Huffpost Canada Living ca

Why Do Babies Hiccup? New Study Says It Helps With Burping

Posted: Updated:
BABY HICCUPS HELP
Shutterstock

New moms, there's good news for you -- those hiccups your baby keeps experiencing aren't hurting him, they're actually doing your job for you.

A new study has found that hiccups act as a burping mechanism to help feeding mammals take in more milk. The results will be published in BioEssays by Daniel Howes, an associate professor in the Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and the director of the Regional Trauma Program at Kingston General Hospital,.

“We’re suggesting that hiccupping is actually triggered by the presence of air in the stomach," said Howes in a press release.

As a baby hiccups, he explained, it forces air into the lungs, closing the vocal cords and loosening the sphincter, which is above the stomach. This process creates a vacuum that helps push air from the stomach into the esophagus.

Parents of children who hiccup frequently are warned that this may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and should get it checked out. But hiccuping until the age of one, and even in the womb, is considered normal.

Howes' potentially helps to explain why people hiccup at all, though in the case of adults, the involuntary response tends to happen after a large meal, too much alcohol, excitement and even temperature changes.

Though his research centres on babies, Howes hypothesizes that adult hiccups could be a warning sign for when we've eaten too much.

Around the Web

Is it normal that my baby gets hiccups all the time? | BabyCenter

Baby Hiccups - Burping Baby

Infant Hiccups; Causes and Treatments in Babies and Newborns

How do you help a hiccupping baby

How To Help A Baby With Hiccups | LIVESTRONG.COM

Baby Hiccups - How to Get Rid of Hiccups

How Can I Help My Hiccupping Baby?

Q&A: Why does my baby hiccup so much? | BabyZone

HealthyChildren.org - Burping, Hiccups, and Spitting Up

Why do babies get hiccups?