Q: My 2 yr. old has started gagging herself with her fingers. She typically does this following meals and it has resulted a few times in her vomiting. How can I get her to stop and why might she be doing this?

A: This is a fairly common thing that falls under the category of "annoying toddler behaviors." As long as her pediatrician says there's no medical problem, you can assume she's simply exploring all the weird and wonderful things that our bodies can do. Putting a lot of attention on the gagging is actually likely to make it INCREASE, so I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. If she barfs, calmly clean her up, saying "Oh, you stuck your fingers in your mouth and you barfed. Let's clean you up." She won't like the taste of it, and that should dissuade her from doing it too often. Of course if it's frequent or severe, or if she doesn't lose interest in the gagging after a few weeks, I suggest you go back to your pediatrician to make sure there's not more to it.

Answered by Dr. Heather Wittenberg



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