Hiccups in Babies: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & When to Seek Help

hiccups in babies

Discover why your baby gets hiccups and how to prevent and manage them. Learn when to seek medical advice for your little one’s comfort.

Hiccups in Babies: Causes and Symptoms And Prevention


Hiccups in babies can be a puzzling experience for parents, but they are generally a regular occurrence and rarely a cause for concern. Understanding the underlying causes and recognizing the associated symptoms can provide clarity and help parents navigate this common phenomenon. 

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the details of hiccups in babies, including their causes, symptoms, and when to seek medical attention.

Causes of Hiccups in Babies:

1. Immature Nervous System: 

Babies sometimes get hiccups because their nervous systems are still growing and can send wrong signals to the diaphragm.

2. Feeding Habits: 

Rapid or overfeeding, as well as hurried feeding, can lead to air ingestion, triggering hiccups.

3. Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER): 

Acid reflux, common in infants, can irritate the diaphragm and induce hiccups.

4. Sudden Temperature Changes: 

Research has shown that abrupt shifts in temperature, For example, moving from a hot setting to a cold one, can spark reflexes that bring about hiccups.

5. Emotional Factors: 

Excitement, stress, or bouts of crying can stimulate the diaphragm and lead to hiccups in babies.

6. Air Swallowing: 

Babies might unintentionally swallow air while feeding, using a pacifier, or crying, prompting hiccups.

7. Full Stomach: 

A Distended Stomach, Often From Feeding Or Air Swallowing, Can Exert Pressure On The Diaphragm And Result In Hiccups.

Symptoms of Hiccups in Babies:

1. Rhythmic Contractions: 

Hiccups manifest as rhythmic and involuntary diaphragm contractions, causing a characteristic “hic” sound.

2. Visible Movement: 

Babies might exhibit slight movements or jerks during hiccups, primarily in the abdominal or chest area.

3. Brief Duration: 

Hiccups in babies are typically short-lived, lasting several minutes. However, they can occasionally extend for 15 minutes or more.

4. Feeding Interruption: 

Babies might momentarily pause during feeding when hiccups occur but usually resume nursing once the hiccups subside.

5. Minimal Distress: 

In most instances, hiccups do not cause significant discomfort or distress in babies, who often continue their activities or routines unperturbed.

When to Seek Medical Attention:

While hiccups in babies are usually harmless, there are scenarios when consulting a healthcare professional is advisable:

  • Prolonged Duration: 

If hiccups persist for an extended period, exceeding an hour, or occur with remarkable frequency.

  • Discomfort or Pain: 

If your baby’s hiccups are causing discomfort, pain, or noticeable distress, it is essential to seek guidance from a medical professional.

  • Respiratory Issues: 

If breathing difficulties, wheezing, or any respiratory issues accompany hiccups, it is essential to seek medical advice.

  • Feeding Challenges: 

Hiccups coinciding with feeding problems, poor weight gain, or signs of inadequate nutrition should prompt a medical consultation.

  • Vomiting: 

If the baby has hiccups and suddenly starts vomiting, particularly projectile vomiting, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial.

Understanding that occasional hiccups are a regular aspect of a baby’s early life can reassure parents. However, should unusual symptoms or concerns arise, enlisting the guidance of a pediatrician ensures accurate evaluation and peace of mind.

How Can Parents Prevent and Manage Hiccups in Babies? 

When your baby has hiccups, holding them upright can help relieve pressure on the diaphragm. Eating While typically harmless, these bouts can occasionally disrupt your baby’s comfort. The key lies in understanding the triggers and implementing effective techniques for prevention and management. 

This comprehensive guide provides parents with actionable tips to navigate infant hiccups.

 Preventing Hiccups:

  1. Slow and Calm Feeding: 

Opt for relaxed and paced feedings. Slowing down the feeding process helps minimize the ingestion of air, a potential hiccup trigger.

  1. Burping: 

Gently burping your baby during and after feedings aids in expelling trapped air, reducing the likelihood of hiccups.

  1. Proper Latching: 

For breastfeeding parents, ensuring an adequate latch minimizes air swallowing during feeding.

  1. Upright Feeding Position: 

Opt for a good feeding position to discourage air flow into the stomach.

  1. Avoid Overfeeding: 

Pay heed to your baby’s cues to prevent overfeeding, which can contribute to hiccups.

  1. Pacifier Soothing: 

Introducing a pacifier post-feeding can provide comfort and potentially reduce the occurrence of hiccups.

  1. Temperature Transition: 

Minimize sudden temperature change after feeding, as they can trigger reflexes that lead to hiccups.

Managing Hiccups:

  1. Calm:

Keep calm and collected while dealing with your baby’s hiccups; they can pick up on your emotions.

  1. Positioning: 

When your baby has hiccups, holding them upright can help relieve pressure on the diaphragm.

  1. Distraction Techniques: 

Engage your baby with gentle rocking, singing, or a beloved toy to divert their attention from the hiccups.

  1. Offer Sips of Water: 

Providing small sips of water for babies starting solids can help halt hiccups.

  1. Tummy Time After Hiccups: 

Gentle tummy time post-hiccup can release trapped air and offer relief.

  1. Comfortable Attire: 

Dress your baby in loose-fitting clothes to minimize unnecessary abdominal pressure.


It’s very common for babies to get hiccups in their early days. Although they might seem strange, they usually aren’t a big deal. Hiccups happen because your baby’s nervous system is still developing because of their feeding or a sudden temperature change. If you notice your baby hiccuping and they seem fine otherwise, don’t worry too much. But, if the hiccups last a long time, make your baby uncomfortable, or happen with breathing problems or feeding issues, talk to a doctor. As a parent, paying attention to your baby’s behavior is important so you can help them if they get hiccups. Following some simple advice and getting help when needed can ensure your baby is comfortable and happy.

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