Hiccups are a sudden contraction of the diaphragm due to irritation or stimulation of muscles. Hiccups are very common in babies and they can frighten the mothers. Babies can even hiccup in the womb from the second trimester. Here are 6 reasons why the babies hiccup.
1. Excessive feeding:
Excessive feeding, which includes breastmilk will lead to bloating of the stomach in babies. This sudden enlargement of the abdominal cavity stretches the diaphragm and causes spasm. This induces hiccups in babies.
2. Inhaling too much air:
If you are bottle feeding your baby, there are chances that he/she might swallow air. This is because milk flows faster from a bottle when compared to a breast. The symptoms of this will be similar to that of overfeeding. The stomach swells and causes hiccups. A combination of overfeeding and gulping excessive air can result in hiccups and make the baby cranky.
3. Gastroesophageal reflux:
It is a condition where the contents of the stomach move into the esophagus. If the lower esophageal sphincter, that lies between esophagus and stomach is underdeveloped, it prevents the upward movement forward movement of food causing reflux in babies. The backward flow of food causes irritation and the acid stimulates the nerve cells to cause a flutter in the diaphragm resulting in hiccups.
If your baby has respiratory problems like asthma, the bronchial tubes of the lungs will get inflamed. This reduces the airflow into the lungs. The shortage of breath leads to wheezing. This again results in spasmodic movement of the diaphragm inducing hiccups.
The baby might be allergic to some proteins that are present in formula milk. Sometimes, even the breast milk might contain proteins that the babies are allergic to. This causes inflammation of the esophagus. Due to this, the diaphragm flutters causing hiccups. Sometimes, the foods that the mother consume, may alter the milk proteins, which may also cause allergies in babies.
6. Air pollutants:
Babies have a sensitive respiratory system and any airborne irritant like smoke, pollution, fragrance can induce a cough in babies. The repeated coughs weigh high pressure on the diaphragm, resulting in hiccups.
As mentioned earlier, hiccups are common in babies and there is nothing to panic about. Here are a few remedies to prevent hiccups in babies.
1. After feeding, place your baby on your shoulder and tap gently until they burp. This helps to eliminate the air that the baby has swallowed.
2. Do not overfeed your babies. Instead of a single sitting, you can feed your baby, at regular intervals. This reduces the risk of overfeeding.
3. Hold your baby at the angle of 30-45 degree while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. This will ensure the smooth flow of milk through the esophagus.
4. Clean your baby's bottle regularly, to prevent the accumulation of the milk proteins. The solid build up can obstruct the milk flow and the baby might swallow excessive air, leading to hiccups.