Several methods may stop hiccups in newborns, including regular burping and using pacifiers. It is important to remember that most babies get hiccups. However, a parent or caregiver may wish to try home remedies to stop or prevent hiccups.

Hiccups happen when a baby’s diaphragm contracts. This forces air out through closed vocal cords, creating the hiccupping sound.

Hiccups do not harm a baby. While adults may find hiccups uncomfortable, they tend to cause less distress in babies. It is usually fine to leave a baby to stop hiccupping on their own. If they do not stop, a person may want to speak with a doctor.

When a parent or caregiver is concerned about newborn hiccups and does not want to let them run their course, the individual may find various strategies helpful.

This article explores ways to try to stop or prevent hiccups in babies. It also looks at when to contact a doctor.

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When the stomach fills with air, it may push on the diaphragm, causing spasms. Taking a break from feeding to burp the baby may reduce the amount of air in their stomach. This may prevent hiccups.

According to Boys Town Pediatrics, it is a good idea to burp babies who are bottle-fed every time they consume 2–3 ounces.

If a baby is breastfed, it is a good idea to burp them while switching between breasts.

Learn more about burping a baby.

Rubbing their back and rocking the baby back and forth can help them relax. This may stop the spasms that cause hiccups.

Rubbing the back can also help with burping, which may help stop hiccups.

Sucking on a pacifier may help to relax the diaphragm and stop hiccupping. However, there is no specific scientific evidence to support this, only anecdotal reports.

Gripe water is a mixture of herbs and water. Some people have traditionally used it to treat colic and other stomach concerns.

The herbs usually contained in gripe water include:

If stomach issues are responsible for hiccups, some people believe that gripe water may help. However, no scientific evidence currently supports this treatment.

A person may decide to give gripe water a try. However, some advice suggests that gripe water is not suitable for babies under the age of 6 months.

Some well-known remedies for hiccups are entirely rooted in tradition and have no scientific basis. These include:

  • making a person jump
  • pulling their tongue
  • making them sip water while upside down

It is a bad idea to try these, and many other home remedies, on a baby. These supposed remedies can distress a baby and may even be dangerous. They are unlikely to stop the hiccups.

Hiccups in babies tend to occur for no apparent reason, but feeding can cause the diaphragm to spasm. They may happen when a baby:

  • overfeeds
  • eats too quickly
  • swallows too much air

These factors can cause the baby’s stomach to expand. As it expands, it pushes against the diaphragm, triggering the spasms that lead to hiccups.

Hiccups happen when something causes the diaphragm to spasm, and the vocal cords quickly shut. Air is forced out through the closed vocal cords, creating the hiccupping sound.

The diaphragm is a large muscle that runs across the bottom of the rib cage. It moves up and down as a person breathes.

If hiccups happen frequently and cause distress, they may result from an underlying health condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux (GER). This occurs when partially digested food and stomach acid come back up through the esophagus, or food pipe. As these fluids pass the diaphragm, they may irritate it and trigger spasms.

Feeding or stomach issues may not always cause hiccups. The diaphragm may also spasm for unknown reasons.

It may not always be possible to prevent hiccups. While there is no evidence to support any techniques for preventing hiccups, a parent or caregiver may wish to try the following strategies below may help:

  • feeding the baby before they become very hungry, to keep them calm
  • feeding the baby frequently in small amounts
  • sitting the baby upright after each feeding
  • repositioning the bottle so that no air is near the teat
  • ensuring that the baby’s mouth is latched over the whole nipple

Contact a doctor if hiccups seem to distress the baby. This can indicate an underlying health condition.

GER may cause frequent, uncomfortable hiccups. A baby may have GER if they:

  • cry more often than usual, particularly around feedings
  • arch their back excessively during or after feedings
  • spit up more often than usual

Anyone who suspects that a baby may have GER should speak with a doctor for advice.

Here are some frequently asked questions about hiccuping in babies.

Can you lay a baby down while hiccuping?

It may help to burp a baby by laying them across the knees on a burping towel or cloth. It is important to support the baby’s head with one hand, while using the other hand to gently pat their back.

Does tummy time help with hiccups?

It may be beneficial to avoid tummy time immediately after meals or if the baby has hiccups. Allowing time to pass after feeding can help prevent overstimulation and also reduce spit-up.

How long should baby hiccups last?

Baby hiccups typically only last a few minutes. Steps such as burping the baby and using a pacifier may help to stop hiccups.

Newborn hiccups are not usually a cause for concern. Most babies have hiccups in their first year. Many of the likely causes relate to feeding.

Following feeding best practices may reduce hiccupping, and some home remedies may also help.

If hiccupping is frequent, or if it causes distress or other symptoms, it is best to contact a doctor. It is also a good idea to contact a doctor if hiccups frequently occur.

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