Finger foods - shoving the whole lot in

Eva - posted on 04/16/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My 9.5mnth old loves to feed himself finger food but doesn't stop when his mouth is full I'm worried he is going to choke and am constantly having to pull food back out. It doesn't matter whether it is small he will just get more - any suggestions to help I want him to learn to do it himself but i end up breaking little bits off and giving it to him.

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Caitlin - posted on 04/21/2010

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No problem! They were great for my daughter. As soon as she got teeth, I started giving them to her. Even with big chunks from biter biscuits, my daughter usually knows to spit it out if she can't handle it. They make a bunch of things. I just started her on the gerber graduate meals. I've only tried the macaroni and cheese though. She had trouble with the peas/carrots that came with it but the macaroni and cheese was easy for her to handle. Good luck =)

Sherelle - posted on 04/20/2010

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Caitlin thanks for the suggestion! I got Herman some biter biscuits and to my surprise he had no problem with them. He also picked up and ate a few cheerios. I make sure I watch him and so far so good. Thanks everyone for the advice :)

Caitlin - posted on 04/20/2010

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I recommend the gerber graduate snacks for sitters/crawlers. They dissolve in the infants mouth so it's nearly impossible for them to choke on it. My daughter does the exact same thing.

Lauren - posted on 04/19/2010

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Yup.. Teeth are not needed! My son was tucking into steak and broccoli with no teeth at all... It's also a great relief for their gums during teething (and I have heard it makes it a little easier for them) to be gnawing on solid food

www.babyled.com

www.rapleyweaning.com

Eleisha - posted on 04/19/2010

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Sherelle - my daughter is 10.5 months and has just cut her 2nd tooth. We have done BLW since she had NO teeth at 5.5 months. Babies have incredible gums :)

Kate - posted on 04/19/2010

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There are no stupid questions, Sherelle! Babies can eat solids even with no teeth. I guess their jaws/gums mash things. Good luck!

Sherelle - posted on 04/18/2010

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Stupid question.... can you start them on finger foods if they only have a couple of teeth? My 10 month old only has 4 and I'm also concerned about the choking if he can't chew anything.

Lauren - posted on 04/17/2010

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we also have done baby led weaning from 6 mths old my 10mth old eats like a pro now.. although it did take lots of practice on his part to learn to control the food in his mouth.



As a previous poster has said, babies have a natural gag reflex that is quite far forward on their tongue compared to adults. as they get bigger, it moves further back.

Once they lose the tongue thrust reflex (pushing food out of their mouth - before 6 mths usually) they start to explore by putting things in their mouth. this is why the gag reflex is there, to protect them.

If you hold off on finger foods until your baby is much older, you actually increase the risk of choking as all babies need to learn to control the food first before they get the hang of chewing and swallowing. the younger you start with finger foods, and the more varied the textures, the easier it will be for the baby to learn to control them.

It is scary the first few times watching a baby gag on a peice of food, but if you are doing finger foods very frequently, it wont happen for long (usually the gagging is only common in the first few months and then on very rare occasions after this) but you also have to recognise the difference between choking and gagging,,, if the baby is choking they will be panicking, trying to breathe (instead of trying to bring up the bit of food) and looking to you for help... a gagging baby might make some gagging noises, bring up the food and then carry on as normal. Gagging usually lasts a few seconds to about half a minute... the best thing you can do with a gagging baby is leave them to it, speak to them calmly and praise them for bringing the food back out. they learn very quickly!

the filling the mouth with excess food is just another learning curve they need to go through, its totally normal and eventually the baby will realise they have too much, they are just learning portion sizing and how much their mouth can hold. again, stay calm and let them push the food out themselves. a baby wont choke on food that it has put in its own mouth if it is left alone. if you start banging its back or picking it up/shaking it etc its very likely to have some of that food go further back past the gag reflex spot.

def look up Baby Led Weaning, there is a fantastic book written by Gill Rapley that talks about BLW and finger foods and once you realise that everything your baby is doing, he is learning from food becomes a whole new experience watching them self feed. its very important that they learn to self feed as early as possible, as you putting food in their mouth gives them no control over it, which is why with Babyled weaning its fingerfoods from 6mths, never spoonfeeding purees etc. as they need to learn to chew and control the food in their mouth BEFORE they learn to swallow.

hope it helps.. its very normal so just relax it will pass...



Edited to add: the bigger the peices of food, the safer. if you are still unsure about your baby choking on finger foods, give large peices of food for the first few months (ie half a banana, sticks of soft veges/meat etc) as smaller peices take a bit more skill to control in the mouth

Sophie - posted on 04/17/2010

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My daughter does this as well. I just put a little bit out at a time. When she has filled her mouth and swallowed then I put more out. I also break the food up in very small pieces. We had a scary experience a couple weeks ago when she choked on a Baby Mum-Mum, I had given her the whole cookie to snack on as they dissolve quite well but she just shoved the whole thing in there. Now they get broken up in little bits too!

Eleisha - posted on 04/17/2010

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Cut the food bigger. I know it sounds weird, but he will be more inclined to take smaller bites if the piece itself is bigger. With toast, I Usually give my daughter 1/2 a piece at a time. When I was cutting it into "soldiers" she would try to shove the whole lot in, now she just takes bites. With fruits I usually give it whole (apples, bananas, nectarines, plums, apricots). With veges I cut them into fist sized chunks. If your son does get too much; resist the urge to "pull the food back out" yourself. The likelihood of him choking is very little as babies have the BEST gag reflex, and tend to bring most things up. By trying to get it out yourself, you could inf act lodge it further down which impedes his natural gag reflex, which in turn may cause choking. There is a HUGE difference between gagging and choking. Choking is usually COMPLETELY silent whereas gagging has some sort of noise (coughing, salivary noises etc).
Google Baby Led Weaning. I have done this since we started solids at 5.5 months and have never had a choking incident (a few gagging ones though). Babies need to learn to control how much they can handle and put in their mouth, and the only way they can do this is through experience.
HTH
x

Bridget - posted on 04/17/2010

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Hi Eva, my little one has started doing this also but he just ends up spitting it all out again and starting again. It usually happens at dinner when he is a little tired and less coordinated! I just let him go and he eventually spits it out or coughs it out. We haven't had a choking episode but a lot of gagging - they have a great gag reflex for this very reason. If your little one is doing it all the time unfortunately you might have to limit how much you put in front of him at a time until he gets the hang of only putting in little bits. It's great though that your little man obviously loves his food!!! Good luck!

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