To Remove Contents, Squeeze Cheeks

Here’s a topic that at least one self-respecting parenting pamphlet should cover:  how to successfully pry an object from the unforgiving jaws of an infant before he swallows and/or chokes on it.

I faced this question for the first time one morning while dumping baby powder into my hair to make it appear as though I had showered recently.  (Have you tried this grease-gulping trick?  I’ve used powdered makeup in a pinch, but baby powder is more effective and way cheaper too.) 

Anywho, there I was, powder-showering, when suddenly I became alarmed by the silent contentedness emanating from Punga, below me.

He had been sitting on the floor between my feet, playing with my “Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems” book for the entire six minutes of my fake shower and make-up application.  Now, I don’t know about you, but just re-reading that last sentence makes my emergency antennae start to ding.  The Baby Whisperer is good but she is not THAT good. 

Here’s a mathematical equation that I want you to become acutely familiar with:

Baby + Boring Item + 6 minutes + Quietude = Problem.


I squatted down to where I could see that, in fact, Punga was not just leaning over my Baby Whisperer book.  He was also leaning over my Southwest Airlines Napkin/Bookmark.  Or, more accurately, he was leaning over what remained of my Southwest Airlines Napkin/Bookmark.

The rest of it was in his chipmunked in his cheeks.

Oh Jiminy Crickets.  What to do?  I tried the “Oo-sha-boo-boo” approach, which consists mainly of poking baby’s lips while cheerfully coaxing the non-english-speaker to “spit it out for Mommy.” 

I would like to propose a new reality show to air after “So you think you can dance.”  It will be called, “So you think your infant is going to willingly spit that out for you?   For real?”

Okay, here it comes:  the tried-and-true technique for removing items from a baby’s mouth.  Using your dominant hand, squeeze baby’s cheeks between your thumb and middle fingers.  Then, using the pointer finger on the same hand, swoop into baby’s mouth and pull the object forward from the rear.

Please note that it is very dangerous to stick your finger in a baby’s mouth when he or she is choking, as you could inadvertently push the obstruction further into the air canal.  (Learn proper first aid for a choking infant with this helpful video.)  The above-mentioned technique is most useful when you know baby is harboring dangerous items, but has not yet swallowed and/or choked on them.

Now if I could only find time for a real shower.

Lessons for the Diaper Bag (LFTDB):

  • To remove contents from baby’s mouth, squeeze cheeks.
  • Review first aid for choking infants and infant CPR before you need it.



Was this helpful?

Do you know a better way to accomplish this task? 

Do you have any stories about items your baby has tried to eat?

I look forward to hearing from you!


2 responses to “To Remove Contents, Squeeze Cheeks

  1. baby powder shower: tried and true!

  2. Dionne Baldwin

    I have never heard of the baby powder trick. Going to test it in about two days! That is awesome advice and an excellent reminder I want to take a CPR class. The way you put things is really funny sometimes. 🙂

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