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Baby gagging or choking while eating

Baby gagging or choking while eating


First aid for choking

Many parents worry when they see their baby gagging, thinking they are choking. Watching your baby gag can be very alarming and make introducing solids and mealtimes stressful. The gag reflex is closely associated with the swallow, cough and sneeze reflexes. Babies may gag when they swallow too much milk, with the reflex automatically closing off their throat, as their tongue pushes excess milk out of their mouth. The gag reflex is present for life and when your baby begins eating solid meals and finger food, they tend to naturally gag a lot as they become accustomed to eating food. Babies also gag when they taste something they do not like just as adults do.

Choking

happens when a baby's airway becomes blocked (or obstructed), preventing air reaching their lungs. If a small, soft lump of food is caught in the back of the baby's throat, often they can cough to bring it up. Try not to panic if your baby is coughing while they are trying to dislodge the food themselves. If the object or food is hard and solid, like a piece of apple or a small toy, this often requires a parent's involvement to help bring it up.

First aid for choking

Firstly, check to see if your baby is breathing, coughing or crying. Try to stay calm with your baby as they may be able to dislodge the food or object themselves. Do not try to dislodge the object by hitting your baby on the back or placing your fingers into their mouth, as this can move the food or object further down into a more difficult position. If they continue to choke and their breathing becomes constricted, call 000 (in Australia) and request assistance. The operator will step you through what to do next.

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