Baby hiccups are very common and are not a cause of concern. In fact, many babies have hiccups even inside the womb. Hiccups tend to be most common in babies younger than one year of age and improve after the first birthday. It remains unknown why hiccups are so common in infants but they are usually completely harmless. Just like in adults, hiccups in babies are caused by sudden contractions of the diaphragm, a muscle which separates the abdomen from the chest and plays an important role in breathing. The result of the diaphragm contractions is the distinctive hic sound which can be annoying but nothing more. A number of factors can cause the diaphragm to contract, most often eating too fast or too much, swallowing air, sudden temperature changes and excitement/stress. Baby hiccups are completely harmless and go away on their own within a few minutes without treatment. So if your baby is having hiccups, just wait for them to pass. You may stumble upon some folk remedies for hiccups but you are highly recommended to avoid treating hiccups on your own without consulting with your pediatrician first. There is no evidence that any of the folk hiccup remedies works, while some can even be harmful for your baby. In addition, hiccups do not seem to cause problems for babies at all although they can be upsetting to their parents worrying that they may be a sign of a potentially serious underlying condition. But these worries are in 99 percent of cases groundless.
Baby hiccups are not a sign of a serious illness but if you are worried about your baby having hiccups, you should bring up your concerns at your baby’s routine checkup. Babies who have hiccups are in most cases completely healthy but in rare cases, hiccups can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or infant acid reflux, a condition marked by reflux of the stomach content into the esophagus and sometimes out of the mouth. Infant acid reflux should not be confused with spitting up a small amount of milk or formula which happens to all babies from time to time. Babies who have infant acid reflux, on the other hand, spit up large amounts of fluids on a frequent basis. They may also be irritable during or after feeding, have more frequent hiccups, cough, wheeze, refuse to eat and display a colicky behavior. Fortunately, infant acid reflux usually is not serious and is typically overgrown by the age of 1 year.
If your baby is having hiccups and if they seem to cause problems for him or her, for example interfering with eating, sleeping or any other way, you should not hesitate to call your pediatrician. You are also highly recommended to take your baby to his or her doctor if hiccups are accompanied by any other worrying symptoms such as frequent or recurrent vomiting, fever, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, refusing to eat or inadequate weight gain.