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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dd is 13 mths old. She has started sticking her fingers down her throat and gagging. I've tried not to react or give any attention to this behavior in the hope that it will go away. But now she's figued out that she can make herself throw up.<br><br>
Twice now I've tried a 15 second time-out. I've put her in a playpen and left the room for 15 sec's. I come back in and go to her immediately. She looks up at me, sticks her fingers further down her throat and vomits everywhere.<br><br>
The first time we gave her a bath immediately, but I think we might have only encouraged her. This second time, after she threw up I turned back around and left the room for another 15 seconds. We repeated this a few times until she stopped gagging and vomiting when I came in. Then I picked her up and undressed her. Since bath-time is her alltime favorite activity I waited a while before giving her a bath.<br><br>
It seems wrong not to immediately give her a bath, but I have to do something or I'm afraid this will only get worse. I'd love some help/advice/similar stories.<br><br>
Thanks in advance,<br>
-Kirina
 

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Oh no! How sad and...yucky!<br><br>
I'm NOT "for" time outs at all, but certainly not for a 13 month old. She's way too young, still such a baby.<br><br>
Allowing her to remain soaked in her own vomit intentionally seems wrong to you bc it is.<br><br>
How about instead of leaving her in a timeout as 'punishment' you just stay with her and compassionately work through whatever it was that you saw unfit in the first place. She naturally wants to please you. She's just so young and still learning so much about her world.<br><br>
As far as the gagging issue goes, many babies go through a gagging themselves phase. It passes quickly---given that it's not turned into a big issue.
 

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I don't get it. You think she is doing this for fun? How can vomiting be fun? Does she laugh after she throws up? What is her reaction to it? Does she seem surprised? Is she upset?<br><br>
I'm betting that she's sticking her fingers in her mouth for some other reason (like teething - are her molars coming in yet?) and the gagging/vomiting is just an unexpected consequence. I'd say it's really next to impossible to KNOW for certain that your DD is deliberately making herself vomit, and honestly that is the last thing in the world I would think myself. But hey, thats' JMHO!<br><br>
So what I would do is forget any ideas of "discipline" and just help her by cleaning her up right away and, if she's at all upset (personally, when I vomit I always feel like crying b/c it's such an awful experience) give her hugs and lots of love. I'm sure she'll soon figure out herself that shoving fingers in her mouth isn't fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't think that she's doing it for fun, but for a reaction. She hasn't stuck them so far as to vomit except the two times I've ever given us a time-out, and then she did it in 15 seconds! But, if I'm not giving her attention (like using the restroom or taking the dogs out) she'll cry, scream and put her fingers down her throat and gag. I think my mother was giving her alot of attention whenever she gagged herself and she wants to see if it works with me too. That's my best guess anyway. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"><br><br>
Also, since she was born she's always immediately gotten a bath and much lovings and nursings whenever she's thrown up, of course. But when it's so obviously done on purpose?<br><br>
Well, I guess I'll have to wait and see. It seemed to work yesterday. I mean, she eventually stopped gagging herself and once she was undressed she seemed fine, well, except for a slight odor for a few minutes until her bath. <shrug><br><br>
-Kirina
 

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Aloha Kirina -<br><br>
My DD did the same thing - yes, on purpose. She has a very sensitive gag reflex and learned very young that gagging/vomitting gets a reaction (not response - there is a difference).<br><br>
I started totally ignoring the act of gagging itself, but will get down at DD's level and ask her what she needs while pulling her hand out of her mouth. I tell her she needs to call "mama" when she wants something, not hurt baby. A child wants a response/attention and it doesn't matter to them if how they get it is negative or positive, this is why we want to reinforce the positive.<br><br>
She got the message and now, at 17 months, the gagging incidents are few and far between. They used to be all the time - usually when I was preoccupied and she needed or wanted my attention.
 

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There is probably a happy medium between leaving her in her own vomit (bad idea) and making a huge fuss over her in response to vomiting. Clean her up right away, and gently, but matter-of-factly and using a soft voice. If you give her a bath, have it be just for washing up and not a play bath.<br><br>
I like the idea about removing her hand from her mouth while saying that she needs to call mama rather than hurt baby when she needs something. I don't know if my daughter would have 'got' that at 13 months though.<br><br>
Probably it will be a short, though messy, phase. Just lots of redirection, stay matter-of-fact, but don't seem to withdraw your love, and hopefully soon it'll be only a bad memory!
 

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I think luckylady has it right. I started hearing of this happening with some toddlers before and it scared me I kept waiting for dd to give it a try. She did it once or twice around 13 months exactly. They do it because they need your attention. Time outs don't work. Even though they have no speech - they need communication. Going to their level and having a talk is great. I would say something like "I can see you are upset my love? Can I help?"<br>
And I could hug her or if she was feeling mad she might shove me away but ultimately not do the behavior because I was right there talking to her.<br><br>
Do respond calmly. Tell her you can see she is upset or has an issue. My dd never did it again after that.
 

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dd1 did it when she was around 1 yo. She did it twice in a week, when we had to leave the park to go to the store to buy food for the next meal. She never liked to leave the park, but never cried more than a minute before those episodes, because she knew we had to go. When she did it, I quickly cleaned her (as much as I could considering that I was not at home) and went to the store anyways, repeating why we had to leave the park and how I was hungry and that we needed to get some food for dinner. I did not make a big fuss about her vomiting.<br>
I also tried as much as possible to limit the times we had to leave the park to go to the store, and to make it more fun for her. She is trying to tell you something with this behaviour. You don't want to encourage it, but you have to understand what she's telling you.<br>
Good luck<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I don't have much to add other than that 13 months is way way too young for time out. I do use time out personally but only started at 2.5 years. A 13 month old is IMO way to young and is gagging herself to get attention the only way she knows how.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you luckylady, and others. I think you're all right. The timeouts are not the solution. I'll have to find another way to calm us both down in those situations. I will try the gentle hand removal with explanation. Although she cannot speak, she knows 15-20 signs and communicates her needs fairly well. It's usually when she can't have something, like a pen or a glass, that she gets upset and has started gagging then.<br><br>
I'm hoping that the phase will end soon because I just started her in daycare today and I had to go pick her up...after 45 minutes she had thrown up 9 times! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Thanks for the support. It's good to know we're not the only ones.<br><br>
-Kirina
 

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Okay, call me a paranoid new mama here but...I'd be quite concerned about the frequency of this. She actually vomited nine times in less than an hour????<br><br>
Has she been checked out by a doctor or other health care professional (homeopath, whatever you use)? This seems pretty extreme to me.<br><br>
I'm also going to suggest that you be very vigilant about cleaning her teeth when she does this. Bile is extremely corrosive and can quickly get to work on ruining teeth, not to mention mouth ulcers, etc. Carry some gauze around with you when you go out and rub her gums and teeth with it after she gags and/or vomits. Even small amounts of bile can come up with gagging and it is really not good for her.<br><br>
My gut tells me there is something wrong here, and it's not a behavioural issue. But then I recently freaked out at a "mouth ulcer" that turned out to be a molar coming through, much to the amusement of my aunt and mother, lol. Still, a trip to the doc's office couldn't hurt.
 
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