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Why Does My Baby Get Hiccups?

Your baby can get hiccups even before they're born.

You might even feel them when they’re inside you as tiny jerky movements. 

Just like for us grown-ups, baby hiccups (sometimes spelt hiccoughs) are annoying but harmless. They usually stop after a few minutes but you might notice them quite a lot during the first few months of your baby’s life. 

Ok, so why do they get hiccups? 

Ready for some science? Hiccups happen because your baby’s diaphragm (a bit of muscle under our lungs that helps us breathe) does a little twitch. Sometimes that muscle contracts suddenly and a bit of air gets sucked in. That puff of air hits your baby's vocal cords, they close up and that’s the hiccup sound you hear.  We don’t really know why anyone gets hiccups, but it’s sometimes because babies eat too fast or too much, get gas or feel a bit overwhelmed. 

How do I get rid of them? 

Most of the time you don’t need to do anything because they’ll go away on their own. But if it’s stressing you or your baby out then you can try:

  • Taking a big old breath and relaxing yourself and your baby during feeds. Sometimes if your baby is overexcited, nervous or stressed they can get hiccups. 
  • If you’re bottle-feeding try a different teat to slow down the flow. It’s also worth giving anti-colic bottles a try. 
  • Taking a break and getting them to do a big burp. 
  • Try smaller feeds, more often and keep your baby upright when you feed. 

Hiccups straight after feeding can be a sign of reflux but if that’s the case you’ll probably notice other issues like poor weight gain, coughing or crying during feeds. 

If you’re really worried then chat to your health visitor or GP about any feeding issues or hiccups. 

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