Hiccups occur when the diaphragm has a spasm. The spasm causes the body to take in air that quickly stops when the vocal chords snap shut, resulting in the “hic” sound. Your baby has been hiccupping since before she was born and most likely will continue to hiccup throughout her life.
More of an annoyance than a health concern, normal hiccups resolve on their own in a few minutes or a few hours. In very rare cases, however, hiccups can last more than 48 hours (persistent) or more than a month (intractable). Both persistent and intractable hiccups can interfere with growth and signal a more serious condition.
- Sudden and abrupt involuntary spasms and contractions of the diaphragm
- The “hic” sound
- Irritation to the diaphragm
- Eating too much or indigestion
- Eating too fast and swallowing air
- Sudden temperature drop or change in the stomach (cold food in a warm belly or cold drink followed by hot food)
- Raw foods
- Stuck chi in the diaphragm
- Emotional stress or overstimulation
- Feed your baby slowly, and burp halfway through feeding and again after feeding.
- If you are bottle-feeding, hold the bottle upright to prevent your baby from swallowing air as she drinks.
- Help your toddler eat slowly and avoid swallowing air.
- Encourage a relaxing atmosphere at mealtime.
- Avoid sudden temperature drops in the air.
- Avoid extreme temperatures in food and drink.
- Avoid stress and overstimulation.
Hiccups: Suggestions for Care
Hiccups are usually harmless and go away on their own within a few minutes, but they can be bothersome. Once your baby has hiccups, it can help to give her something to suck on. If she is more than six months old, you can try giving her small sips of water. For an older toddler, gently hold her ears with light pressure while she drinks water, or have her hold her breath and count to ten.
- Hara-maki (belly warmer)
- Warm ginger compress or warm water bottle on the upper abdomen (diaphragm area) and below shoulder blades
Foods to Emphasize
Small sips of water for baby and alkaline-producing foods for both mother and baby.
Foods to Avoid
Acid-forming foods, such as caffeine, soy, citrus, wheat, and eggs.
Essential Oils for Baby
Acupoints for Baby
- Stomach 36
- Bladder 17
- Heart Governor 6
- Conception Vessel 12
Reiki for Baby
For two or more minutes, place your hands on the following parts of your child’s body: stomach, diaphragm and upper abdomen, back of neck, forehead, and mid back.
Massage for Baby
- Massage the indented area behind her earlobes.
- Massage the area on the back of the middle finger, on the joint closest to the nail.
- Calm your baby and her digestive tract with gentle, low-pressure strokes on her body, head, arms, and legs.
- Rub the abdomen clockwise (when facing the baby).
Call your health care provider if your baby has hiccups that last more than a day; interfere with her eating, sleeping, or other regular activities; or result in her crying or screaming.
Note: The suggestions and ideas in this article are not intended to take the place of professional guidance or treatment; they are meant to complement the advice of your child’s health care provider, caretakers, and educators, while offering consolidated information to help you develop your intuition and make choices that fit with your own personal, religious, or spiritual philosophies. There is no guarantee as to the effects of the use of the recommendations and no liabilities can be taken.