Is your baby hitting the 6 month mark and gearing up for starting solids? This can be a somewhat frightening time as you first embark on this adventure. I'm here to share with you some information to (hopefully) help ease your mind.
I know that gagging seems terrible. It doesn't sound pleasant and looks ugly. But guess what? When your infant starts solids, gagging is everyone's friend! But why? The gag reflex protects the airway! It prevents things that should not be going down the breathing tube from getting in there.
The video below is of my son when he was 6 months old. We were just starting solids. Notice that he gags throughout the video. While not enjoyable to watch as a parent, he is okay! This is not an emergency situation.
Another piece of advice? As hard as it may be for you to remain calm...try your best! Your baby is watching you. If they see you getting upset... guess what may happen? Yep! Your baby may also become upset or frightened. They may get startled or start crying, which we do not want when they have food in their mouth. This type of response can also create negative associations with feeding and starting solids. Try your best to cheer your baby on and stay positive (even if you are freaking out in your head).
I have had a lot of parents hire me to teach CPR when their baby is starting solids. Having emergency skills and knowing what to do if the choking becomes an emergency is really important. This can also help prepare you, as the parent, for starting solids. Keep in mind that not only does your baby need to be ready to start solids, so do you!
Feel free to reach out with any questions on this topic, I am happy to answer.
Lisa Grossman, BSN, RN, PHN, IBCLC, CLC, CLEC