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  1. Choking and gagging
  2. Food allergies
  3. Food and drinks to avoid
  4. Preparing food safely
  5. Storing and reheating food

Choking and gagging on food

Gagging is a totally normal reflex when babies start weaning – choking on food is dangerous. Find out how to tell the difference, and learn to spot the signs of your baby choking on food and what to do if it happens.

Is my baby choking or gagging?

There's a difference between choking and gagging.

Gagging is a normal reflex as your baby learns to chew and swallow solid foods. Gagging is loud. Your child's skin may also look red when they're gagging, but redness can be harder to see on brown and black skin.

Choking is quiet. If your child has white skin, it may begin to look blue (cyanosis) when they're choking. If they have brown or black skin, their gums, inside their lips, or their fingernails may begin to look blue.

Choking: what to do

If you think your child is choking and cannot breathe properly:

  • shout for help
  • get them out of the high chair
  • support their chest and chin with one hand and – with the heel of your hand – give 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blades


Your baby may gag when you introduce solid foods – this is totally normal.

It happens because they are learning to regulate the amount of food they can chew and swallow at one time. They will eventually learn to cope with different textures and harder foods.

If your baby is gagging, this is what may happen:

  • your baby's eyes may water
  • they might push their tongue forward (or out of their mouth)
  • to bring the food forward in their mouth – they might make a retching movement, or they may vomit

Have a look at this BabyCentre video on YouTube to see what gagging sounds and looks like.

Further information

First aid courses:

The NHS website has advice on: