Health + Wellness

Choking, Gagging & Coughing In Babies: What’s the Difference


choking gagging coughing

Choking and gagging are usually the most serious concerns when introducing meals to your infant. This is important since we want to keep our babies safe while increasing their confidence with solids. Choking is perhaps the most common reason parents avoid baby-led weaning and introducing finger foods from the start.

Staying Calm & Confident At Mealtime

You want to make mealtime enjoyable for your infant so that they establish a positive connection with food. Whether you start solids with your baby immediately or after a few months of purees, recognizing and comprehending the components of safe feeding is critical. Because you and your baby are inextricably linked, your baby will know if mealtime is not a relaxing event for you.

Differences In Choking, Gagging & Coughing

Choking occurs when the airway is fully blocked. You don’t often hear of a baby choking with baby-led weaning when parents and caregivers are trained on food size, shape, and texture.

Gagging and coughing are loud and dramatic. Younger babies’ gag reflex is far-front but travels back as they mature. This helps kids avoid choking while learning to eat and release anything rapidly if needed. A baby’s gag reflex moves back about 6-8m and should be fully returned by 12m.

Babies have more taste receptors in the rear of their mouths, which shift forward as they mature since that’s where breast or bottled milk is administered the first half-year of their lives.

Gagging might be terrifying for parents because it’s so dramatic, but it’s normal and part of a baby’s learning process. Gagging helps newborns grasp food size and form to swallow properly.

RELATED: New Parents’ Guide To Feeding Your Baby The First Year

Safe Eating

At all times, a baby should be seated upright, and they should be able to manage what goes into and out of their mouth. It’s best not to remove any food from your baby’s mouth if they’re gagging.

Instead, you should rely on your baby’s gag reaction to force the food out. The same holds true if they shove too much food into their mouths at once or devour a portion of food that you think is too large for them. This is because if you put your finger in their mouth to assist them in expelling the food, you run the danger of pushing it back beyond their gag reflex and increasing their risk of choking. Having only meals that are suitable for infants is thus essential.

There are several potential causes for infant vomiting while starting solid foods. If the gagging continues, the next natural reaction is vomiting, which helps the infant expel any remaining food. The impulse to throw up is

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