Before your child is even born, they begin to hiccup. Do you remember the adorable little movements that occurred within your tummy while you were expecting?
It was totally normal then, and it’s just as normal now that they’re out in the world and in your arms. There’s no cause for concern, and you don’t need to stop baby hiccups.
Even though it seem a bit alarming at first, hiccups in babies after feeding can normally be helped by just gently burping your child. But if your baby hiccups after every feeding and you want a few tricks, like if your baby’s hiccups are related to the way you feed them, we’ve got you covered.
Why do babies hiccup after eating?
The best place to start figuring out how to stop baby hiccups is figuring out why your infant hiccups. Just like adults, there doesn’t seem to be any major reason most babies hiccup (it doesn’t have much of a purpose) but there are a few starting points to check.
Your baby’s hiccups could be because of:
eating too quickly
swallowing too much air
sudden change of stomach temperature (going from cold milk to warm milk)
Things to look out for when feeding
Baby hiccuping after feeding should subside after a few minutes or slow pauses – so give it some time. If you’re nursing, try slowing down your feedings and stopping when they stop sucking. If they’re producing a lot of slurping noises, it’s usually because your baby is absorbing a lot at once!
With bottle fed babies, they could be swallowing too much air during feedings. Check your baby’s bottle to ensure that it isn’t causing too much trapped gas. You could also check their teat, as if it is broken or too fast a flow, this may be causing the milk to flow quite quickly. It’s important to note that they don’t always start from a feeding, so you can let them pass and look at other possible causes.
If your baby becomes extremely uncomfortable and is in obvious pain or consistently hiccups and vomits after feeding, it’s always best to consult your medical professional. This could be a sign of something underlying or requiring more investigation with your baby, such as acid reflux.
How can I best support my baby?
Picking up your infant when they cries after eating is perfectly okay. In fact, it’s advised that you burp your infant after each feeding to get rid of any little gas bubbles that might accumulate. Spend a few minutes with your infant standing up, then stroke their back softly in circular motions. After eating, this should aid in releasing any retained gas. Additionally, it’s crucial to do this in the middle of a feeding, that is, before you continue latching and feeding on the second breast or before you finish the bottle.
Your baby will generally let you know that she or he has had enough at each feeding with a quiet alert, for example, they may stop suckling and let go of the breast – or even fall asleep!
Once you are satisfied that your infant has been well fed, try to hold them close to your shoulder for some time after feeding, keeping the hiccupping to a minimum. Some parents worry about disturbing their baby’s sleep if they have fallen asleep on the breast but it is important that you do so. As long as you are using ‘baby friendly’ techniques i.e soft and gentle movements, then your baby should still remain asleep and can easily be transferred.
A dummy can also be a useful tool if your baby needs a little extra comfort after a feed and before settling back into their bed.
How to Stop Newborn Hiccups After Breastfeeding
1. Take a break in feeding
If your baby is crying during feedings or appears to be in pain, they may be consuming too much milk at once. This is a signal to pause for a moment before continuing with the feed. You’ll notice that the sound she makes while feeding has changed, and there are longer pauses between suckling. This is a good sign that your baby is nearing the end of the feed, and you’ll be able to prevent those newborn hiccups.
2. Burp them during feedings – and after!
It is normal for a baby to require burping both during and after a feeding. When babies get hiccups, you simply need to hold them upright and rub their back in circular motions to help relieve any air swallowed during feedings.
3. Wait for up to 20 minutes after each feed
Keeping your child in a comfortable position for 20-30 minutes after a feed will allow them to digest properly and pass any excess air. Playing with your baby right after can keep them happy and active, but avoid any heavy activity with your baby right after.
4. Find a calm and quiet space
Breastfeeding will work best when you’re completely focused and not doing anything else. If you are out and about, try to locate a calm and comfortable spot a bit before the feed is due. Your baby will generally pick up on your energy, so if you are rushing around and are unable to relax, chances are your baby won’t be able to either. Try to relax before feeding to increase their interest in the feeding and ensure that you can complete a full feed without rushing them. If you are at home, find your favourite spot in the house and enjoy this moment with your little one.
Are hiccups a sign that my baby’s full?
Most of the time, hiccups in babies are more a result of too much too fast, rather than too much milk altogether. Even with persistent hiccups. In saying that, some experts do believe hiccups could be a result of food and stomach acid up rising up when baby is full. To figure it out, gently burp your baby before continuing to feed by offering the second breast or the remainder of the bottle.
Will introducing solids help?
People generally believe that once a baby is six months old and begins eating solid foods, the hiccups will go away. That can be true in many cases once your baby has matured and begun their solid journey. If your baby continues to hiccup after meals, it could be due to the way they eat and/or the type of food they are eating. It is critical to keep your baby upright for 30 minutes after feedings, just as it is with milk feeds. Once they are over 6 months old, you can also offer them a little water with their meals to help with digestion. If you are concerned about your baby’s or child’s feedings with frequent burps, please consult a doctor.
This way, you can rule out any foods that could be causing your child’s reaction.Nonetheless, burping after eating or drinking is not uncommon, particularly among fast eaters. It’s up to you to support your child and the amount of food they consume during mealtimes, as well as to remember to take breaks.
A note from the editor
Breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy and it will take time for you to get into the rhythm of feeding your little ones. If you are ever experiencing any concerns or are finding it difficult, there are many great resources available. You can consult with your doctor, midwife, a lactation specialist or many of the wonderful online resources.