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8 months and gagging on all food

(12 Posts)
PintOfBovril Tue 19-May-20 21:43:16

Our DS is just under 8 months and we started solid food at 6 months with single veg and fruit smooth purees, and some finger foods to play with. He was definitely ready for weaning, showing all the signs including sitting up, being able to reach for food and get it to his mouth and tongue thrust reflex disappearing.
At each meal we offer something spoon fed and something finger food. He took to puree really well but has struggled to go anywhere beyond completely smooth foods. Finger foods he will suck or bite a bit off, (has bottom teeth) but then always either gags, coughs or semi-vomits anything he swallows back up. He can move food around his mouth but just can't get it down. I've tried mashing, offering soft small lumps, offering just finger foods, ready made baby food, home cooked foods...
I'm worried there's something wrong. I called the HV for advice but they are only doing urgent work at the moment so there's no one to discuss it with. Any similar experiences? Advice to help him to enjoy food and move on from smooth puree? Thanks all. I'm trying to be cool about it as I know what they say about gagging being normal and food being for fun but I'm finding it really tough going.

OP’s posts: |
LeGrandBleu Tue 19-May-20 22:44:15

Smooth puree are very similar to liquid in the sense that the tongue pushes the food on the roof of the palate and then down the throat.
Solid food following the same route will cause gaging.

What you can do is trying something intermediate. A soupy risotto for examples. Something that is solid and liquid at the same time.
Prepare a risotto and just add more liquid so it is not all absorbed but still very runny.
Or make a soup, and cut very tiny - 2mm pieces - of soft veggies, meat, fish, rice, soup pasta , ...- in it.
Do a broth base or clear soup base and use it to cook your meat and fish. First cut is very small, then give the first cooking in a pan, then add a paddle of broth or soup and let if finish cooking in the liquid which you let evaporate but not completely.

We lived two years in Italy and my DD was weaned there. The base of weaning in Italy is vegetable and later meat broth. You cook huge pots and then use the liquid to blend veggies, add to meats, rice, and the baby pasta shape.
See if you can find some Italian soup pasta such as this one or slightly bigger

Prepare vegetable broth. Put one paddle of broth in small pot and cook the pasta in it. Pour in small bowl, add some real Italia parmesan and either a bit of butter or extra virgin olive oil. Let it cool and give to happy baby who will love it.

GrumpyHoonMain Tue 19-May-20 22:55:05

This is the problem with starting with just purees - you need to go through the faff of the different stages of purees before they become ready for finger foods (if you want it done quickly). Try the NHS website or if you can get an Anabel Karmel book and you can get some ideas about how to go from puree to finger food - you basically need to create thicker and thicker / lumpier food until they can manage it.

Gagging is a good sign though. It shows he’s learning how far / how much he can put into his mouth to avoid choking. If you keep going he will learn eventually but it may take a while.

OnlyLittleMissOrganised Wed 20-May-20 01:02:06

I didn't blw with my LO who is 6and a bit months old. No purees. He goes gag and bring things back it is expected as he learns how to chew and swallow. He does eat some of it too.

The baby led weaning books by gill rapley are great. Maybe get one and have a read to help you.

LeGrandBleu Wed 20-May-20 06:25:13

I don't really understand this need to label the way a baby is weaned. Obviously, you do a bit of both and by sticking to one only you miss on things. A baby who doesn't touch a spoon will miss on soups and a baby who only eats smooth liquid will miss on the pleasure of sucking on an asparagus.
In France, we don't differentiate. Depending what you are feeding, you use a spoon or a fork. We don't really call it finger food, mainly because how can you call a sole cooked pin butter finger food. We do hand them a piece of cheese or the hard end of a baguette, and of course a piece of fruit.

Make it simple, don't think you need to stick to one label, and depending of what you adults are having, sometimes baby can have it too. If too hard, mash it with the back of the fork.
When introducing the first meat, it will become a bit dry in a pan, but if you cook it in the oven with a diced onion, a diced tomatoes, some olive oil and rosemary and then after 15 minutes, you blend the veggies, you cut the meat in tiny tiny pieces and make a mix of a bit of sauce and a piece of meat , it goes easy.

PintOfBovril Wed 20-May-20 09:17:31

Hi all

Thank you for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it. Just to clarify, we are doing a mix of parent led and baby led weaning. I have the Jill Rapley Baby Led Weaning NCT book and have read it and I have the Annabel Karmel baby and toddler complete meal planner book and am using this too.
I think what I am seeing is not normal though...? He literally gags on every lump,. No matter whether its hard, soft, small, big, whether he put it in his mouth or I did, from a spoon or from his own hand. Should I be worried?

OP’s posts: |
LeGrandBleu Wed 20-May-20 10:25:14

So you have done two months of blended food, but never any lump.

What about yoghurt? Or an homemade applesauce imperfectly blended, so a mix of smooth and lumpy. Or a mix of both. Yoghurt with a bit of applesauce.

Try poaching half a banana in boiling water (just slice it in a small pot), then when it is very soft, pick it up and let it cool taking some of the liquid with it. Then smash with back of fork, so it is more a mess than a puree or solid.

Try a texture in between. Do you have frozen peas? a small potatoe? A bit of onion? Cook a quick soup, blend it leaving it liquid-ish. On the side, cook one or two tablespoons of rice. Then prepare his bowl, adding a tiny bit of rice on top. First give him soup without any rice, then the next spoonful, have 3 or 4 grains in it, and then build up until you have half half.

I am giving suggestions, but I don't know what you have tried, if it was wet or dry , sweet or savoury

This said, always trust your instinct.

PintOfBovril Wed 20-May-20 10:53:46

Thank you LeGrand, yes I have given him lumps. Every meal he has lumps. Every meal he gags them back up. I will give your suggestion a go. He has had mashed up banana, avocado, soup with lumps, pasta in a thick puree, chopped up pasta, toast, etc.

OP’s posts: |
LeGrandBleu Wed 20-May-20 11:15:23

Poached banana is a lot smoother than raw and very slippery because of the liquid, so maybe give this a go for breakfast.
IF trying the soup make it quite liquid not a cream. If you have some grated cheese, add a teaspoon and either a bit of butter or a bit of olive oil. Start the first spoonful without lumps/rice or pasta because otherwise of he has a reaction you don't know if it is for the soup or the lump.
Applesauce is easy to do. Dice the apple and put in small pot, covering 2 cm above the fruit with water and let simmer for at least 30 adding water from time to time if it evaporates too much. You will need a bit of water when cooked to blend it soft. Keep one spoonful of diced apple on a plate and blend the rest. Smash roughly the apple in plate and put both together. So there will be the very smooth and creamy texture of apple with some bits.

Good luck! You did try quite a variety!

CoffeeDay Wed 20-May-20 11:33:21

DD (17 months) was an incredibly gaggy baby and only managed to eat solid food at 14 months. Before that even a tiny piece of bread or rusk would make her throw up. We never dared to go to restaurant with her because every mealtime has a 50-50 chance of ending up with projectile vomiting, very sorry for the other diners. Please don't despair and rest assured that all babies will eventually get there! These are some things I tried which might help:

- Lumpy food is actually the worst because the smooth texture makes them think it's a puree so they swallow without chewing. Then a lump hits the back of their throat and triggers the gag reflex. I alternated meals between spoon-feeding completely smooth purees or giving her finger foods that she can try to eat herself.

- Any biscuits that were claggy (rusks, biscotti, cookies, rice cakes) were difficult because she tried to swallow before chewing properly and got lumps in her throat. Millet/corn puffs and Kiddylicious Rice Wafers were the only things she was able to eat for a long time because they melted quickly. At 12 months she could manage small pieces of toast.

- At the moment I feed her 1-2 pureed meals a day for nutrition and 1 meal BLW style along with finger food snacks. A typical day would be totally smooth porridge made with formula and pear puree for breakfast, sweet potato and zucchini puree for lunch, small bits of toast and blueberries cut in half for afternoon snack and small bits of whatever we're having for dinner. Plus water/breast milk/cow milk to drink

- These solid foods seem to be easier for her to manage: Baby rice puffs (not rice cakes), small pieces of toast with butter & cream cheese, small pieces of shredded chicken breast cooked until very soft, soft potatoes, shredded sliced ham, grated cheddar, baked beans, blueberries cut in half, banana slices cut in quarters, ice cream wafers, cake, soft clumps of sushi rice with sauce, boiled egg yolks, soft scrambled eggs.

- I avoid hard lumpy foods (even cut small) like cucumbers, carrots, apples, raw pears etc because I know she won't chew them properly and they don't dissolve as easily with saliva like the softer foods.

- For the longest time it felt like she just played with the food or would chew and spit it out. She ate so little from BLW that she would get constipated so pear puree was a lifesaver. However it seems to have worked to desensitise her gag reflex and she started eating quite a bit more at 16 months.

Good luck!

CoffeeDay Wed 20-May-20 11:51:03

Another thing which helped with learning to swallow was allowing a tiny bit of junk food. I originally had a very strict no-sugar agenda (like all first time parents lol) but she would push food around and spit it out. Then I started serving tiny pieces of cake, about 3 pieces the size of blueberries, and it was miraculous how quickly she learned to swallow that!

twotabbies Wed 20-May-20 12:15:25

My daughter was a gagger - she didn't eat any lumpy foods for months and months. The only advice I can give you is to not worry about it. There was nothing wrong with dd - she just didn't like lumps or texture whilst young, but was happy, healthy and growing! Give her what she likes and carry on offering the things she gags on but don't stress about it. She'll get there eventually. My daughter is 11 now and eats a varied, healthy diet! Good luck!

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