February 25, 2009,
C.T. asks from Mount Pleasant, SC on February 23, 2009
15-Month-old Gagging Himself?
My son seems to enjoy the sensation of sticking his finger far enough back in his mouth to set off his gag reflex. He's been doing it now for a few months, and I figured he would just eventually get bored with it, but that hasn't happened yet. Obviously it startles me on occasion when he's not in my line of sight and I hear choking sounds, but inevitably he's doing it to himself. It doesn't seem to be doing him any harm. So will this just go away eventually? Anyone else's child had this habit? Should I worry about it?
M.R. answers from San Francisco on February 24, 2009
Both my sons did it for a while. I just ignored it. Eventually it was fogotten about and they didn't do it again...ride it out.
C.M. answers from San Francisco on February 23, 2009
my daughter did the same thing from about 13 mo to 16 mo. besides it being gross, i don't think it's harmful. i tried to get her to stop but giving her attention just made it worse. i started to ignore it and eventually she stopped. good luck!
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B.C. answers from San Francisco on February 24, 2009
My son did the same thing at about the same age. I think he liked that he got a reaction out of me. This may sound weird, but one day I got tired of cleaning up after he vomited, but on a friends advice...(her son did it too) as soon as I caught him at it, I scooped him up under my arm and stuck him clothes and all under a cold shower. he never did it again. He is a loving 12.5 year old now. and has no memory of it. He only did it for about two weeks before I took to the drastic measure. And I have to tell you I felt terrible when I did it. I cried as I did it, but I didn't want him to hurt himself. his pediatrician laughed and said sometimes the old fashioned methods work best.
G.R. answers from Sacramento on February 24, 2009
My son started doing that when he was about that age. He does it every now and then still at 21 mos. It is a little disconcerting, but when I ask him if he is okay, he says yes. It seems to be connected to teething. I wouldn't worry about it unless he throws up or seems distressed.
T.D. answers from Sacramento on February 23, 2009
My dd does this too, not too often, but occationally still at almost 18 months. She did it months ago for a couple weeks and started again maybe a couple of weeks ago. I don't think it's hurting anything she's just figuring out how things work. I do agree, it is startling. I think she would do it more if she got more of a reaction out of me - so I try not to give her one. I think it will pass.
R.M. answers from San Francisco on February 24, 2009
My son did this around the same age as your son. I tried ignoring it, thinking he'd just get tired of doing it, but when it seemed to be getting more frequent I finally started telling him no, and that's how I got him to stop. I'm glad I stopped him as it seemed like it was turning into a habit. He's 11 now and on a rare occasion I'll still catch him doing it (though not to the point of throwing up). He says he likes the feeling!!! Go figure!
N.C. answers from Sacramento on February 24, 2009
So familiar with this, my 3 year old son has been doing this since 18 months and is finally done with it. Except when he gets in trouble he tries to make himself gag. My daughter does this ocassionally, she is 11 months. He will grow out of it. Make sure you bring a change of clothes with you everywhere, even socks. If you get mad it makes it worse. Just try to catch him in the act and tell him to stop. Don't worry about it, it is a phase, just an annoying one. Just keep telling him to stop. Some mom's will say ignore it, either way you do what feels right to you. Again, it is a phase and he will stop. Good luck.
K.U. answers from San Francisco on February 24, 2009
ACtually this can cause harm. I hope you'll talk to his doctor about this because it could definitely cause long term problems. Good luck.
C.M. answers from San Francisco on February 24, 2009
My daughter did that for a while around that age. I don't know for sure if it is considered "normal" behavior, but she did eventaully stop on her own.
I worried about it at the time, but the worst thing that can happen is he makes himself throw up. Maybe if he did that, it would stop; I know I don't like throwing up on myself!
I think the only thing you can do is to ask him to stop, but you may end up going blue in the face. I sort of felt it was an "attention grabber" for my child, so unless she was hurting herself, we did try to let it pass.
If you are worried, you can call your pediatrician, but I suspect they will tell you that he just needs to grow out of it.