Jessica - posted on 02/18/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )
My daughter is 13-months-old and has what I would consider a pretty severe gag reflex. I have been told by our doctor and by other mothers that this is pretty normal in babies. I don't doubt that it is normal. However, finding things for her to eat is getting harder and harder. She has tired of the baby food, since it's often the same flavors over and over again, and I can see that she hungers for something more substantial in her belly.
We've tried chicken breast, finely cut up, green beans, finely chopped, pasta (either angel hair or rotini chopped up with my fork), etc. She gags through it all pretty much, even the toddler foods in the little tubs you can warm up. Of those we've tried spaghettios with meat and a sort of chicken and vegetable broth. For whatever reason, most chunky baby 3rd foods are difficult for her to manage as well.
Some mothers suggest just putting the food on her high chair tray and letting her work through it. That's not really an option when it comes to my daughter, because she either doesn't eat it at all, or shoves her mouth full until she's choking it back out. She has no understanding of chewing before taking more food.
Through every spoonful I give her, I say to her, "chew, chew, chew" and "swallow, swallow, you're okay, you're okay" since she panics when she starts to gag. Feeding her has become a real trial. I think she wants to eat, she's hungry for food for sure, but finding things she CAN eat that are manageable for her is really difficult. I can tell that most baby foods for her age group expect that she should be able to handle the chunkier food items but she really can't.
To top this off she only has two teeth, in the middle on the bottom. So she's forced to gum her way through most foods. And when the food hits her tongue she gags like crazy.
Any suggestions, either on how to help her through the gagging or on foods that she could eat?
Thanks for any help you can provide.