Bub gags when eating
My bub is 6 months old and has been eating purees since he was 5 months. I make most of his food myself and puree it. My question is that my mum encouraged me to begin giving my bub textured purees and smalls bites of more solid foods, however, my bub gags quite a bit whenever I offer him anything that is not pureed VERY well. Is this normal? Is there something I can do to help him learn how to mash the big bits so he doesn't gag quite as much? :confused:
My first baby wasn't interested in solids at all until she was over a year old. Three of my children weren't interested until they were 8 months old, and only one was interested at 6 months of age.
My children did absolutely fine on only breastmilk until they were able to eat solids.
Now - I will also mention that being that your son was born by C-Section as you mentioned in another post, he may possibly have a hyperactive gag reflex. Without really seeing how he eats, it's hard for me to tell, but if he's truly gagging on the food and not just forcing it out of his mouth with his tongue, you may want to have a CranioSacral Therapist determine whether it's a normal gag reflex or a hyper-active gag reflex.
Here's a video showing how CranioSacral Therapy can actually resolve a hyper-active gag reflex. This is a 10 day old baby who gags when she sucks. You'll notice that this therapist does a little energy work on the baby, and energy work is not something that I understand very well (though I know it can be helpful) but what I want you to listen to are the words she uses as she releases different areas of the head that are "stuck" or "sticky" or "jammed" and then words like "release" as the treatment helps the "jammed" and "sticky" areas to release. This is a very different treatment style than baby led treatments but still, the treatments do very much the same thing and are very effective.
If you'd like to read about my 2nd baby's headaches and how CranioSacral Therapy treatments helped him, you can read that story here.
Please feel free to post back with any questions. I'm also hoping that maybe some other mums will give us their thoughts on whether it's normal for a 6 month old to gag (not just do a tongue thrust) with textured foods.
Thank you for replying! I can say that it is definitively not the tongue thrust reflex. He does that also still. However, when he was gagging it was quite scary. I have looked at baby-led weaning and realize that my bub was not choking, but he gags quite easily and it makes the eating experience a stressful one for all of us.
CranioSacral Therapy has been mentioned before because my son was born by C-section. I have a few friends who say that infant chiropractic work (not sure if that is the same) also helped their child with allergies? It seems like this type of therapy may have more than one benefit. I do think that we may have started solids too early. My son is breastfed so maybe we should back off of the purees and keep breast milk as his main meal source.
I'd keep breastmilk as his main/only food for now. I started solids when my children showed a real interest, which was when they would reach for my fork full of food, or, in once case, I was eating a peach, and she pulled it to her mouth and started sucking on it. When they show an interest is when I started them on solids.
Infant Chiropractic work can be very helpful as well as Cranio-Sacral work (they are similar, it's just that Carnio-Sacral and Non-Force Chiropractic care tends to be more gentle). You may want to give your son a treatment just to be sure everything is aligned well which will improve his immune system (along with more of that good breastmilk). Healthier bub = more relaxed dad and mum!
CranioSacral therapy has many benefits. Our CranioSacral Osteopath worked on a baby who had one testicle that hadn't descended. After a couple of treatments, that testicle descended on it's own, avoiding surgery. If our children get sick, we take them for a treatment. If they fall, we take them for a treatment. Just want to keep the skeletal system aligned as well as possible so the body can do what it needs to do to stay healthy!
You mentioned you have read about baby led weaning - this is the approach we followed with my son. Here, the advice is to wait until the baby is at least 6 months old (but possibly older for some children) until introducing any food. You then start introducing solid food but the baby may not actually start swallowing the food until they are 8-9 months old and this is nothing to worry about. Breastmilk is recommended to be the baby's main source of nutrients until they are 1.
With baby led weaning, it can often sound as though the baby is choking but gagging and choking are very different. The gagging is actually just the baby's way of learning to move the food around in their mouth.
When my son first started baby led weaning sometimes it felt worrying when he would make these gagging noises but we followed the advice in the baby led weaning manual and just let him deal with it - the next second he would be giggling and smiling so he didn't really seem bothered by it.
I know you are not following baby led weaning but I thought you may find it useful to hear my experience of this. The gagging is quite common but the baby generally quickly becomes more and more competent at moving the food in their mouth and gags less. The book also talks about babies who are spoon fed and then start having more lumpy food (like in your case). The author says that babies are more likely to gag on this than solid food as the textures are all liquidy but in different degrees which is harder for them to deal with. Also, the baby has less control of their food if they are being spoon fed.
Anyway, I'm not trying to convert you to baby led weaning! - I think both weaning methods have their advantages and disadvantages! But some of the advice in the book I mentioned may help to reassure you.