Author Topic: Information on choking and gagging  (Read 5481 times)

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Offline Buntybear

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Information on choking and gagging
« on: August 16, 2012, 21:03:50 pm »
Choking and gagging are two different things.

Choking is a block or partial block of the airway, is not normal and highly dangerous. First aid would need to be given immediately to remove the obstruction.

Gagging on the other hand is normal and does not obstruct the airway. LO's gag reflex is further forward than an adult's which is very handy when learning to eat. A gag shows that Lo is handling the food in the way that is expected, ie they are bringing it back to the front of their mouth to chew/gum/suck on again prior to swallowing.

Although gagging may look alarming it's an important part of learning about food and eating. It's important that you remain calm and don't rush at your LO every time they gag as this may lead to them being scared of the mealtime. Keeping meal times a fun, social time is the best way to help them to become more mature eaters.

They can also sometimes swallow pieces that are too big (also not choking) and this can be brought back up almost like a vomit (but not real vomiting as it hasn't reached the stomach). LO is generally not bothered by either the gag or the hacking up of large pieces, where as choking will show immediate alarm in their face as they struggle to breathe. It is important, not to stick your fingers in their mouth to hook out food if they're gagging as it can push it further in and then cause choking.

Tips on how to give give finger foods to avoid choking;
Babies can choke on hard foods such as raw carrot sticks or large pieces of apple, small round foods like grapes and cherry tomatoes, and foods with skin (like sausages) or bones (like fish).
Remove all bones from fish.
You could also cut food into small pieces and lightly cook vegetables like carrots before feeding them to your baby.
Ensure that finger foods are big enough for him to hold in his hand (size of an adult finger as a gauge).

Donít leave your child alone when they are eating. Babies should not eat when lying back or when on the move. If your child has any conditions that may cause them to be more at risk of difficulty with eating and drinking it is even more important that you ensure that they have adequate supervision at mealtimes.

For some children, such as those with a history of reflux or tubes in the mouth for feeding, excessive gagging can be a sign of more significant food aversions. If you are finding your child has significant difficulty transitioning to more textured solids, or to finger foods it might be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor, clinic nurse, or speech pathologist.