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What's the Deal with Baby Hiccups?

April 19th, 2018 | By: Sydney Loney
The best cure for baby hiccups — and how to prevent them from happening in the first place

In This Article

What's the Deal with Baby Hiccups?

No one likes getting hit with the hiccups, and that includes babies. Here’s why they happen, how to cure them and what you can do to keep them from bugging your baby from the start.

Why do babies hiccup?

It all starts in utero, says Dr. Janice Heard, a community paediatrician in Calgary and member of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Public Education Advisory Committee. “Many moms can feel their infants hiccupping during pregnancy,” she says. Hiccups are actually quite mysterious she adds, and no one really knows why they occur. (One recent theory from researchers in Kingston, ON is that they act as a burping mechanism to help babies take in more milk.)

Whatever the cause, we do know that hiccups are a symptom of an irritated diaphragm, which can happen when infants get upset (a prolonged bout of crying often leads to uncontrollable hiccupping) or eat or drink too fast. “Their bellies expand too quickly, which irritates the diaphragm,” Dr. Heard says. When this happens, the diaphragm starts to spasm and the vocal cords snap shut, causing the classic “hic” sound.