Time and again, parents are concerned when they see their precious ones are doing something peculiar. One of these is when baby sticks fingers down throat and gagging.
Babies are cutely weird. Their actions sometimes make you laugh, and other times make you worry. When you see your baby pout, frown, and furrow, it makes you laugh, but when they are chewing on their tongue, aggressively eating their fingers, drinking milk fast and choking or sticking fingers down throat and gagging, it can make you worry and wonder why they are doing that.
Knowing the root cause of why a baby sticks fingers down throat and gagging is important as it can help resolve any underlying issues.
The main reason a baby sticks fingers down throat and gags is to seek your attention, protest, explore, or tell you that they are not ready for the solids yet. In simple words, your baby is learning cause and effect with regard to the things that they want and that they can control such events.
Some of these reasons may be surprising, and some people may even find it quite cute or mischievous, but all of these are normal and are part of your baby’s growth and learning.
The important part is not overreacting to the situation; babies or toddlers can sense your reaction and may turn this action into a habit to get your attention.
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Is it normal for a toddler or baby to stick fingers down throat and gagging?
It is common for babies and toddlers to put their fingers down their throats and gag. This is because babies or toddlers are naturally curious and like to explore everything around them, including their body parts.
Before they start communicating, they will use their body part to explore their surroundings, communicate their feelings with you, or seek your attention.
Baby’s weird or annoying behavior, like aggressively eating their finger or sticking fingers down throat and gagging, can be attributed to their way of exploring.
Once they know how they feel about doing this, they will either stop doing it or keep doing it, seeing your reaction. If your reaction is like ‘stop doing this’ or ‘instantly running to a baby and pulling fingers from their mouth,’ they may try again to get your attention.
So, depending on your reaction to their action, their exploration becomes a tactic to get your attention. Babies and toddlers are smarter than you think they are.
As I mentioned earlier, babies and toddlers often explore their environment through their mouths and may also use sucking or chewing to self-soothe and calm themselves. Unfortunately, sometimes, they may accidentally gag themselves in the process.
However, if you notice that your child is repeatedly sticking fingers down throat and gagging, or if they seem to be doing it excessively, it is important to monitor them and seek medical attention if necessary, closely.
In some cases, this behavior may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as acid reflux or a blockage in the airway. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician or healthcare provider for advice.
Why my Baby sticks fingers down throat and gagging?
A baby or toddler sticking fingers down throat and gagging is normal behavior. They are exploring their body parts.
Baby’s this weird behavior may make first-time parents anxious. They will have all kinds of questions – Why is she doing this? Is there anything stuck in her throat?
There are several possible reasons why your baby may be sticking their fingers down their throat and gagging:
Babies or Toddlers are naturally curious and constantly exploring their environment, including their bodies.
Through self-exploration, toddlers learn about their bodies and how they work. They may also put their fingers in their mouths down their throat to explore the taste and texture of things, and in this process, they may gag. If your 4-month old keeps shoving her finger down her throat, she is exploring her body parts.
Some toddlers may not like the feeling of gag, while others will keep doing as they understand they have control over their bodies and can manipulate their environment.
Demanding your Attention
to explore their body parts. But your reaction to their action can turn this behavior into Babies may have started sticking fingers in their throats and gagging, an attention-seeking trick for your baby. If your 18-month-old is sticking down throat and gagging, it is more likely that he is seeing your attention.
Once your baby or toddler knows your reaction is to come running to them or get angry, they will do this often to get your attention.
Babies rely on their parents or caregivers for comfort and attention. And once they know their action has an instant reaction from you, either positive or negative, they will repeat this action to get your constant attention.
Babies may start sticking fingers in their throats and gagging if they are overwhelmed or upset about a particular situation or activity. It could be related to the environment, such as being in a noisy or crowded place, separation anxiety, or it could be associated with a particular activity, such as being fed or having her diaper changed.
If you have recently changed your baby’s routine, for example – If you are transitioning your 4-month-old from a crib to a toddler bed or transitioning your 18 month old or 2 year old from bed-sharing to a toddler bed, they could display this behavior to show their anxiety.
Baby could also display this behavior if they are outgrown their playpen. It’s possible that your baby may be feeling overwhelmed or trapped in the playpen or may not enjoy being confined in a small space.
So, it is important to observe your baby’s behavior. If they are sticking a finger down the throat and gagging at a particular situation, you can be responsive to your baby’s need and help them feel secure to stop this behavior.
Another possible reason your baby keeps sticking fingers down their throat and gagging may be the teething process.
Teething is when their teeth begin to break through their gum tissues. The teething process is very painful for babies.
Babies often put objects in their mouths when they are teething in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort they feel. This may include their fingers or hands.
Baby not ready for Solid
If your 6-month-old baby is sticking a finger down the throat and gagging at mealtime, it may mean that your baby is not ready for solids, or they do not like something you are offering, or you are overfeeding them.
Why do babies gag themselves when eating food?
If your baby keeps sticking fingers down throat and gagging while eating, they could also intend to relay to you that they are not yet ready for solid food.
Generally, babies about 6 months old can safely begin to eat solid foods. Around 7-8 months, they can now eat different kinds of solid food groups.
It is pretty normal for babies to gag, especially when eating food. They usually do it because they are just beginning to get used to eating something new that they sometimes do not like.
This usually happens when you make your toddler eat more than the amount they want, which then causes them to gag, especially if the food is something they do not want.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), gagging of babies is considered very normal as they do it to know how to regulate the amount of food that they take, which they will eventually learn.
Additionally, if your newborn is still on milk and has yet to receive any solid foods, the principle can still be found as sometimes the flow of milk can also be a factor wherein they are telling that they do not like the certain taste.
How to stop the baby from sticking fingers down throat and gagging?
You can do a few things to stop the baby from sticking fingers down throat and gagging.
Check for illness
The first thing you need to do is find out if your baby has any health issues. For example, if the baby is sick and their throat is soar, they will stick a finger down throat. They also do that when they are teething. Baby sticking fingers down throat and gagging because they are sick won’t last long. Once they are feeling better, they will stop doing this.
Access the situation
If there is a recent change in their environment, they may stick their finger down throat and gag to show their anxiety or discomfort. Help them get used to the new situation or change with love and care, and they will stop this behavior.
Don’t pay attention
If you figure out that your baby is sticking a finger down throat and gagging to get your attention, you may need to ignore them. If you make a big deal about it, they will do it often to draw your attention. And if they gag for this reason, clean it up without making a big deal.
Why is My Baby keeps gagging on nothing
Unlike choking, where the baby is experiencing airway blockage, the baby purposely gags and sticks fingers down the throat.
Doing such a thing does not necessarily mean that something inside their mouths or throats needs to be pulled out. Most of the time, they just do it for the above-stated reasons.
When you see your baby gagging on nothing, it is best not to put your mouth inside to reach something and stay calm in monitoring them.
Nevertheless, if you are still righteously concerned, you can always double-check. Plus, if it happens too frequently and you are still bothered, you may also check it with the family doctor.
Why is Baby gagging himself and throwing up
Babies that do such things are pretty normal. They are even considered to be common and expected of babies to do.
Note that, just like you, they also have a gag reflex, a natural way to prevent getting choked. When babies gag and vomit, this is commonly seen when they try to eat solid foods.
When eating solid foods, whether they are spoon-fed or you are doing baby-led weaning, it is your baby’s way of regulating the amount of solid or milk flow they can take in and sometimes it results in vomiting.
Pediatricians also call this behavior one of the “annoying toddler behaviors.” In such a case, there is nothing to worry about as long as your doctor finds no medical problem.
It is just your baby’s way of learning and adapting how to use their bodies.
Conclusion – Why My Baby Sticks Fingers Down Throat and Gagging?
Babies communicate through their behavior, and sticking fingers down throat and gagging maybe your baby’s way of expressing themselves to get your attention or display their discomfort or frustration.
If they are doing this to get your attention, you can ignore it, or if it is situational, you can take appropriate action.
But it is important to observe them and find out the reason for their behavior. If it is health-related, talk to the pediatrician. For example, a baby not eating well or not gaining weight could be a sign to see the doctor.