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Gagging during weaning

Gagging is a normal reflex babies have as they learn to eat and swallow.

Why your baby gags

We all have a 'gag' reflex. This is a response that helps prevent choking.

Gagging is a sign that your baby is protecting their airway and clearing food from the back of their mouth.

Gagging brings food forward into your baby's mouth so that your baby can chew it more or try to swallow a smaller amount.

How long gagging lasts

Gagging is not choking but it can be scary for parents when it happens. You might feel like you should stop offering lumpier textures to your baby.

But your baby will gag less over time if you challenge them with new and different textures.

Gagging will last if your baby remains on soft, smooth, lump-free purée.

Make sure your baby sits in a high chair or at the table and is always supervised when eating. Children are more likely to choke if they are moving around

Unsuitable foods

Don't give your baby:

  • honey or sugar
  • unpasteurised cheese
  • salt, gravy, packets or jars of sauce or soup
  • undercooked eggs
  • bran
  • tea or coffee
  • liver
  • processed or cured meats, such as sausages, ham, bacon
  • high fat or high sugar foods, such as crisps, chocolate, cake, sweets
  • whole or chopped nuts - as there is a risk of choking

Never add rusks, cereals or other foods to your baby's bottle of milk. It makes the milk too concentrated and may be harmful to them.

Never leave a baby or young child alone during feeding and ideally feed them during family mealtimes.

Page last reviewed: 15/03/2018
Next review due: 15/03/2021