11 month old making herself vomit - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My eleven month old gags herself whenever she wants attention or isn't pleased with the situation. She has done it to the point of throwing up. She laughs hysterically when I pull her hands out of her mouth and keeps doing it. If I hold her hands she makes herself gag. She mostly does it when she wants to get out of her high chair or not go to bed. I have been putting her in the sink and washing her feet which seems to distract her and seems like a natural consequence without actually having her throw up (which happens to be a phobia of mine). Throwing up doesn't bother her and she tries to play in it. Problem is when she starts the gagging I give in to her by taking her out of bed (and we cosleep - so going to bed is me cuddling and nursing her) because I really don't want to change the linen (I do our laundry at a laundromat so extra linen is a lot of work). But what else can I do?

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#2 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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Goodness! For the record, throwing up is also a HUGE phobia of mine. I have a daughter who gets carsick, and I hesitate to even take her to the park if her dad isn't with us... it's horrible. You're one step above me though... I can't even say the V word.

Anyway, my suggestion (as horrible as it might be) is to ignore the behavior. At 11 months old, she's probably quite aware that this behavior gets a reaction out of you and enjoys getting what she wants by doing it (you take her out of the high chair to clean her off, remove her from the bed to change the sheets, etc).

When our daughter gets carsick, we used to remove her from the seat to clean up. Soon a negative association was made with the car. She would anticipate it, fight getting in (then fight to get back out when she does throw up) and scream the WHOLE drive. There was even a point where I thought she might be making it happen just so we'd stop the car and let her out. Once we started to not make a big deal out of it (we would just say "Oh, yucky! You threw up! Let's get you cleaned up so we can keep going", but not remove her from the seat and then keep on driving - we can clean up better later), leaving the house because much less of a big deal. Now when she gets sick, she shows us her hands, says "ucky", and we clean her up and off we go. She still fights to be put in the carseat, but once she's in, she's fine.

I'm not really too sure what else to suggest to you. Don't make a big deal out of it, clean her up as best you can without giving her what she wants (or keep little containers near by she she doesn't make a mess), and she'll soon learn that this behavior isn't going to get her a reaction.

I'd love to hear what others say about this. I'm sure there's a better way, but it's such a phobia of mine that I honestly don't know how to deal with it in any other way than by use of extinction.
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#3 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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My niece was that way. She'd make herself gag/throw up in situations where she didn't like being told "no", and she'd often cry to the point of throwing up - in bed, in the car, in the living room. We took her to get a haircut and she threw up there because she didn't want her bangs trimmed. The thing with vomiting is it usually works to get what you want.

This was over 10 years ago, so maybe things have changed, but the ped said to basically ignore it as much as possible. Just bring her a little bowl to do it in, don't make a big deal about it. My niece had a little bucket reserved for that purpose and as she got older, my sister would just tell her to go get her bucket when she started making the motions.

They outgrow this luckily, by about age 4. Some valve in the esophagus is not fully developed and once it is, they can't barf on demand anymore.
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#4 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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In an attempt to assume the best possible motivation, I would think of it as involuntary. It's possible she's a bit refluxy and more comfortable after vomiting, or as a PP said her esophogas isn't fully matured or something.

I would put cloth diapers or receiving blankets or something under her in bed to make it easier to clean up, and therefore easier on you. Otherwise, I don't think there's much you can do with an 11-month-old in a situation like this.

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#5 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thing is she hasn't actually thrown up after the first time she did it. She isn't crying to the point of vomiting. She is actively sticking her fingers down her throat and gagging herself which makes me jump to avoid the vomiting. I don't want this to be an easy way to manipulate me but I also don't want her to throw up. She seems to thing gagging is really funny. I don't want to punish a baby but I really don't want to deal with the natural consequence.

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#6 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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Just because she's actively sticking her fingers down her throat doesn't mean it couldn't be reflux. That's where the discomfort sometimes is with reflux, and since she's just a baby she could be reaching for where she has discomfort rather than trying to make herself throw up. I would think that it's less likely an 11-month-old would know enough to make herself throw up, though she could know that a certain noise makes you run, and that she can make the noise in that way. Both of my kids made (or in the case of the toddler, still makes makes) a gagging noise to get my attention. I think that isn't uncommon at all and should be treated like calling for you or any other attempt at attention. It's the potential for laundry that's the issue. If that's only actually happened once, it's also possible it won't reach that point again.
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#7 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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My kids all played at gagging themselves at that age, stuck their fingers down their throats, gagged, and occasionally barfed. I assumed it was part of their learning to eat/swallow solid foods,...a means of reducing the sensitivity of their gag reflex It is a gross but short phase.

I used to have a HUGE phobia of throw-up/throwing-up...Kids have nearly cured me

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#8 of 10 Old 05-27-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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My DS went through a short phase of this. I think he just about a year old too.
It passed quickly.

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#9 of 10 Old 12-17-2011, 07:12 PM
 
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The past week or so my 11 month old has been vomiting at night, when I'm nursing her down. We co sleep too. At first I thought she might have a stomach virus. But I'm beginning to suspect that she is making herself vomit, because she doesn't want to go to bed just yet. She is always ecstatic to get out of bed, have her jammies taken off (she loves being naked) and play a little while longer while I readjust the bed.  Ever since she's eaten solid foods she has done things like regurgitate her food. She has the control, I believe to vomit if she wanted to. We went to see a doctor last week because she had this cold that would not stop. The doctor told me she was on the upswing, but that she was having a sore throat. I wonder if the vomiting, or forced vomiting let say, is due to her throat sensitivity? No matter what it is, I am sick of washing our bedding every day. And it worries me, because she is loosing the nutrients she could be getting from the cereal and breast milk she pukes up all over me every night. I am going to take the suggestion I read here, about putting down receiving blankets, to make it easier to clean up. And maybe I'll keep her up a little bit longer, assuming she doesn't want to go to bed because she isn't ready. I sure hope this phase passes fast.

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#10 of 10 Old 01-08-2012, 06:08 PM
 
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My 13 month old recently started sticking the mallet to his xylophone in his mouth until he gags, and laughing hysterically.  There was one morning that my mom randomly made a gag sound, he laughed, and she kept doing it because he thought it was so funny.  That afternoon he started the play-gagging.  He's never made himself throw up, but he will have red eyes and tears streaming down his face, and still think it's funny.  I just try not to react to it and reinforce the game.

 

I guess I'd just be prepared with a blanket or towel under you in bed...I mean, I personally wouldn't have a problem giving her what she's asking for (letting her down from her chair, getting out of bed to continue playing, then trying bed again in half an hour)...I'm assuming that at 11 months she's non-verbal, and at that stage they have to get creative on how to get their point across.  My son lets us know he's done eating and wants down by throwing all of his food on the ground.  No biggie, the dog cleans it up, and I know he's finished.  Just because she's found a way to "get what she wants" doesn't mean that she's intentionally manipulating you or that you shouldn't "give in" to her.  So I guess what I would do is when she starts, try to figure out what she needs before it escalates to actual vomiting.  Distractions work fairly well for us also.




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