2018-08-02

Hiccup in the newborn: everything you need to know

Hiccup in the newborn: everything you need to know

Hiccup is a natural phenomenon that does not cause pain in the newborn. Most infants prove this, but it is rather harmless and does not require any specific treatment. In fact, although it occurs suddenly, the symptom disappears by itself in a short time.

What is hiccup?

Hiccup is a sudden and involuntary spasm of the diaphragm that manifests itself through curious sounds produced by the mouth. When a hiccup occurs, instead of inhaling the air, we exhale it.

Precisely, the hiccup starts from the bottom and originates in the diaphragm, the muscle that is between the lungs and stomach and is involved in breathing. Normally, it lowers in the inhalation phase allowing air to enter the lungs and relaxes during exhalation, letting it out of the mouth or nose. However, if something irritates the diaphragm or disturbs its function during breathing, it may contract suddenly and involuntarily, forcing a sudden inhalation of air. In addition, the vocal cords are also closed and, therefore, the sound that characterizes it appears: "hip hip".

What are the causes of hiccups in newborns?

So far, the causes of hiccups in newborns have not been precisely determined. However, one of the most frequent reasons is that it is due to the development of the nervous and digestive systems.

Immaturity of the nervous system

The nervous system is what controls any muscle in the body. When an irritation of the phrenic nerve and the vagus nerve occurs, involuntary movements of the diaphragm are activated and here is the occurrence of hiccups. Furthermore, according to experts, premature children, whose organs are more immature, have more hiccups than a normal child.

Immaturity of the digestive system

Infants have an "immature" digestive system and therefore the causes can be as diverse as these:

  • Stretching of the stomach due to air ingress when sucking food.
  • Bottle teats with very large or very small holes.
  • Difficulty for the child to grasp the nipple, which favors the entry of air.
  • Use of dummies with an inappropriate shape.
  • Strange positions when eating.
  • Ingestion of food unsuitable for babies.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux.
  • Anxiety.
  • Emotional stress.
  • Changes in gastric and body temperature.

Possible remedies

The hiccup usually lasts only a few minutes in the newborn. Therefore, it is not usually necessary to make great efforts to try to calm it down. In more permanent cases, the hiccup can be eliminated with small measures. Here are some of them:

Breastfeeding - it is important that the mother feeds the baby when she is calm and before she is very hungry. Therefore, it will eat more slowly and will not ingest much air.

Position - If the hiccup originates while the newborn eats, the first step will be to change position and try to make it erupt and relax.

Eat Slowly - When the baby eats too fast it is better to stop and start again after a few minutes. The aim will be to prevent the child from swallowing too much air while eating.

Ruttinum - Once finished eating it is convenient to put it in a vertical position to facilitate the elimination of air through the ruttinum.

Lucia Franco

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