When I got my first baby, staying close to him was all I wanted to do. I decided to quit my job and stay at our home at Cedar Rapid, Iowa. I had just been elected head of our town’s mothers club. Every member was excited about my new baby and always enjoyed his company during meetings. At two weeks old, I noticed that my son hiccupped quite often. I though it normal until the frequency went from once to thrice per day! “This can’t be normal.” I thought to myself. I sought my doctor’s help only for him to say that it was quite normal for newborn hiccups to occur.
I was asked to let them be and they would eventually go away. However, I couldn’t bear to see my baby go through frequent bouts of hiccups that usually left him crying endlessly. Desperate, I consulted my fellow mothers at the club. Some of the options provided were funny and outrageous. Take one mother who told me to hold my baby’s tongue!
Some of the options offered however seemed reasonable and applicable. I tried some of them out successfully. They included the following.
Regular feeding and in small portions
We usually know our little ones are hungry when they start crying. After this, we try to stuff their little bellies with breast milk. While this might look like a natural way of ensuring that our babies are satisfied, it can actually contribute to hiccups in two ways. First, when a baby cries, he is likely to inhale lots of air which ends up in his stomach. Second, a baby’s stomach is close to the diaphragm. A full belly might irritate the diaphragm prompting hiccups. Regular feeding and in small portions reduces the possibility of hiccups occurring.
Although this might sound a bit outrageous, burping my baby between feeding intervals actually helped relieve his hiccups. I usually did this when changing breasts. To encourage my little one to burp, I usually held him up or at a slight angle. This way, any air trapped in his stomach rose through his esophagus in little burps.
I found out that my baby’s pacifier did more than just keep him calm and quiet. After placing the pacifier in his mouth, he tended to hiccup less. I think the reason for this is that he breathed naturally through his nose and not mouth.
Keeping upright after feeding
When breastfeeding, I usually placed my baby at a 45˚ position. This didn’t guarantee that air wouldn’t settle in his stomach. There were instances when he would start hiccupping if I placed him flat on the bed after feeding. However, after placing him upright after feeding, the hiccups simply disappeared. Holding him upright after feeding for a couple of minutes – before he started dozing off gave me the joy of spending some quality time as well as allowed him to pass off gas naturally.
I understand that sudden temperature changes can trigger hiccups. Cold prompts contractions of the diaphragm which results in hiccups. Keeping my little one wrapped up in a blanket helped in ensuring that he remained hiccup free.