Refuses to eat
My child choked on a piece of food when she was 18-months-old. She is now 30-months-old and still won’t risk a bite of solid food unless it is cut up in tiny pieces. One time I cut a bigger piece to see what she would do. She became hysterical, saying, “Mommy, don't ever do that to me again." Will I be cutting up her food forever?
As you have found, choking on food can be traumatic for a child. Unlike being involved in a tornado or a near-drowning where the situations are rare or avoidable, we all have to keep eating.
The advice from experts in the field is not to worry about reintroducing or having your child eat the food on which she has either choked or vomited. The physical sensations, smell, texture, and taste of the food are just too overwhelming for a young child whose palate is underdeveloped and sensitive to certain tastes and textures. With age, she will regain her competence with eating.
You won’t be cutting her food forever but you might plan on it for several more years. What will help her “graduate” eventually is building her trust that you know how to take care of her. Once this is reestablished, she’ll want to learn the skills herself. Engage in the cutting of the food matter-of-factly. By not drawing attention to the cutting of the food or the event, she will have more freedom to let go of the strategies when she is ready. She will let you know.