Gag Reflex in 10 Month Old

Updated on June 25, 2008
A.C. asks from Independence, MO
4 answers

I have posted before about my son's disinterest in solids AND how he tends to gag & vomit when sick and needing medication or his nose aspirated. I am beginning to really consider the idea that he has a problem with his gag reflex. I started giving him solids at around 6 1/2 months and he STILL is very disinterested. He has only opened his mouth about 2-3 times over the last 3 1/2 months, always turns his head & eventually cries after attempting a few times. I have tried using a spoon and my finger. Using my finger I am able to get at least a taste in his mouth at which point he makes a terrible face, but usually handles it okay. But, there have been occasions where he has gagged and thrown up. I offer a variety of foods (pureed) 2x a day with the same result each time. I also give him finger foods to play with and NOTHING has ended up in his mouth. He does mouth toys, though.

In addition to this issue, he usually gags and vomits if I try to put a dropper or syringe in his mouth for medication. This isn't always, but if he is sick, it's almost a guarantee that he will gag & vomit. Aspirating his nose also makes him vomit.

He has always been breastfed & has also always refused a bottle. He is just now starting to like a straw & open cup, but only sometimes & only with water. Nutritionally he is fine as I am somehow able to get vitamins in him a few times a week to help any lack of nutrients due to only being breastfed (although I have heard conflicting info on how long a baby can be STRICTLY breastfed before needing additional nutrition). I have to be careful, though, as if I don't just get the vitamins in him quick and avoid eating times, he will gag & vomit. He breastfeeds just fine & is actually big for his age (95th % in weight).

Has anyone experienced this or know anything about this issue? I wonder if there is a connection between all of this. My pediatrician said that if he is not eating by a year she would refer us to an occupational therapist. I have a feeling this may be what we will end up doing. If it was only his dislike for solids, I may not believe there was an issue as I know some babies just prefer to wait, but with the gagging on medication & refusing a bottle, I think there may be an issue that will have to be addressed.

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answers from Kansas City on

You son reminds me of my nephew. He was born about 5-6 weeks early and ended up being tube fed. I don't know if he would have been able to breastfeed since my sister never tried but it is possible that he would have done it just fine. Once he reach the age that he could start on solids, they tried everything to get him to eat and he just wouldn't do it. He was in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speach therapy at one point in time and none of it really made any difference. They did swallow studies and everything and could not figure out the problem. To make a long story short, when he was about 5 years old, there was a new specialist that moved into town that they took him too. I think he was an ENT specialist and this guy finally figured it out. The poor little guys tonsils were so big that they said it was amazing that he could swallow at all. They ended up removing his tonsils and adnoids and within a couple of months he was eating everything and got the feeding tube removed about a year later and now at about 10 years old, you would never guess that for the first 5 years of his life he couldn't eat. The swallow studies didn't come up with anything because he could swallow but it was really hard for him to do. So, for your son, there could also be something physically wrong that is hendering his progress. Talk to your doctor about this and let her know that you are very concerned. Ask her to refer you to someone that can look him over. My nephew could have been helped a lot earlier if the doctors could have pinpointed the problem earlier. This is not normal behavior and don't stop looking for an answer and a solution until you get one. Trust those mom instincts and find a doctor who can help your son.



answers from Kansas City on

I wonder if the hanger thing in the back of his throat is maybe too long or something like that. That may be causing the gagging. It would only seem natural that if he experienced the gagging once or twice, he would not want to do anything that would make him gagg again. Good luck. Have his mouth checked...that may be difficult, but important.


answers from Kansas City on

Well the gagging on medication is rather common. They don't like it and lots of kids throw up when they don't like something. Refusing the bottle is also something a lot of breastfed babies will do.

Because he is so big for his age, it's reasonable to believe you have a great milk production going on. It makes me wonder if he isn't just really attatched to the breast and your milk. Have you tried skipping breast feedings in order to get him really hungry before you try and feed him solids?



answers from Kansas City on

Does he have allergies? My son had the same problems and he had allergies really bad. The post nasal drip and mucous in the throat will make them gag on almost everything! It's awful! I always felt so sad for him. He still is kind of a light eater, but he outgrew the gagging. Thank God! I would ask your doctor for some baby allergy drops, or you can always get the homeopathic ones at a natural foods store, or anywhere they sell organic foods. Hope to be of help, and have a great day!

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