Knowing the differences between gagging & choking is extremely important information that all parents should be aware of right from the very start of their weaning journey. Find out all you need to know surrounding gagging & choking below.
It’s normal to worry about the risks of choking when choosing BLW for your baby. But be reassured that choking is an extremely rare occurrence. Gagging however, is very common. It’s easy to mistake gagging in your baby for choking. A baby’s gag reflex is much further forward in their mouth, than it is in an adult. This means when your baby is gaging their food is much further away from their airway then it would be for an adult. This also means it’s actually a lot easier for an adult to choke then it is for your baby.
Gagging is your baby’s natural defence against preventing them from choking, it’s their way of pushing overflow foods back into the centre of their mouth. You will most likely find your baby gags when the amount of food they’ve put into their mouth is too much to swallow.
As hard as it feels, It’s important not to intervene during gagging instances. Your baby is figuring out how much food is too much food for them to swallow. You can help them by reassuring them that everything is ok, talk them through it, and offer a little sip of water following the gagging instance to wash away any food left behind.
Differences between gagging & choking
A child will open their mouth wide with their tongue thrust forward, their face will be red, they will be making noises & they may be convulsing, followed by coughing & spluttering.
Their skin will begin to turn blue/purple, they will be wheezing & unable to make noise.
It is recommended that you make yourself familiar with paediatric first aid for choking. So that should a choking instance ever arise your able to act quickly & effectively.
Please also head over to the article written by Mini First Aid, their blog covers even more on gagging and choking, along with other vital paediatric first aid advice. I also highly recommend attending a Free Local Paediatric First Aid Course, if you have these in your area. These always cover how to deal with a choking child. If these aren't available near you, there are also some really great Guidance Videos available online.