Mummy SOS: My Child Vomits when he Chokes

Every now and then as a Mother you come across a problem that no one else seems to have.

My problem is to do with feeding, and I’m hoping that I’m not alone out there with this problem.  So ‘fess up Mums, and give me all the advice you have.


My child projectile vomits when he chokes.

Now I know what you think.  Really this is a good thing.  It dislodges the item he’s choking on and removes him from danger.  And yes I agree.  However, when I say he projectile vomits he literally vomits his entire stomach contents plus more.

This only happens when I give him finger foods (rusks or bread.  Organix crisps seem to be fine for now, but then again so were the other items until recently).

It’s now at the point where I don’t like giving him finger foods when I’m out as it’s not the most sociable attribute a baby can have, and I’m also hesitant to give him finger foods while at home as we have yet to set up a proper space for him to eat.  Plus flooring would be a lot easier than carpeting with this problem!

But I also realise that I have to give him finger food to learn how to eat, and when I am out giving him something to eat by himself while he’s sat in a high chair means I have time to myself and can usually eat a meal in peace.  Also he really likes having food he can pick up and bring to his mouth himself.  It’s all part of the learning process, and he’s so proud of himself.  Being sick doesn’t phase him at all.  He barely notices it.

So my problem is this.  What do I do? Do I just keep going offering him finger foods and look apologetically at staff if I’m in a cafe or a restaurant? Do I just give them to him at home and risk the furniture and carpeting? (Because it does go really far).  Or do I hold off for a while until perhaps he’s more prepared? (If that exists).  He does eat home-made food that I puree or jarred food which has lumps in it quite happily with no issue.  Maybe I’m not feeding him suitable finger foods to learn with?

Either way I need your help Mummies!

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  1. I had this issue with my eldest son, Braden. He seemed to choke on everything I gave him, including baby treats like puffs or baby mum-mums. Somehow, he couldn’t eat without choking and then following it with projectile vomiting. I’m not sure how you can prevent it but I do have suggestions on coping with it. First off, keep giving him finger foods, if you don’t it’s not going to stop the problem, only postpone it and delay his development simultaneously. Secondly, experiment with the foods you are giving him, does he fair well with certain snacks over other ones? If so, try to give him more of the ones he does well with and less of the ones that seem to choke him up more often. My son ended up doing this until he was around two years old and obviously by that point you expect them to be eating solids and eating them well, but it was still a struggle for us.

    • Thanks so much for the tips! So glad he isn’t the only one with this problem.. but you’re right I need to just persevere with the foods he can manage. Organix puff crisps for dessert for a while then! lol x

  2. Uhmm….I think he is not chewing his food “properly” so the little lamp irritates the throat and out it all comes. At this age the little teeth he has dont actually do much chewing if you know what i mean….you might want to make the finger food as close to mush as possible so it practically melts in his mouth…try really soft carrots, sweet potato.. Even sweet peas. He can pick them with his fingers but his tounge can mush them. To avoid messy carpets, I bought a cheap mattress cover king size…placed on the floor while my daughter ate so any mess went on the rug and not the carpet. Get two one goes for wash while the other is used. Hope this helps. On another note what are you using to unblock baby London’s blocked nose? I would recommend the Baby VAC..nasal aspirator. Sucks out all the gunk and baby breaths easy. I use it on both my daughters for a good clear out. All the best. Ce.xx

    • Thanks Celia, I think I’ll find two covers for the flooring today. And I’m going to make sure all food is overcooked so it’s as soft as possible. things are gonna get messy aren’t they?
      My sister bought me an aspirator, apparently all mums in Portugal use them. They kind of freak me out a little but with the winter coming and more colds on the way I’ll just have to get sucking..! xx

  3. My daughter did this – only once but non the less it put me off for a while. But now she’s really good at getting the food unstuck by just gagging! I got a messy mat from pound land that I put under her highchair so you could do that?! Hope his eating/chocking gets better soon xx

    • That’s the thing it does put you off. But I know he won’t learn unless I keep going. At least if he does choke I suppose it dislodges. There’s a positive in having to clean up mass amounts of sick! x

  4. I have the same problem with my daughter she is now 16 months and she started doing this as soon soon as we started weaning her but she even choked on baby milk when she was tiny . It was mainly finger foods we had a problem with some days she would be fine with what we give her and the next she would start choking and be sick everywhere ! We just carried on giving her finger foods and trying her with new foods and she slowly started growing out of it she will still have days where she chokes and is sick but not very often now. I asked my health visitor about it and she said it she just has a sensitive gag reflex. I know how horrible it can be at the time I use to dread feeding her and was so worried when she stared choking but it does get better, just carry on doing what you are doing and hopefully he will just grow out of it too.
    Lindsay x

    • It just seems like such a waste of food, as he’ll always choke just at the end of a full meal! And obviously is hungry again not long after. And socially it isn’t quite an acceptable thing for a child to do in restaurants or cafes. I’m hoping if I keep going he’ll grow out of it like you said. But it is tough and extremely messy. x

  5. Ive been giving Layla finger foods from around 5months old. The problem thats happening here is that he doesnt seem to be chewing it all well, so when he swallows the piece is too big and automatically his body will projectile vomit it up (a very good sign!!). I would say the fact he can eat organix crisps now is a good sign he is learning! I start off soft as possible and small as possible and then work from there. Each time he has accomplished one for a good solid period of time (maybe a week) i would then move it to a next firmess & texture. Obviously you are worried that he may get hungry so give him puree foods that is textured and has soft lumps so he get to grips with ‘chewing’. I remember I gave Layla toast first and freaked out as I thought it got stuck. We found things that disolved so the waffers by Plum were great, they melt in the mouth. I would say banana is nice and soft too, chop it in small pieces for him. Super soft carrots are great too! Basically any fruit / veg that is really soft texture like that is a go ahead! Then you can work your way to things like rusks (surprise they melt well, i used to dip them in a puree fruit to help soften more) Message me if you need more help! 🙂

    • That’s been so useful, thank you. While he’s napping I’m currently boiling up carrots in an attempt to make them extra extra soft!

  6. That sounds really scary. I think by instinct I would just avoid everything he has choked on in the past and maybe give him as much mashed food as possible. Hope he grows out of it.

    • That’s what my instinct says but then it also tells me to not stop giving him foods as it may hinder his development.. arrrgghh! Two sided voices lol x

  7. Defo persevere with the finger food, I’ve done purely BLW from 5 months and they grow out of the choking /gagging on food really quickly once they learn how to deal with it their mouths. I’ve been told it’s because their gag reflex is so much further forward on their tongues than ours. It’s def the types of food . Yesterday Henry projectiled his Scone in John Lewis, think it was a bit dry for him, poor little lamb! X

      • Do you know what I didn’t even bat an eyelid.. hahah you know it’s one of those normal middle class situations when one is having tea. 😉

    • Today his lunch has mainly consisted of organix crisps. i tried with some really soft carrot but he didn’t really eat any, just mushed it up. I slipped in a bit of puree too as the crisps just won’t be enough, but at least it’s finger food! If I keep him practicing I hope it’ll all click into place. x

  8. My son did that too, and occasionally still does if something gets really stuck (he’s 21 months now and we did BLW from 5 months). It’s just hideous to watch but it does get better and, as others have said, it’s best to keep persevering with the finger food that seems manageable. To cope with the mess we put a cheap shower curtain on the floor as it’s easy to wipe.
    I have to say my son didn’t really get to grips with dry or crunchy food until most of his teeth had come through. He’s now also figured out how to spit something out if he doesn’t like it rather than gagging & vomiting. Well, most of the time, anyway! It’s a learning curve for everyone.

    • I’m glad to hear that your son had issues until more his teeth were through (well not glad he had issues but glad you found a reason) as that could be the case with my son. He only has 4 teeth so maybe the crunchier items just won’t happen with him for a while. Thanks for sharing your little boys food issues, it makes it that much more manageable to know it does sort itself out eventually! x

  9. My son has a really over active gag reflex which sounds similar – when he was first weaning (baby led) he would often make himself sick. That’s settled now, but we still have issues whenever he gets a cough which is a bit of a nightmare! We stuck to finger foods that were as soft as possible (steamed or roast veg, ripe fruit, avocado) at first and that seemed to be ok. He’s got the hang of it now and I’m sure your little man will too soon enough 🙂

    • Yep sounds like him! I’ll stick to soft things and food I know he can manage and move him slowly up the food chart. It’ll take forever at this rate but it’s better than having him throw up full meals. Thank you x

  10. Ok since reading Wheat Belly, I stopped giving my kids 99% of the time, it’s up to do what you do but it’s just not good for any of us-he might have an allergy or it might just be a reflex but since we stopped my son’s constant rashes which a specialist couldn’t help with bar medication were eradicated and my youngest is much healthier. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

    • I don’t think its an allergic reaction as it’s not the consumption of the food. If it was blended he’d be fine, it’s definitely more of a reflex. But I’ll have a read of the book as it sounds quite interesting. Thanks. x

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