Little Routines, Gillian Stewart

Gillian Stewart, Saturday, June 15, 2019

So...what is gagging?

Gagging is an automatic response that helps prevent choking. It is actually a defence mechanism against choking and quite normal. We all have a gag reflex. However, it is very easy to confuse gagging with choking.
Choking is when the airway is blocked and this needs immediate attention.

The gag reflex in babies is much further forward than it is in adults, so babies are more likely to gag as they learn to move food around in their mouth, chew and swallow.

Gagging is usually caused when a baby has too much food in their mouth, or if the food starts to go too far back in their mouth before they have chewed and broken it down sufficiently.

It is important to introduce as many different textures and tastes into your baby’s diet. At some point your baby needs to learn how to chew and swallow their food, so avoiding certain foods will not make gagging go away.

If your baby is making noises then they are not choking and it is best to leave them to deal with the food themselves. Just watch them carefully and you will be surprised at how clever they are at bringing the food forward in their mouth to either chew again or spit out.
Trust your little one and remember, practise makes perfect!

Try to stay nice and calm. This is a phase that passes, so please don’t worry.