Okay, here goes.
I have no idea why I am largely impervious to the sight of my beloved daughter gagging… perhaps I am just cruel? Other people, such as her Grandma or her Auntie Sharron to name but two, cross the room at the speed of light the minute Babybear starts the tiniest gagging incident and it's all 'ohmygodshe'sCHOKING!' and slaps on the back.
And what does that achieve, ladies and gentlemen? One upset and confused baby, who was in the process of cleverly moving some food round to the front of her mouth with her tongue when some crazy adult swooped in and started battering her.
I do, however, understand why they react in this way – it's not nice when you see someone you love struggle to do something (and if Grandma and Auntie S take a similar approach when she is buying her first flat then all will be well).
What I can tell you is that prior to starting the baby led weaning business I attended an Infant Resuscitation Class at my local maternity hospital. I should have gone while I was pregnant, apparently, but I didn't, so there.
We got Grandma to baby sit while DH and I (and a couple of friends of ours, actually, which was pleasant cos we went for lunch afterwards) headed for the hospital. There was a heavily pregnant woman there who looked about as dazed as I would have been if I had gone at the correct time. She mostly stared at the plastic doll babies, then looked at her stomach, then back again, as if realising for the first time the enormity of what she had done. (Not to mention the enormity of the thing which would soon be emerging from her lady bits… anyway, I digress).
The class was excellent, can't recommend it too highly. I was lucky that my husband (you know the one, Babybear's father) was able to take the morning off so he could come with me because if it had fallen to me to explain how to resuscitate his child when I got home I would have wanted to smother him. Then resuscitate him, presumably.
Basically we all got to practise with the frighteningly realistic dolls, turning them upside down to pop obstructions out of their mouths and watching their little plasticky chests inflate. It really made me feel a great deal more confident about dealing with incidents, should they arise. Which I'm glad to say they haven't.
Gagging, as opposed to choking, is actually a safety response to food travelling too far back into the mouth so when we see our babies gagging they are actually handling the problem and it's best just to keep calm (or at least look calm) and wait until it passes. I give her a wee drink of water immediately afterwards which she seems to like.
I think that this is actually quite a good infant resuscitation website, but it is no substitute for a real class with a real (fake) baby. http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/first_aid_action/hs_child.shtml