10 answers

My 15 Month Old Gags Himself and Throws Up!

So my underweight 15 month old just started sticking his fingers down his throat to the point where he will vomit! He's done it for 2 weeks, just on occasion, but has thrown up 3 times! He is not ill, and once he vomits, he plays in it. It's gross! Is this just learning about cause and effect and exploring bodily functions? Or should I be concerned? We will be going to the Children's Feeding Clinic hopefully soon. I just sent in all my paperwork so will be scheduling an appt soon. I will be sure to let them know about this new behavior, but does anyone else have experience with this? He's done it twice in his crib when he's playing around after waking up and once while playing around the house. I've heard him gagging himself in the monitor, he does not do it in front of me, so it's not an attention-seeking behavior. He's also started putting toys in his mouth to the point he makes the gagging noise, but hasn't thrown up because of it. I would think toddlers would not like the sensation of gagging so I'm not sure why he does it? He's a poor eater in general, and so every little calorie counts. It's very concerning to me that he's puking and losing those precious calories.

What can I do next?

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Hello, my daughter does this too, I talked to her dr about it and he said she is just playing with her tongue or she wants attention. Most of the time it's the latter! But she also does it when she really wants her binky, I know she probably shouldn't have binky anymore but if it's either that or throwing up she can have her binky. But the dr said to ignore it and we do unless she really gets messy and now she rarely does it. If he doesn't use a binky try giving him a bottle or sippy cup whatever you're using, anything to distract him from his mouth. Good luck

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Is your son teething? My 14-month-old is getting his molars and he sticks his fingers in his mouth far enough back to touch them and the result is occasionally gagging and vomiting. Don't know if that is what is going on with your son, but I can understand your frustration given his eating issues. Hopefully it is just a phase. Good luck!

How scary and frustrating to be going through this with an underweight child! My daughter did do the gag thing around the same age. So annoying when she was in the carseat, just out of reach for me to pull her fingers out of her mouth!! I called the pediatrician's nurse and she said a lot of babies (her own included) do that around that age, partly because of molars coming in. I hope he gets bored with it soon!

My son did the same thing. He would gag himself 3-8 times a day. He only actually vomited occasionally. At first I thought it was an attention thing as well expect that I noticed he would also do it when he was playing in his room by himself. After about 2 months he stopped. For my son he is very curious about everything so I think he really liked the cause and effect. Good Luck, As far as eating habits for my son it was not at all related.

A friend of mine had a little boy who used to do this same thing. They think he started out not knopwing what would happen but then he kept it up because of the big reaction he got every time. So I would suggest just cleaning him up matter-of-factly and not getting really visably upset, which is the same adivce that is always given for potty accidents. Since your child is so young it is really impossible to reason with him so that makes this hard. When you do clean him up don't let him have a fun bath time with toys, and maybe after he is clean you could put him to bed or put hi in his high chair for a short time out with nothing fun to do, hopefully he will start to associate throwing up with having no fun afterwards. Good luck!

Hi J. - I read an article a while back about kids doing this. Basically it said it was "one of those things" that kids do to explore their bodies and they also like the "game" of getting mommy's attention. Your son might just gag easily like my son.

Mention it at your evaluation because there could be a correlation to his eating issues but in the meantime treat it matter of factly so as not to reinforce the behavior.

I've had this experience with my older two boys, both at about the same age as yours. I would hear them gagging over the monitor and would run in there to find their fingers shoved halfway down their throats. They seemed to think it was funny. My 10 month old hasn't started it yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if/when he tries it, too. The older two, like one other woman said, just seemed to grow bored of it and quit.

Hello, my daughter does this too, I talked to her dr about it and he said she is just playing with her tongue or she wants attention. Most of the time it's the latter! But she also does it when she really wants her binky, I know she probably shouldn't have binky anymore but if it's either that or throwing up she can have her binky. But the dr said to ignore it and we do unless she really gets messy and now she rarely does it. If he doesn't use a binky try giving him a bottle or sippy cup whatever you're using, anything to distract him from his mouth. Good luck

My son this this as well. He started the behavior at about 14 months, and still does it on occasion (he is 2 1/2). My pedi said not to worry about it, as it is a normal behavior that kids go through and will grow out of when they figure out that it is not fun. The times that my son does it now only occur because he thinks that it is funny. I am sure he will grow out of it, just as I am sure my son will grow out of it.

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