Signs of choking vs. gagging when doing baby-led weaning. What are they and what should you do in each case? Here’s what to look for and how to handle baby choking and gagging safely.
The last thing parents and caregivers want to think about is the possibility of their child choking while eating. And while it’s scary when this happens, what’s worse is not knowing what to do in either scenario.
That’s why we wanted to cover the important distinctions between choking and gagging when doing baby-led weaning and what you should do if these situations occur.
Gagging vs. Choking: What’s the Difference?
When babies are transitioning from breast milk or formula to their first solid foods, the risk for gagging and choking increases. After all, this is a new skill for them!
It’s important to understand how to identify when your baby might be gagging or choking on food.
Here are some of the key differences between the two.
- Normal, non-life threatening
- Sounds like coughing, sputtering, or gurgling
- Baby may cry and fuss
In this situation: don’t intervene!
- No sounds or high-pitched breathing noises
- Baby may turn blue
In this situation: immediate intervention is needed!
What to Do If Your Baby is Gagging
If your baby starts to cough or gag, give them time to work through it on their own.
DO NOT try and remove the food with your fingers initially as you risk pushing it farther back and causing it to get lodged in their throat.
In extreme cases, your baby might actually vomit. Again, this is a perfectly normal and an instinctual defense against choking.
What to Do If Your Baby is Choking
Choking, on the other hand, means a piece of food has partially or completely blocked the windpipe.
Whereas gagging involves a lot of coughing and gurgling, choking can cause high pitched sounds while breathing or may even be silent.
If this occurs, you need to intervene immediately.
We HIGHLY recommend that all new parents take a CPR course (even if you’re not doing baby-led weaning).
Thrive Training Institute offers at-home, online CPR/AED courses for just $35! Plus, you can get $10 off with our code: plantbasedjuniors10.*
Sign up for the CPR/AED course here: https://courses.thrivetraininginstitute.com/bundles/cpr-first-aid-combo?ref=850198
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Furthermore, to reduce the risk of your baby choking, be sure to offer only age-appropriate foods, textures, and consistencies.
For more guidance on what this means, check out our Ebook First Bites: The Definitive Guide to Baby-Led Weaning for Plant-Based Babies.
Chime In: What other questions do you have about gagging vs. choking? Have you ever experienced these situations with a baby?
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