My baby girl is 7 months old and has been eating purees since 4 months. She generally enjoys them and when she turned 6 months old, our pediatrician said she could start eating anything except honey. That being said, we’ve continued purees and introduced some of the things we’ve been eating such as tiny pieces of chicken, eggs, peanut butter, bread, potato, etc. I find that I get very anxious when giving her pieces of these types of foods. I know some gagging is normal while they learn to chew/swallow/eat but my fear of her choking is holding me back from letting her try more things. She is very interested in everything we eat and will try to grab food right out of our hands and stuff it in her mouth. What do you recommend as far as how to feed baby new foods that aren’t purees without fear of them choking or giving too large pieces? I’ve read about baby led weaning as well and it sounds great in theory but I’m terrified to give her a finger sized piece of anything for fear she’ll get a huge piece in her mouth and choke. Help! – first time mama here 🙂

First of all, it sounds like you are doing an excellent job offering your baby a wide variety of new foods! It is normal to have some anxiety about feeding and the possibility of choking; however, meal time should ultimately be fun and a great time to bond with your baby. If you break foods up into small enough pieces they will not choke. Good examples of finger foods include small pieces of steamed vegetables, soft fruit, scrambled eggs, small pieces of chicken or fish (ensure there are no bones), well-cooked pasta or small pieces of bread. Avoid giving your baby firm, smooth or round foods, such as raw vegetables, whole nuts, hot dogs, whole grapes, hard candy etc.

Alternatively, baby led weaning emphasizes self-feeding larger, whole pieces of food. If you decide to go with this approach, these foods should be soft or crumbly so that if a smaller piece does break off, the baby can mash it with their gums and will not choke on it. Have fun!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren Rechtman Lauren Rechtman, MD, is a pediatrician at Children's National Medical Center. She focuses on preventative healthcare for newborns through adolescents.

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