JUST after her first birthday, a little girl was diagnosed with a rare condition which caused her to choke every time her parents tried to feed her. After major operations, she is celebrating a miraculous recovery.

Poppy Nesbitt, from Farnworth, was months old when her parents made the terrifying discovery.

Mum Helen was trying to move her little daughter from baby food onto solids when she saw Poppy’s eyes fill with water and her face start to tremble — her daughter was choking.

This scary scene began to appear every meal time, to the horror of the family. Every time Mrs Nesbitt tried to feed Poppy, panic would take over the family as the youngster began to choke and gag.

Mrs Nesbitt said: “It was frustrating and panicking, just never ending. I ended up off work for ten weeks because of the stress, I felt like I wasn’t being the mum I should be.”

The 43-year-old was left with no option but to feed her daughter pureed baby food, making meals out impossible and nursery a nightmare, with Poppy having to be separated from other children at meal times.

The distraught mum said: “Poppy used to role play with her baby dolls in the bath and it broke my heart one day when she bent her baby over her knee, patted it’s back and scooped from its mouth saying ‘spit it out, spit it out now’.”

After a year of agonising doctors appointments, Poppy was diagnosed with congenital oesophageal stricture - meaning part of Poppy’s oesophagus narrowed to just millimetres wide. The defect required major surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in May 2017.

Mrs Nesbitt said: “We wanted her to live a life of eating normal food, not slop.”

The surgery was a success and Poppy can now eat normal food.

Mrs Nesbitt said: “She was finally, at nearly three-years-old, able to have her first Christmas dinner that year and her first birthday cake on her third birthday. We couldn’t be happier.”

The youngster is now the star of a new Matalan ad campaign, featuring children who have been treated successfully at Alder Hey.

Poppy has now just started primary school and loves being able to eat whatever she wants, though her favourite food might be considered unusual for a four-year-old — broccoli.