Hiccuping can be quite annoying, but there’s at least a reason why babies hiccup. University College London researchers found hiccuping helps newborns regulate their breathing. Basically each hiccup, which is an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm, produced brain signals, one of which researchers think shows the babies are connecting the sound of the hiccup to the physical contraction feeling within their bodies.
In other words, it’s possible babies hiccup in order to learn to use their diaphragm, or voluntarily breathe. Hiccups can be detected as early as nine weeks into pregnancy, and babies born at least three weeks premature hiccup often– about 15 minutes per day. Researchers say adults likely hiccup because it’s just a left over reflex from infancy.