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Extreme gag reflex in 3-year old
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Extreme gag reflex in 3-year old


My 3-year old son has always had a very strong gag reflex and I'm just starting to wonder if this is something we should be concerned about.

He vomits pretty frequently (at least once a week) - if his food is too lumpy/mushy/chewy.  Sometimes just the idea of food will make him retch, like, for example, when I call him to dinner (although this is particularly bad in the mornings before breakfast).  Seeing what he considers to be unappetising food also makes him gag and vomit, as can the smell of food, e.g. smelling his baby brother's mashed-up sweet potatoes this morning set him off.  And it gets worse when he has a cold.

I should point out that it's not that he's a fussy eater.  He generally eats well and will eat most things; he just doesn't always keep them down!!

His grandmother was visiting recently and seemed pretty shocked at how bad it was - I think we have become so used to it that for us it now seems normal.

Has anyone else had any experience of this?
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Please excuse me but I have copied and pasted the following from an answer I gave on another post but with a few changes as much of it applies to your situation.
It sounds like your son has some sensory issues, particularly surrounding texture and smell. We have lived through this for six years with our son, the first four were incredibly hard. I would recommend contacting your doctor and asking for a referral to a specialist feeding clinic and to an occupational therapist; they will be able to help with both nutrition and helping your child overcome some of his sensory issues. Best of luck.

My oldest had lots of feeding issues as an infant and toddler and threw up more times than I care to remember. With him it was texture that caused the problems and he had an over active gag reflex too. He couldn't cope with foods with lumps in until he was two and even then he never chewed them, he just swallowed them down, a slightly larger piece and he would throw up. He was borderline failure to thrive. I was adding ground almonds and wheatgerm to yogurts, putting a teaspoon of olive oil in all his veggies and meat purees to increase nutrition and calories. Tiny soup pasta cooked really soft added to purees was one of the first lumpy foods James would eat.
With him we did find he was okay with purees/mashed foods but also with dryer foods; like cheerio's, puffs and rice crackers toast, you could try some of these dryer foods and they make excellent snacks. At first it was the foods that were puree's with lumps in that cause the most issues. And he really gagged on things like cheese and scrambled eggs and mashed potato because of the texture.
This is going to sound a little bit crazy but we spent lots of time working with feeling textures with his hands. He hated to touch anything like sand, finger paints, play doh. His whole sensory system was over sensitive and we had to desensitize him a little to help with his feeding issues. Once we got him more accepting of touching different textures with his hands it really helped with feeding him different textures too, although this took lots of time and patience to over come.
At this point keep exposing your child to new flavors. Keep offering the table foods you are eating so as he continues to be exposed to them  even if he can't eat them very well right now. We got stuck in a bit of a rut because he would only eat certain textures we almost always ended up giving him the same foods, looking back I should have just give him more of what we were eating but in a texture that was manageable for him.
It did take a long time for us to over come these things and he is still a bit fussy with new foods now but it did get 1000% better than it used to be!
Thanks very much for your answer.  I have decided that I will indeed contact his paed about it.

Glad to see that things improved with your son - sounds like it was a rocky road!
My son is now 7 years old and he is the same way and has been since he was born. He has bad mornings in which if he smells food it causes him to vomit or in some cases he can be just doing something ordinary with no food involved and do the same. He is worse when there is no food in his stomach and he is particularly sensitive to different textured food. My sister-in-law made some peach cobbler and my son could not eat it. He tried and liked the taste but the texture made him gag. He has done the same with a pudding treat in which it was topped with whipped cream. Because of the texture variations he could not eat past the whipped cream but had the whipped cream not been there he would have been able to eat the pudding. The sensory problem theory is right on. My son is on the autistic scale and with that goes other issues where sensory problems being one of the symptoms. I have an adopted brother who does the same thing who is not on the autistic scale..but he has some severe OCD.

They have people that help with sensory integration. They did it with my youngest son who has issues with loud sounds that hurt his ears. They were wonderful and we are waiting to see if my oldest son's doc refers him there as well!
I'm surprised to see others that are going through the same thing we are. My son is five and has had an overactive gag reflex since he was very young. He gags at the sight of food that looks unappetizing to him or even smells gross, mashed potatoes, eggs, mac n cheese.. Etc..He doesn't always vomit when he gags, but sometimes he does. It seems especially worse in the mornings before he eats. He even gags from the collar of his shirts while getting dressed in the morning. Cafeterias or restaurants seem to affect him alot too.. I've asked the dr about it and she just kind of brushed it aside.. it seems to have gotten a little better with time but still an issue. Maybe he needs therapy or something. No autistic traits or anything but it seems slightly OCD..I don't think he can't control it. Has anyone gotten advise from a pedi about this?
My son has this exactly. Has anyone on here found any help with this? The drs are starting to think I'm crazy. My son is 7 and has some predictable gagging and some that is not consistent with any rhyme or reason. I need help for him. Does anyone have any answers yet??
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