Is force-feeding harmful?

Force-feeding, an act whereby some amount of liquid food such as pap is forced down the throat of a baby who does not want to eat is a common and safe practice in my community. I was therefore surprised to learn that the act has been declared dangerous by doctors who want it to be banned. Kindly educate me on this.

Fatima (by SMS)

Even though the practice of force-feeding has been on for a long time, the act has been found to be dangerous for babies who may get choked when their noses are forcibly closed so that they can swallow some food. Even though the mothers who practice the act believe that they are trying to help their baby who does not want to eat, medical experts believe that the act will do more harm than good. Recently, a Nigerian nanny in the US was jailed for 15 years because the baby she force-fed later died from choking.

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