How to skip puréed food And be confident with baby led weaning (choking and gagging)

If you don’t know what Baby led weaning is it is offering your baby pieces of food that they can pick up and feed themselves. It’s recommended that your baby be six months or older, able to sit up unassisted, and have lost his or her tongue reflex to push food out of his or her mouth. In the beginning you will either steam, roast, or bake most veggies and fruits to make them softer and easy for your baby who has little to no teeth to chew it. Things like banana and avocado can be served as is. I really believe that a lot more parents would give BLW a try if they truly understood the difference between choking and gagging. Over the next couple months you are going to find lots of BLW. In this post I’m going to cover why we skip purees and the difference between choking and gagging.  
Why I skip puréed baby food: 
Hands down #1 reason I choose to skip purées is it’s easier and less time-consuming. My babies do all the work! I do not have to sit and spoonfeed them. I can eat my lunch with both hands or give them some food and interact with my 2.5. I also do not have to prepare a meal that is completely different from the one I’m serving myself. Like today, I fed the six-month-old I watch sautéed bell peppers just like I prepared for myself. While I was doing that I cut up some yellow squash and stuck it in the oven to roast. Then I put it on her plate and she ate and I ate in harmony. It was beautiful. 
Reason #2 there is no need to transition from purées to table food. You just start with table food! You transition from table food to more table food! This means that your child should not have any texture issues while eating. It means offering your child a wider range of food at a younger age. Which results in a better eater in the long run. Did you know that most toddlers reduce what they eat by 50%? It’s completely natural for a toddler to become picky. Typically baby led weaning enables you to offer more choices resulting in more choices during toddlerhood. Think of it like this; if your baby has been introduced to 60 different food items by a-year-old he will still be eating 30. If you introduce your baby to 30 foods he will only eat 15 different things as a toddler. So the more food your baby gets exposed to results in more food as a toddler. And that little tidbit at the end came from a child nutritionalist. I took a baby led weaning class! 
So now let’s talk about the difference between choking and gagging. I think that baby led weaning is a lot less scary when you understand that your baby is gagging and not choking! 
Gagging : 
Gagging is your body’s natural response to food traveling too far back in your mouth. Gagging prevents choking. Normally there is a noise being made by the person gagging. Gagging is actually a wonderful thing our body does so that we do not choke. And most likely even if you waited until your baby was two years old to offer them solid food they would gag in the beginning. 
Choking: 
The actual definition of choke
1.
(of a person or animal) have severe difficulty in breathing because of a constricted or obstructed throat or a lack of air.
2.
fill (a passage or space), especially so as to make movement difficult or impossible.
So choking is when you restrict the air from entering or coming out of your throat. Which means you cannot make any noise, choking is silent. If you have ever seen choking it’s scary! This is why when we are feeding our babies food we need to make sure that we are paying close attention with our eyes and not just our ears. Choking is usually seen and not heard! 
It’s important to remember that your babies esophagus is about the size of a grape tomato. Therefore things smaller will pass with ease and things bigger can not be choked on but gagged on. At first when I start feeding my littles I give them large soft chunks of food. That way they can gum off little chunks to eat. Some parents give their little tiny pieces to finger grasp and eat. How you prepare your child’s food is entirely up to you. Either smaller than a grape tomato or bigger than a grape tomato is safe to offer your baby.  
So if this article has sparked curiosity in your brain I hope that you do some more research. Read some more articles about baby led weaning! And if your baby is over six months old, sitting unassisted, and it does not have the urge to push food out of his or her mouth give them some table food tonight at dinner! See how it goes!! 

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