Is there something you can do for the newborn’s hiccups in a breastfeeding baby?Hiccups occur in utero even before the fetal breathing movements become evident. Hiccups begin between 22 to 25 weeks before birth (15 to 18 weeks gestational age). Hiccups are brief twitches of the diaphragm, the large, flat muscle separating the chest from the abdominal cavity.
The diaphragm contracts evenly for breathing, but a rapid twitch causes a sudden, small intake of air that we recognize as a hiccup. You hear a sound when the hiccup occurs because the vocal cords briefly snap closed during the hiccup – this is likely to be the body’s precaution to avoid inhaling food or liquid while hiccupping. The medical term for hiccups is singultus.
Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to stop hiccups in a young infant or anyone else. It’s not clear why hiccups occur. Babies certainly hiccup much more frequently than older children or adults. Often hiccups develop after eating. In an effort to minimize the likelihood of hiccups, many parents concentrate on frequent burping and minimizing the amount air swallowed while the baby is eating.
When the baby starts to hiccup, further attempts at burping may not help. A drink of water may be tried, but this also is unlikely to work well. Medications don’t seem to be very helpful, either. Unfortunately, once hiccups begin, there is little you can do other than comfort or distract your baby with an interesting activity while you wait for the hiccups to subside.
I have a three–year–old boy. I’ve been working on his potty training for some time now. I just found out that his former child care teacher had been yelling at him for not using the potty. My son now tries to hold it, even in his diaper. I believe he is afraid to go, thinking he’ll get punished. My question is, how can I make or get him to realize that it is OK to use the potty? I don’t want him to have “Medical” problems from holding it.
The first order of business is creating a less stressful atmosphere for your child to “Go” whether in diapers or the potty. Holding stools is common behavior for children as a reaction to painful passage of stools or if they feel embarrassed about going to the bathroom, of course, holding it too long leads to constipation, which only compounds the problem of painful bowel movements.
Your first goal is making your son’s bowel movements less stressful. Start by relaxing the push for potty training. Tell him that you won’t remind him to go to the potty and that it’s his decision alone. Don’t mention the potty for a couple of weeks. If the stools are very firm, so hard that they are uncomfortable for him to pass, ask for your health care provider’s recommendation for a stool softener such as flavored mineral oil.
After a few weeks, begin to encourage using the potty in a positive way. Buy your son a colorful calendar. Tell him that he’ll get a shiny sticker to place on the calendar every day that he uses the toilet successfully. Praise him liberally as he places the stickers on his calendar. Reserve a special treat – perhaps a trip to the zoo or a meal at his favorite restaurant – when he fills up a week with several stickers. Now you’re shifting toilet–training from punishment to rewards. When there is an “Accident”, instead of scolding, enlist your son’s help in cleaning up. For example, ask him to hold the lid of the trash can open while you throw away a soiled diaper, then wash your hands together. Toilet training is a big hurdle for children and parents. If there are persistent difficulties or frustrations, check with your child’s health care provider.