Advertising
Advertising

Why Do Babies Get Hiccups?

Why Do Babies Get Hiccups?

If you have noticed that your newborn has the hiccups — a lot! — you might be concerned and wonder just what is going on. Read on to find out about why babies get the hiccups as well as some practical suggestions for making them better.

What Is A Hiccup?

A hiccup, medically speaking, is also known as a synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF) or singulitis. It is an involuntary movement of the diaphragm, the muscle which separates the lungs from the abdominal area. The small “hic” sound that you hear is because when the diaphragm does contract, it causes the vocal chords to close abruptly, which makes the typically hiccupping noise. Babies can do this anywhere from 4 to 60 times a minute! This will often happen when babies are feeding, whether they are fed by breast or by bottle.

Advertising

Why Do Babies Get Hiccups?

So, why do babies get hiccups? There is actually quite a lot of debate over that question. Reasons that doctors have put forth include:

Advertising

  • An overly full stomach; the newborn stomach is small and fills up easily
  • Swallowing too much air while breast or bottle feeding
  • Feeding too quickly
  • Stress
  • A sudden temperature change
  • An immature diaphragm (it has not fully developed yet)

If you are worried about why do babies get hiccups, the most important thing to remember is that hiccups are considered perfectly normal. As a matter of fact, many babies begin hiccupping before they are ever born, usually in the second trimester — and some moms can even feel it while they are still carrying! The hiccups will not hurt or distress your baby and after a few weeks, the amount that your baby hiccups will be greatly reduced.

Advertising

However, there are ways that you can reduce hiccups in your newborn, such as the ones listed below.

Advertising

What Can You Do To Reduce Hiccups?

If you want to reduce the amount of hiccupping in your newborn, there are many tricks that you can try, including:

  • Don’t wait until a baby is voraciously hungry before you feed them. This might cause them to try to feed too quickly, which can lead to overfeeding or too much air in the belly — both of which can bring on a round of hiccups.
  • Listen closely to your baby while they are breastfeeding; if you hear a lot of gulping sounds, they are probably swallowing a lot of air along with breast milk. If this happens, gently remove them from the breast, wait a few minutes and let them feed again. Slowing down a feed session can help reduce the hiccups.
  • Make sure that if your baby is breastfeeding, they are latching on the right away: they should not only have the nipple in their mouth, but about a large part of the areola (or dark area around the nipple) as well. This will make it less likely that they will swallow a lot of air.
  • Keep your baby in an upright position while feeding, whether they are fed from a breast or a bottle — and afterwards, make sure that they stay upright for at least 30 minutes. This position puts less pressure on the diaphragm and makes hiccupping less likely.
  • Hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle to the baby if you are bottle-feeding. This angle is ideal because it allows air bubbles in the bottle to rise to the top of the bottle — and away from the nipple. This can greatly reduce the amount of air a baby swallows while feeding.

Following these tips will usually make hiccupping less frequent. However, if the tips above are not helping and you feel like the hiccupping is excessive or is interfering with feedings, it is totally OK to call your doctor and report your concerns. As long as it is not excessive, however, it is good to keep in mind that hiccupping is normal and not harmful to your baby — and that with time, it will go away on its own!

Advertising

More by this author

Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Tired and How to Fix It Signs You Might Lack Iron (And 9 Iron-Rich Foods for Your Diet) Amazing Benefits Of Cucumber Water (+5 Refreshing Recipes) How To Improve Your Health With Matcha Green Tea How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It

Trending in Newborn

1 5 Things Every Child Needs To Be Successful In Life 2 5 Baby Shower Ideas For First Time Mothers 3 5 Ways to Protect Your Baby From Common Safety Hazards 4 Baby on the Way? 9 Practical Ways to Save Money 5 What All New Parents Need to Know (that People Don’t Tell)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 21, 2021

Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

Bedtimes for kids might be one of the most challenging parts of the day. Parents are tired and ready to relax, while kids of all ages seem to find extra energy and want nothing to do with sleep. One more story, one more trip to the bathroom, and one more question quickly make for a late-night, and no one gets the rest they need.

If this happens often, you might start wondering if you and your child are getting the proper amount of sleep and how to make bedtime easier. Why is it so crucial for your child to get enough sleep? What does sleep deprivation look like? How do you improve bedtimes for kids?

How Sleep Impacts Your Child’s Health

Whether young or old, sleep is a vital part of staying healthy. There are many benefits to getting the right amount of sleep while not getting enough can have negative consequences. How does it impact your child?[1]

  • Brain Function – Sleep is linked to certain brain functions such as concentration, productivity, and cognition. These all impact a child’s behavior and academic success.
  • Weight – Sleep patterns affect the hormones responsible for appetite. A lack of sleep interferes with the ability to regulate food intake, making overeating more likely.
  • Physical Performance – Sleep impacts a person’s physical abilities. Proper rest means better performance, concentration, energy, mental clarity, and faster speed.
  • Physical Health – There are many ways sleep promotes health. Sleep heals the body but also helps prevent disease and health issues. Getting proper rest will regulate blood pressure, help prevent heart disease, reduce chances of sleep apnea, reduce inflammation, boost immune system, and lower risk of weight gain.
  • Improve Mental Health – A lack of sleep has a negative impact on mood and social and emotional intelligence. A child not getting proper sleep is more likely to experience depression, lack empathy and be unaware of other people’s emotions and reactions.

Sleep, Risky Behavior, and Teens

Studies found that teens were more likely to engage in risky behavior when they are sleep-deprived. They’ll have problems regulating their mood, making them more short-tempered, aggressive, and impulsive. Their inability to self-regulate can even look like the symptoms of ADHD.[2]

Sleep deprivation becomes hazardous when teens are driving. The impulsiveness and risk-taking, along with exhaustion, put them at a higher risk for accidents. In fact, driving tired is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08.[3]

Advertising

You can see why sleep is so essential to everyone’s health, but how much is needed? What do pediatricians recommend? Is it the same for all ages?

Sleep Recommendations From Pediatricians

Sleep requirements vary by age. It won’t be the same for every individual. Some people find that they need more sleep than others.

Here is a basic guideline of what pediatricians now recommend:[4]

  • Ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours (including naps)
  • Ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
  • Ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
  • Age 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
  • Age 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

Increase the amount of sleep if your child isn’t thriving on the recommended amount.

Signs Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep

There are ways to tell if your child is getting adequate sleep beyond the usual grumpiness. Here are specific things to watch out for:[5]

Advertising

  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Difficulty waking up on time
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • Inattention
  • Mood swings
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Impulse control

As you can see, prolonged lack of sleep can cause relational problems and hinder your child’s ability to do well in school. What can you do if you realize your child is not getting enough sleep? How can you improve bedtimes for your kids?

How to Set Up a Bedtime Routine

Sleep hygiene or a bedtime schedule will help your child fall asleep faster. It will also improve the quality of sleep. You will need to adjust to what works for your family, but the following suggestions can help everyone have a more pleasant bedtime.

For Babies

Most people think they have to let their baby “cry it out” at bedtime. However, there are ways you can teach a baby to sleep without tears, making the experience more pleasant for everyone. In fact, studies show the faded bedtime method—or gentle sleep training—is just as effective as leaving a baby to cry but without the stress.[6] What is gentle sleep training?

Gentle Sleep Training

This method eases babies and young children into falling asleep on their own. There are two ways to do this:

1. Positive Routines With Faded Bedtime

Kids learn to fall asleep easily by using comforting, quiet, and predictable rituals, up to twenty minutes long. The key is to choose a bedtime that’s not too early. A child that isn’t tired will only fight sleep.

Advertising

Start the process when your baby or child is sleepy, even if it’s later than you’d prefer. You’ll notice a pattern and quickly discover the time they naturally start winding down. Make this their bedtime for now. They will learn to associate sleep with the routine, and you’ll be able to start fifteen to twenty minutes earlier to slowly adjust their schedule.

2. Sleep With Parental Presence

With this method, you lie down with your baby or child until they fall asleep. Over time, you pay less attention to your child, gradually sitting up, then sitting in a chair. Eventually, your child will be able to sleep without you. A study showed that using this method helped infants sleep longer and wake up less.[7]

Both of these ways take time but are effective and less traumatic than leaving an infant or young child to cry.

More Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

You want to build a routine, but how? What are practical things you can do to help your baby get ready for bed?

Here are tips for a soothing and calm bedtime:[8]

Advertising

  • Help set their “internal clock” by exposing them to natural daylight, daytime activities, and the calmness of evening.
  • Block blue light exposure.
  • Make the hour up to bedtime calm, peaceful, and pleasant.
  • Learn how to keep stress minimal for you and your baby.
  • Don’t force sleep. It will increase anxiety and make rest more difficult.
  • Avoid late afternoon naps
  • Prolong the time between nap and bedtime.
  • Feed baby right before bed.
  • Avoid intervening too soon if the baby starts to wake up. Give your child a chance to fall back asleep without your help.

For Elementary-Aged Children

It’s easier to follow a routine if you start young, but it’s never too late to begin. The good news is it only takes a few nights to notice an improvement in your child’s sleep.

These ideas will help you set up a schedule that will encourage your child to fall asleep easier, faster, and for a more extended period.[9]

  • Offer them a nutritious snack.
  • Bathe them.
  • Brush their teeth and go to the bathroom.
  • Read them a story.
  • Sing them a song.
  • Cuddle or massage them.
  • Talk about the day.

For best results, choose a handful of activities and do them in the same order each night. Dim the lights and keep activity minimal to help everyone slow down.

For Teens

They might fight the idea of getting more sleep, but teens will benefit from a routine, too. They’re usually capable of overseeing their bedtime, but a little structure and oversight can help them get the sleep they need. By implementing the following tips, your teen can get better rest.[10]

  • Avoid caffeine in the evening.
  • Limit screen time.
  • Avoid late-night binging.
  • Exercise, ideally sixty minutes a day.
  • Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
  • Talk through problems.

Quality Sleep for a Healthy Life

Bedtimes for kids can be an enjoyable part of the day with proper sleep hygiene in place. Not only can it be quality time with your child, but it can also set them on the road to good health and high performance. By implementing these tips, you can ensure proper rest for the whole family and better bedtimes for kids.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Igordoon Primus via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medical News Today: Why Sleep Is Essential For Health
[2] Child Mind Institute: Teens And Sleep: The Cost Of Sleep Deprivation
[3] Depart of Health: Drowsy Driving Prevention, Teens Ages 16 To 19
[4] AAP publications: AAP Endorses New Recommendations On Sleep Times
[5] Journal of Excellence in Nursing Leadership: Sleep Deprivation In Children A Growing Public Health Concern
[6] Parenting Science: Gentle Infant Sleep Training
[7] BetterHealth: Solutions to sleep concerns (11) – babies 6 to 12 months
[8] Parenting Science: 15 Evidence-Based Baby Sleep Tips
[9] Sleep Foundation: Bedtime Routines For Children
[10] NHS: Sleep Tips For Teenagers

Read Next