Don't worry if your baby has a bad case of the hiccups. Hiccups are really common. Babies even hiccup in the womb. It's not uncommon for your baby to have multiple bouts of hiccups each day, sometimes lasting even up to 10 minutes.
Hiccups are caused by contraction of your baby's diaphragm, which is the muscle below her rib cage that controls her breathing, accompanied by closure of the vocal cords. Irritation or overstimulation of the diaphragm muscle can result in the funny sound of a hiccup.
Hiccups are usually triggered by feeding, whether from a bottle, breast, or even solids. Overfeeding or swallowing air may trigger bouts of hiccups. Babies with reflux seem to be more prone to hiccuping.
Unfortunately, there's no great remedy for the hiccups. Many believe that sucking on something, like a pacifier, helps stop them. This may relax the diaphragm. Others believe that pacing your baby during feedings with frequent burps and breaks can help ward off these bouts of hiccups.
But if you do nothing at all, hiccups will usually go away on their own. The good news is that your baby's bouts of hiccups will diminish by the time she turns 1. If she still has frequent hiccups after that first birthday or her hiccups are uncontrollable, let your doctor know.
I tell my families, "Hiccups bother you more than they do your baby." They're normal and they will usually resolve on their own.
Video production by Paige Bierma.