Baby Hiccups Averted

I just got home from my friend’s house. I visited him because his wife has just recently given birth to their first son, a lively eight pounder, who looks exactly just like him. I used to always kid my friend about his curly hair and about how hard it was to comb it that if a cockroach entered it, will have a hard time in getting out again. His newborn son also has rich curly hair, but unlike his father, it kind of looked good on him. He also got his father’s blue eyes and slender nose, traits that will serve him well, once he grows up. We had a fun afternoon, all four of us, as there is never a dull moment when me and my friend are around each other. Believe me.

There was only a very minor event that happened during my visit there, I wouldn’t really call it a scare, but whenever a newborn baby is involved, things eventually get blown out of proportion and people tend to get panicky about it. In the middle of feeding from his mom’s breast, the baby suddenly had a bout of hiccups. It was very unusual as there was a popping sound that also accompanied each hiccup. Naturally, his parents began to worry and got exasperated as they can really do nothing about it. Being new to having a child, they still do not have the skills when things like this happen, so basically, their first reaction will always be of fear. You should have seen the look of worry in their eyes.

Baby hiccups are very common especially to nursing ones, and even while still in the womb, babies are known to have it. Newborn hiccups are caused by either their stomach getting full or the oft chance that the baby swallows air. The baby’s body is not fully developed yet so they get the hiccups more frequently than us adult. Their stomach gets full easily when feeding, due to its relatively small size, thereby increasing their risk of getting hiccups. Bottle fed babies on the other hand are more prone to hiccups as they usually gulp in air during their feeding from a bottle.

Sometimes getting hiccups are even welcomed by other parents, as they believe that it is a sign that their babies are already full and well fed, while others, especially new parents, tend to think of it as something serious. Hiccups, scientifically speaking, occur when the diaphragm is irritated or stimulated, causing its muscle to contract sporadically, producing the telltale hiccup sound. Hiccups, when infrequent and not chronic, are usually not serious, only irritating.

Having had their moment, I started to explain to them about hiccups, and what to do when their baby gets one. I suggested that they put the baby on his back and to gently pat him at the middle of his shoulder blades. They eventually followed my instructions and the hiccups immediately stopped, only to be replaced by a loud burp, which sent us all laughing. Another emergency situation stopped on its tracks.