Parenting

How to start your baby with high gag reflex on solids

When Declan was six month I got so excited to start solids since he was my first baby. I thought it was going to be super easy. He loves to eat (drink his milk) so for sure I thought he was going to love to eat solids.

That’s when I hit a brick wall. Declan hated food! Or that is what I thought. I introduced him to baby food just like every book says. It got to a point that he would look to that baby spoon and gag even before the spoon got to his mouth.

So that is when I first heard about Baby Led Weaning. I decided I was going to give it a try. Declan loved putting the food in his mouth, but for some reason, he did not swallow anything.

I had read that babies that do the baby led weaning does gag a lot.

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What is this gag thing?

Let me explain to you first why babies gag and why it is so important. I believe God created everything perfectly and correctly even the gag reflex. Babies gag because it is a mechanism that helps them not to choke. That is perfect, isn’t it?

A baby will gag whenever anything that is weird gets to the back of his mouth. Around 4 – 6 months that gag reflex will slowly become less and less strong.

Around 9 months I took Declan to his 9 months check up and my Dr even tho he was not too concerned referred him to a speech therapist. Until babies are 1 year old most of their nutrients should come from milk still. However, there are several skills that a baby should acquire in the meantime. For example: chewing, swallowing, strengthening the jaw.

So here is how I taught Declan to eat solid

(This was only done because of the help of awesome therapists that helped me very much)

Give them long and thin foods

Because of Declan’s high gag reflex by giving him long and thin food would help him realize that he was in control of the food that was in his mouth. Some examples were sweet potato, veggie straws, bell peppers (the colorful ones) and anything that he could hold on to and still have in his mouth.

Drink from cup

Drinking from a cup instead of only drinking from his bottle was also very helpful why? A baby will not choke from drinking water but they are going to realize the swallowing movements.

Drinking from a straw

Same reason as drinking from a cup, but here is how I taught him. I had a water bottle or juice box, I squeezed just a little to get the juice or water on his mouth. I did that a few times and he got it.

Be consistent

Doing this every single day is very important. Babies are extremely smart so they learn things fast but if you are not consistent they will keep going back to square one.
Breakfast was not a good meal for me to teach him. Declan was always way too hungry and wanted to be full right away. Also, I had to prepare my breakfast and Hunters, so I did lunch and dinner every single day.

Do NOT force

Like I said babies are really smart and they will relate a dislike to something and it will make things even harder, so instead of pushing the food to your babies mouth let him play the first couple of days then he will start putting in his mouth and sooner than you think he will be eating.

Make it a family affair

It is VERY important for your baby to eat with you. It wasn’t until I started to have Declan sitting at the table with us and seeing us eat that he started to get curious too and want to put those things in his mouth too.

Like I always say in my post be patient with your baby. They are learning everything new. Things that come naturally to us only comes naturally because we have done it for so long. Your baby will eventually get it and if you are concerned about anything to make sure to talk to your Dr.

4 Comments

  • katejharris

    Thank you for the informative post! I didn’t do baby led weaning with my daughter because I didn’t know about it, and she was a lover of baby food so I never struggled getting her to eat new things. My son was a different story though and hated all things pureed. This is where baby led weaning was discovered and I never looked back! I could have definitely used some of these tips when I had started. I especially love the one where you say to focus on it during lunch and dinner time and not breakfast when they are at their hungriest!

    • Ana Kreft

      They are constantly changing everything when it comes to baby. I didn’t know either about the BLW until I had literally tried everything and nothing had worked. I am so glad you found some of my ideas helpful!

    • Ana Kreft

      I am so glad you liked! Yes!! It was so helpful with Declan and I hope it is helpful with your future babies!

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