How to Stop Forced Vomiting?

Updated on March 22, 2007
C.M. asks from Mc Sherrystown, PA
7 answers

My 21 month old forces herself to vomit. She does this to get attention, and I don't know how to stop it. It has probably been going on about 2-3 months, 1-3 times per week. It always happens when we put her to bed, and she doesn't want to be there. It was just happening if she cried a lot, or when she was sick and coughed a lot. But now she will just gag herself. I know that it is for attention. I've seen her force herself, and as soon as she does it, and gts picked up she is as happy as a clam. It's getting old, and I'm worried about long term effects. So, my question is how do I stop her?

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

My 5 year old has a condition called gastational reflux disease and behaves the same way. He gags alot and throws up often. When he was younger many doctors told me that he was doing it for attention but I just didn't belive that a child that age could actually enjoy that type of behavior so I took him to a specialist who tested him to find out that his stomach never stops producing acid and he was inducing vomit as a way to rid his stomach of the acid that was upsetting him. Once we got him on proper meds he stopped altogether. My advise...please talk to your doctor. If this is a medicial condition and it is not looked at it could cause your child permant damage. Please talk to your doctor.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter tried this for about a week a few months ago( she was 20 months). What we did was stop giving her a bottle at bedtime for this period. Cause this is what she was projectile vomiting! Then we just changed the bed and put her right back in it. Like I said she continued for a week but it got hard when she had nothing in her belly to throw up. She now get her bottle and go to bed without any trouble. But I truely symphathize with you.



answers from Allentown on

Hi C.,
You have a tough one on your hands. This may sound mean but have her help clean it up and keep a straight face about it. Don't give her the attention she is seeking. Go in have her help, get her changed and put her right back in her bed. Let her understand that from now on she will have to help clean it up and then she will go right back to bed. It may take a few times but as soon as she knows she is not going to get the hugs and kisses but she will have to help clean, it should stop. You are her Mom and you can tell if she is sick or just wanting attention. Also, try spending a little extra time before you put her to bed. An extra book just the two of you. Good Luck and let me know what happens.



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter sort of did this a few times. She didn't necessarily force herself, but she would get so upset in her crib that she would vomit. I read that you should go ahead and let them do it, but when you go in, don't talk to them or make a big deal comforting them, etc. Clean up the mess silently with no emotion and leave. It may happen a few more times and will be really annoying to clean up, but eventually, she will figure out that it does not get her the attention she wants. Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

The best advice I can give you is to put clove oil on her fingers. It was something my sister in law was told to stop her son who will be 4 to do. I think it's the same principle. This could be a stage but if it continues it could affect the esophocus (not sure if I spelled that right) and her teeth and gums if it becomes long term. The clover oil tastes really bad which should prevent her from wanting to stick her fingers in her mouth. Good luck.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My nephew was doing that for the longest time. But my sister just stopped making a big deal out of it after she realized he was doing it on purpose. She just cleaned him up, and put him right back in bed. He would just scream louder and usually throw up again, but once he realized it didn't work anymore he stopped doing it. It took a few days, but it worked. Good Luck



answers from State College on

Like so many other things kids go through, this is a power play. You really need to give her as limited (boring) a response as possible and make something else (like NOT throwing up) much more fun! Think in terms of a video games - bells & whistles, claps & cheers, etc. kind of fun. Perhaps you could shower positive attention on her each morning when she wakes up after NOT vomiting? I know it sounds silly, but she likes your attention when she's done it, so she has no motivation to stop.

I'd also consider putting a puke bucket in her bed and agree that she should be helping clean it up. I'd also review the bedtime routine - and ask whether or not she's getting enough physical activity during the day so that she's actually tired at bed time. Is your routine consistent? Is there something different happening on the nights when she doesn't throw up?

At 21 mos., if she's verbal enough, she just might be able to give you some insight on why she's forcing herself to throw up (like not wanting to go to bed) and ask her for her ideas on how to make it stop. If she says she just wants more hugs or whatever, consider asking her how many more or how much longer then comply - if it's 3 more hugs (or 30) or 15 more minutes of together time (set a timer), maybe feeling like she has *some* say-so in the situation will help!

Next question: My 5 Year Old Is Obsessed with Vomiting