the meaning of frequent hiccups in babies. However, there are two explanations. For one thing, hiccups protect your baby from inhaling milk or other drinks. This is because when the epiglottis reflexively closes the trachea, the fluid does not enter the lungs or flow back into the mouth.
In addition, hiccups seem to be important, to train the muscles of the diaphragm and ribs. The better the body is able to control breathing via the diaphragm and rib muscles during childhood development, the less frequently hiccups occur.
Researchers from University College in London found in a study that the Contraction of the diaphragm during hiccups caused a strong reaction in the cerebral cortex of the babies studied. They noted three waves of activity, the last of which resembles a reaction that the brain usually shows as a result of a sound it hears. The British scientists concluded, that the baby can associate the hiccup sound with the feeling of muscle contraction. This creates new neural connections and teaches your baby's brain how to monitor breathing muscles and consciously control the up and down movement of the diaphragm.
Why do unborn babies hiccup??
The results of the London researchers also match the fact, that even unborn babies in the womb often have hiccups. The fetus also seems to train the respiratory muscles of the immature lungs in this way. Maybe you could already feel your baby's hiccups as twitches or soft knocks during your pregnancy? Already in the 9. SSW it can start. This makes hiccups the earliest known activity of the fetus. On average, the little tummy dwellers spend 15 minutes a day hiccupping.
If your little one has drunk too much amniotic fluid, the over-expansion of the stomach can also be a trigger for the hiccups. The unborn baby expels small amounts of amniotic fluid by hiccupping.
Pediatricians observe that premature babies have hiccups especially often. The hiccups probably also help them to get their respiratory muscles in shape. Finally, premature babies lack the training time that mature babies still had in the womb.
How much hiccupping is normal?
Unborn and premature babies hiccup most frequently. You get to 15 minutes of hiccups a day. In babies, hiccups decrease steadily as the respiratory muscles develop, but they can still occur daily. Small children and schoolchildren then hiccup from time to time, while the reaction in adults is very rare. Or can you remember when you had the last hiccup?
Does hiccups harm your baby?
Hiccups aren't bad for your baby and won't hurt him or her. Most of them are not even bothered. Older children first. Adults find hiccups annoying. Thus, over time, a whole range of home remedies have been established to drive away the hiccups. However, since the hiccup usually goes away all by itself again Wait and see for babies the best hiccup medicine. In the rare cases where the hiccups last for hours, a visit to your pediatrician is advisable.
The best remedies for baby hiccups
Home remedies and tricks for hiccups there are a lot. Some help with one, some with the other. Try it! Here comes our selection from the ELTERN trick box:
– Gently massaging the belly or soles of the feet relaxes and is one way to scare away the hiccups. – Gently push your baby's knee toward your chest. This is another home remedy that can help with hiccups. – If the hiccups occur after drinking, often only a burp is needed. – Blow gently on your baby's face. The short irritation changes the breathing rhythm and the hiccup is gone. But as said above, since the babies don't suffer from the hiccups, you might as well wait for them to go away on their own.
Distraction is the magic word even for older children. Then breathing can become calmer again. The diaphragm relaxes. Your child holds his nose with his fingers. Thread the other arm through the crook of your arm as a proboscis. If it's breathing against the closed nostrils now, the elephant game can help dispel the hiccups. – Have your child gargle a tune with a big gulp of water, if they can already do it. If you guessed it, the hiccup might be gone. – Tell your Hiccup patient a joke. Laughter distracts and is known to be the best medicine anyway. – Have your child drink water in seven small sips. This hiccup trick is also an evergreen.
Scaring is also a well-known home remedy for hiccups. For babies and toddlers, of course, it is out of the question. And with older kids, you can package the scare in a funny way, like this: "Look quick, there's a horse doing a headstand!" After all, it all comes down to surprise and distraction.
Annette Nolden and Stephan Heinrich Nolte (2013): The big book for baby's first year. The standard work for the first 12 months, Munich: Grafe und Unzer.