Baby gagging after feeding

Breastfeeding FAQs: Spitting Up, Gagging, and Biting (for Parents)

Breastfeeding is natural, but it takes practice to get it right. Here's what you need to know about spitting up, gagging, and other concerns during breastfeeding.

Is it Normal for My Baby to Spit Up After Feedings?

Sometimes, babies spit up when they eat too much, or when they burp or drool. Many infants will spit up a little after some — or even all — feedings or during burping because their digestive systems are immature. That's perfectly normal.

As long as your baby is growing and gaining weight and doesn't seem uncomfortable with the spitting up, it's OK. The amount of spit-up often looks like more than it actually is. But spitting up isn't the same as forcefully vomiting all or most of a feeding.

What’s the Difference Between Spitting Up and Vomiting?

Vomiting is a forceful projection of stomach fluids. Spitting up is a more gentle "flow" of fluids that come up. Babies don’t usually react to spitting up, but a vomiting baby will usually look upset or cry.

If you're concerned that your baby is vomiting, call your doctor. In rare cases, there may be an allergy, digestive problem, or other problem that needs medical care. It helps to keep track of how often and how much your baby is vomiting or spitting up.

How Can I Keep My Baby From Spitting Up?

If the doctor says your baby's spitting up is normal, here are some things you can do to help lessen it:

  • Burp your baby after each feed from each breast. Sometimes giving smaller feeds more often can help, rather than giving larger-volume feeds.
  • Keep your baby upright after feedings for at least 30 minutes. Holding your baby is best, since the way your baby sits in an infant seat may actually make spitting up more likely.
  • Don't jiggle, bounce, or actively play with your baby right after feedings.
  • Keep your baby's head above the feet while feeding. Don't hold your baby in a dipped-down position when feeding.
  • Raise the head of your baby's crib or bassinet. Roll up a few small hand towels or receiving blankets (or you can buy special wedges) to place under — not on top of — the mattress. Never use a pillow under your baby's head. Make sure the mattress doesn’t fold in the middle, and that the incline is gentle enough that your baby doesn’t slide down.

If your baby also gets bottles of breast milk or infant formula supplements:

  • Burp after your baby drinks 1–2 ounces from a bottle.
  • Don't give the bottle while your little one is lying down.
  • Make sure the hole in the nipple is the right size and/or flow for your baby. For example, fast-flow nipples may cause babies to gag or may give them more milk than they can handle at once. Many breastfed babies do well with the slow-flow nipple until they are 3 months old, or even older.

Many babies outgrow spitting up by the time they're sitting up.

How Can I Keep My Baby From Gagging?

Sometimes the force of your milk (especially when it “lets down”) is so strong that it can cause your baby to gag and pull off of the breast. If this happens during feeding:

  • Try nursing your baby in a more upright position (head above the breast). This may ease the force of the milk.
  • Nurse in a side-lying position, which also might help slow the flow of milk. 
  • Make sure your breasts are not engorged or over-full. Nursing every 2–3 hours can help prevent engorgement. If your breasts are too full and you’re concerned about a forceful letdown, express or pump a little bit of milk a few minutes before feeding time to avoid a strong letdown.

If your baby is pulling off and gagging or coughing during feeding, sit your baby up in a seated burp position. Gently pat the back to help your baby calm down before continuing feeding. If you’ve tried the steps above and this continues to happen, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant.  

If your baby sometimes gags or chokes while taking a bottle of breast milk: 

  • Try a different nipple with a slower flow.
  • Practice “paced” bottle feeding. This is where you slow down the milk flow from the bottle by holding it at less of an angle and allowing your baby to pause for breaks.

My Baby Bites During Breastfeeding. What Can I Do?

Babies will often play with their mothers' nipples with their gums, not meaning to cause any harm. But once they start teething, a baby might bite down, not knowing this is hurting mom.

Sometimes you can tell when your baby's about ready to bite down — usually when satisfied and starting to pull away from the breast. When you sense that your baby is finished feeding and may be bored or feeling playful, end the feeding. Break the suction by slipping your finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth.

If your baby is already biting down, pull your baby closer to you to make it more difficult to pull off easily. Then, break the suction. React calmly without raising your voice. 

Here are more ways to make baby less likely to bite:

  • Before a feed, give your baby something to chew on. Make sure it's big enough that it can't be swallowed or choked on and that it can't break into small pieces. A wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 minutes makes a handy teething toy. Be sure to take it out of the freezer before it becomes rock hard — you don't want to bruise those already swollen gums. Wash after each use.
  • Say, "Mommy is not for biting. You can bite this." Then, offer your little one a teething toy or ring.
  • Praise your baby — with a hug, kiss, or cuddle — whenever they nurse without biting or trying to bite.

Usually this is enough to stop the biting, but if your baby continues, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant for advice.

Reviewed by: Jamila H. Richardson, BSN, RN, IBCLC

Date reviewed: January 2021

Why babies gag themselves, and what to do if your baby's gagging on food

It's normal for babies to gag. They may gag when they're first getting used to eating, taste something they don't like, or have too much to eat. Gagging is different from choking: Gagging resolves on its own, but a choking baby needs help. You can tell a baby is choking if they're unable to cry, talk, or cough. If your newborn is gagging, try slowing the flow of milk by changing nursing positions or changing the bottle nipple. If your baby gags on food, they may not be ready for solids yet – or you may need to keep trying.

We all have a gag reflex – it's a lifelong automatic response that helps prevent choking.

Gagging is normal for babies as they learn to eat solids, whether they're spoon-fed or you're doing baby-led weaning. Gagging brings food forward into your baby's mouth to help them learn how to chew.

Until your baby's around 6 months old, they also have a reflex that causes them to thrust their tongue forward whenever the back of their throat is stimulated. This tongue-thrust reflex can make early solid feedings a bit of a challenge, so it's best to wait until the reflex is gone to try solid feeding. Still, gagging on or pushing out those first spoonfuls of pureed food isn't uncommon.

Prodding your baby to eat more than they want can cause them to gag, as can having too much food (or food they don't like) in their mouth. Some babies will even gag on their own fingers until they figure out how far they can put things in their mouths. And until they get the rhythm of sucking, some infants will gag while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, especially if it's flowing too quickly for them.

The difference between gagging and choking

Gagging is different from choking. Choking means your child's airway is partially or completely blocked, which prevents breathing. Here's how to recognize the difference between gagging and choking:

A child who's gagging may push their tongue forward or out of their mouth and do a retching movement to try to bring food forward. Their eyes may water. They may cough or even vomit. Let your child continue to gag and cough – it means their airway isn't completely blocked.

Coughing can usually effectively clear their airway. Don't pat them on the back or reach into their mouth to try to grab the object. Doing either can cause whatever they're gagging on to go farther down their airway. It's best to calmly stay with them and make sure they completely recover.

A child who's choking is unable to talk, cry, or cough because their airway is blocked. They may gasp or wheeze, make odd noises, or make no sound at all while opening their mouth. They may grab at their throat or appear panicked. A choking child might turn blue because they aren't getting oxygen. They may need first aid for choking – back blows and chest thrusts (or, for children over age 1, abdominal thrusts) – to dislodge the blockage.

This is best done by someone who's trained, so it's a good idea to learn first aid for choking and infant CPR in case you ever need it. BabyCenter offers a virtual Infant CPR and Choking course led by a top pediatric ER doctor.

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If your child is unable to breathe, talk, or make noise, call 911 immediately.

Newborn gagging

Newborns might have their gag reflex stimulated if the breast milk or formula they're fed comes out too quickly, especially when they're first getting used to eating.

Try to get your baby to relax during feedings and don't push them to eat more than they want.

If you're breastfeeding, the flow of milk coming out (the "letdown") can be strong – especially in the early weeks – and cause your baby to gag. Try nursing your baby with them in more of an upright position, so they aren't lying down. This might help slow the flow as it enters their mouth. You can also try nursing in a side-lying position (with both of you lying on your sides) to slow the milk flow as well.

If you create a lot of milk, or it's been a little longer than usual since you last nursed your baby and your breasts feel engorged, you can try pumping or hand-expressing milk for just a few minutes to get past the initial forceful letdown before nursing your baby. Then, the milk flow will be a little slower.

If your baby is bottle-fed, make sure the nipple is the right size. Nipples with faster flow have more holes, and can allow too much breast milk or formula to come out at once, causing babies to gag.

What if your baby's gagging on food?

It's scary when your baby gags on food, but it's part of the normal process of learning to eat. Try not to worry when it happens, as hard as that might be.

From birth to around 7 to 9 months, the gag reflex is actually triggered closer to the front of the mouth. Because of this, gagging might be more common when first starting solids and lessen once your baby gets older (around 9 to 12 months), when the gag reflex moves more to the back of the mouth.

If you're starting to introduce solid foods and your baby gags, here's what you can do. 

Make sure your baby is ready for solid food before you introduce it. This usually happens around 6 months old, once your baby is able to sit upright, has good head control, grasps, turns away when full, and shows an interest in food, leaning forward and opening their mouth when food comes near.

When you think your baby's ready, start by putting a small amount of food on a spoon. Tip the spoon to get a bit of the food on the front of their tongue, rather than putting the whole spoonful in their mouth, which may trigger the gag reflex.

If your baby pushes the food out with their tongue, it doesn't necessarily mean that they don't like it – they're probably just trying to figure out this new way of eating. Feed them slowly while they get the hang of it.

After a few tries, they'll start using their tongue to move the food to the back of their mouth. If your baby is still pushing food out of their mouth or having trouble swallowing food after a week of trying, they may not be ready for solids yet.

If you're introducing your baby to solid food through baby-led weaning, gagging is also a normal part of the process. Your baby's learning to feed themself, and that's naturally going to come with some bumps along the way. Let your baby work out the gagging on their own, but keep an eye on them to make sure they're not choking.

To help keep your baby from gagging on finger foods, feed them soft, easy-to-swallow food that's cut into bite-size pieces once they develop the pincer grasp, at around 8 or 9 months old. If you're doing baby-led weaning, you'll give them large pieces of soft foods to grab and gnaw on. These foods should pass the squish test – they should squish easily between your thumb and forefinger or between your tongue and the roof of your mouth – so they're easy for your baby to eat.

Don't give them foods that are choking hazards, like whole grapes, hot dogs, nuts, raw vegetables, large chunks of meat or cheese, popcorn, or other cylindrical foods that can block the airway (like pieces of sausage or hot dog).

If your baby gags because they don't like the texture of solid food, try giving them different types of food – and remember that it's normal to have to give a baby a new food many times before they'll accept it.

If your baby turns away or cries, they're done eating. Resist the urge to push extra food on them or make them eat more once they're done.

Your baby will most likely gag less as they get more meals under their belt and as they get older, though some kids do have an overactive gag reflex. If your baby is still gagging about a month after starting solids, mention it to their doctor. Your baby's doctor can give you input and check for problems, or may even suggest seeing a specialist, just to be sure.

baby coughs after feeding - 3 recommendations on

Our children are restless and inquisitive. They are ready to learn the world around them not only visually and tactilely. Everything that falls into their little hands must be studied more “by the tooth”. But the consequences of such "scientific activity" are not always favorable. It happens that babies swallow small parts of the objects they are examining. And even worse, when these parts get into the airways of the little ones. A baby may choke on milk during feeding, and an older baby may choke on a crumb of bread or a piece of food. When bathing in a bathtub, pool or pond, any baby can begin to drown or choke on water. What to do if a child chokes? How can I help him get his breath back? Parents should know the answers to these questions, no worse than the multiplication table, or even better. Indeed, the life and health of our children usually depend on the speed of our reaction in such situations and the timely provision of qualified assistance.

If your child is choking, the key to success in first aid is calmness . In no case should you panic and fall into hysterics. First of all, you need to assess the situation sensibly, without unnecessary emotions and fuss.

If your child is choking, calmness is the key to successful first aid. In no case should you panic and fall into hysterics. First of all, you need to assess the situation sensibly, without unnecessary emotions and fuss.

Nature has made sure that the human body is able to independently get rid of foreign objects that enter the respiratory tract. Protective mechanisms of the body - reflex cough and vomiting. With their help, everything that prevents us from breathing is pushed out.

Remember, if the baby, choking, begins to cough and cry, he has an urge to vomit, it means that his airways are not blocked. He can breathe. And that's good. The first thing you should do is to calm the baby and find out what he choked on.

The baby is crying

The first thing you should do if the baby is choking is to stay calm and calm the baby yourself

Small pieces of food and liquid are usually released during coughing and vomiting. For some time after this, the child will still feel discomfort in the airways and cough. But it will pass quickly.

If a child chokes on something larger, it is likely that the object is stuck somewhere in the larynx. It is better not to try to get it yourself. As a result of your attempts to do this, what the little one choked on can change its location so that it blocks the air duct.

After calming the baby and making sure that he can breathe, call an ambulance and wait for the doctor. At the same time, the child should lie on its side (the chin is raised up) and move less. To avoid displacement of an object in his airway.

But if you notice the symptoms listed below, you can't do without your intervention and help.

The boy is choking and holding his hand to his throat

When the child is choking and choking, he constantly tries to put his hands around his throat


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When should I intervene?

The child is choking, trying to catch air with his mouth.

His skin turns blue.

The peanut's mouth is open, and salivation is increased.

The baby's eyes are wide open, and fear is frozen in them.

The child constantly tries to wrap his arms around his throat.

He can neither speak nor cry, indicating that the baby's airways are blocked.

First Aid for an infant who is choking

If an infant is choking, place the baby along your arm so that he lies face down, as shown in the picture

First Aid

case, do not panic. Depending on his age and on what the baby choked on, choose one of the first aid methods, and clearly follow the instructions below.


If an infant chokes while feeding, he will cough, snort or breathe heavily. Immediately position the baby along your arm so that he is lying face down. And lower your hand so that the baby's ass is a little higher than the head.

With the other hand, lightly pat the baby on the back between the shoulder blades. Five such pops will be enough to help the baby cough up milk that has entered his respiratory tract.

Think about why your baby choked while feeding. Especially if such cases in your practice are not isolated.

The mother is breastfeeding the baby

The baby may choke during feeding if he is hungry. Or if the mother has too much milk

There are several reasons for this

Incorrect attachment to the breast.

Long breaks between feedings.

Profuse milk flow.

Large hole in the nipple (with artificial feeding).

Baby up to three years old

A child who is already 1 year old, in case of food, liquid or small objects getting into his respiratory tract, can already be helped by pressing on his stomach, alternating with pats on the back.

First aid if a child under three years of age is choking

To help a child if he is choking, press on his stomach between the ribs and the navel, standing behind him and wrapping his arms around his waist

How to do it correctly?

You should put the baby in front of you and put your arms around his waist.

At the same time, place one of your hands, clenched into a fist, on the baby's stomach between the ribs and the navel.

And with the palm of your other hand, grasp your fist.

While spreading your elbows out to the sides, press the child's stomach from the bottom up 4-5 times.

Then give 4-5 light pats on the baby's back between the shoulder blades.

Repeat this sequence until the little one begins to breathe freely.

Be sure to check that the child's airways are completely clear and that there are no foreign objects in them.

The child covered his mouth with his hand

Vomiting contributes to the reflex contraction of the airway and the removal of foreign objects from it

Preschooler and adolescent

If a child is choking and is already able to respond adequately to the situation and follow your instructions, in addition to the method of pressing on the abdomen and patting on the back, you can try to induce vomiting and help the foreign object to move out of the airway.

To induce vomiting, simply apply pressure with your fingers or a teaspoon to the root of the victim's tongue. During this process, reflex contractions occur not only in the esophagus, but also in the respiratory tract. Thus, everything superfluous is pushed out not only from the stomach, but also from the air duct.

A girl swimming in a pool

A child may choke while swimming in a pool or pond, as well as bathing in a bathtub

In a pool or pond

Water accidents are not uncommon. And it happens that even the most vigilant parent needs to look the other way for a split second, as his child, splashing in a river or pool, has already managed to go under water with his head and choke. In such a situation, act on the basis of how old the baby is and how difficult his condition will seem to you.

Help a very young child like a baby. Place it on your arm face down and lightly pat between your shoulder blades. From these manipulations of yours, the baby should begin to cough. Make sure that he spit out all the water that will flow from the crumbs' respiratory tract.

An older toddler can already be saved as an adult. Get one knee on the ground. Bend the second so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. Place the injured child face down across it. Lightly pat him on the back between the shoulder blades so that the water that has entered the respiratory tract can exit through the mouth. The child should start coughing. This is a sign that he can already handle the situation on his own.

First aid methods have been described above for children who are choking or choking but are conscious. But there are situations when babies, due to suffocation, lose consciousness. What should parents do then?

Chest compressions for babies

If the baby is choking and unconscious, he needs to be given chest compressions

If the baby is unconscious

Immediately call an ambulance, and while waiting for the doctors, try to restore the baby's breathing. How to do it? Lay the child on its side. Gently tilt his head back, lifting the baby's chin. Thus, the duct straightens, opening to the maximum and allowing air to pass more intensively through it. But if the object that is stuck in the airway blocks them completely, this may not work.

Then it is necessary to resort to artificial respiration and chest compressions. And do them until the arrival of the ambulance doctors.

Lay the child on their back on a firm surface. Make sure his head is below his body.

Draw air into the lungs and gently exhale it into the baby's mouth, while pinching his nose with your fingers. Please note that the lung capacity of a child is much smaller than that of an adult. Do not overdo it. Such exhalations need to be done, for starters, five. Next, proceed to an indirect heart massage.

If the baby is less than a year old, place the index and middle fingers of your hand under the baby's breastbone. Do five finger pressures on the baby's chest (it should bend by 1/3) so that each time the sternum has time to straighten. If the child is older, an indirect heart massage can be performed with the palms (one on top of the other). By placing them two centimeters below the mentally drawn line between the baby's nipples. Your movements should be strong and sharp. But remember that you need to control your power. After all, you are saving a child.

After chest compressions, perform artificial respiration again - 2 exhalations. And so you alternate until the little one coughs and comes to his senses. Or until medical help arrives.

CPR on a child who is choking

CPR on a child who is choking and unconscious, as well as chest compressions, should be done before qualified medical assistance arrives

How to behave if the child is choking

Now let's summarize. What to do if the child chokes (or chokes) and suffocates? Whatever causes suffocation, whether food, or liquid, or some small detail, the first aid to the baby in any of these cases will differ only in details.

In general, here's what you need to do

Keep yourself calm and calm the baby.

If a child is coughing and crying, it means that he can breathe.

Call an ambulance if necessary.

Restore the child's breathing (if you do not know how to do this, stay in touch with the ambulance specialists, turn on the speaker on the phone and follow their instructions).

Trying to help your child with one of the methods listed above.

If the baby is unconscious, give him artificial respiration and chest compressions until the ambulance arrives.

The kid is trying to get something out of his mouth with his hand

Parents should be attentive to their children. Do not leave them unattended. After all, little researchers strive to try new things for them “to the tooth”

And remember, parents, and only them, are responsible for all the troubles that happen to their children. Especially when the latter, as they say, walk under the table on foot.

Therefore, the best prevention of such troubles is vigilance, attentiveness and boundless love. And let nothing happen to your little ones described in this story. And if such a situation arises in life, now you will know how to get out of it a winner. video from Dr. Komarovsky

Why does a baby cough during sleep or after feeding -

Cough in newborns can have a physiological (natural) character. This is related to the developmental stage of the respiratory tract. It is absolutely normal and should not cause concern if the baby coughs about 15 times a day.

Article content:

  • What is dangerous cough in a newborn baby
  • If the baby constantly coughs in a dream
  • Symptom associated with coryza
  • Symptom associated with wheezing
  • If the problem occurs after feeding
  • How can you treat your baby

Why does the baby cough?

Cause of cough in infants may lie in absolutely natural phenomena for this age:

  • Too long lying on the back.
  • Baby cannot swallow saliva.
  • The body has not adapted to the natural secretions of the bronchi.
  • Expectoration of milk residues.
  • In the air of the room there are elements that irritate the mucous membranes (chemicals, dust, tobacco smoke).

[note] Parents should pay attention and monitor the child's condition. If the cough is accompanied by other disturbing symptoms or is too strong, prolonged, then the child is ill.[/note]


You should be worried if the baby coughs often, strongly. Duration of more than 3 days should alert. With ARVI or the initial stage of bronchitis, a dry cough after 3 days is replaced by the appearance of a small amount of sputum. What is bronchitis, find out in detail on our website. In this case, the doctor should determine the course of treatment, because the wrong choice of drugs or delay in starting therapy can lead to serious complications.

  • Barking, dry cough may indicate development laryngitis . In the case of infants, parents should immediately call an ambulance. The airways and pharynx of a baby at this age are very different from the structure of an adult's organs. In an infant, this disease can cause suffocation.
  • A wet cough also requires medical supervision but is less dangerous. As a rule, this symptom accompanies a cold or runny nose . In this case, the coughing fits are more intense in the morning due to the accumulation of mucus that begins to drain down the back of the larynx.
  • Cough may be a symptom of cardiac disease . Also, it often accompanies an allergic reaction, which, according to the latest research by scientists, is the main cause of the development of bronchial asthma and other serious diseases.
  • In recent years, doctors have observed a significant increase in the number of babies born with congenital pneumonia . A prolonged wet, debilitating and gurgling cough should be a signal to immediately contact a pediatrician.

At such a young age, a child cannot explain to his parents what worries him. Sometimes, a cough becomes the only signal of a health problem. Many diseases that manifest in this way need to be treated at an early stage. Timely and correctly chosen therapy can completely cure the baby. Delay or incorrect diagnosis can lead to serious consequences.

[note] What to do if the baby coughs? Calling an ambulance with every sneeze or cough, of course, is not worth it. Parents should monitor the general condition of the baby, compare it with other symptoms and correctly understand their cause. [/ note]

If the baby is constantly coughing in his sleep

  • Perhaps the baby has started teething . This period is characterized by abundant salivation. It flows down the throat and can provoke a cough.
  • The baby may cough in his sleep due to too dry air in the room during the heating season. In this case, humidification with the help of special devices will help. You can just hang wet terry towels on the batteries for the night.
  • May be caused by an allergy to dust or fluff or wool in the baby's bed. Harmful cough-causing substances can be found in laundry detergent and even furniture. It is important to try to identify the allergen and eliminate it, then the cough will pass by itself.
  • The horizontal position of can also cause coughing in young children when they have a cold. It is not necessary to exclude the onset of a disease that requires a visit to a doctor.

Coughing in children is sometimes a sign of incipient pharyngitis. Learn about the symptoms and treatment of pharyngitis in children.

Read about the use of cocoa butter for treating cough here.

Symptom associated with a runny nose

If the baby coughs and sneezes, most often the combination of these symptoms indicates the development of a cold or infection in the upper respiratory tract . It is important to monitor the general condition of the baby. Fever, lack of appetite, capriciousness and lethargy will serve as a signal to call a doctor immediately.

The reason may also be allergic reaction , dry air and harmless excess mucus , which the baby still cannot swallow. Read about the reasons for the accumulation of mucus in the throat of a child here.

Symptom combined with wheezing

It happens that the baby coughs and wheezes. The combination of these symptoms should alert parents. In most cases, this indicates the beginning of an inflammatory process in the airways . They can be caused by a common cold, but a bacterial or viral infection is also possible. These diseases require treatment with antibacterial drugs in stationary conditions.

If the problem occurs after feeding

The baby often coughs during or after feeding. The reason may be excessive lactation in the mother. In this case, try changing the position of feeding so that the baby has time to spit out the milk in time, without breaking away from the mother's breast.

Cough after feeding may precede belching . This is normal. Perhaps the baby was very hungry or, due to an excellent appetite, ate too quickly and caught air. In this case, also after feeding, a cough may appear.

Let's figure out what and how to safely treat a cough in a baby.

How to treat your baby

Parents have every right to know what drugs are prescribed for children with diseases manifested by cough, but only a doctor can determine the course of treatment for a baby in each case.

For the treatment of cough in infants prescribe: