Won’t My Baby Choke?: Baby-led Solids and Choking

REMINDER: To Trust Your Child You Must Know YOUR Child. You can read every book and study out there by this and that expert with years of experience and lists of degrees, and still no one will know your child like you do. Letting your child do the most possible while observing your child and watching for patterns over time can help build a sense of knowing, rather than focusing on and generalizing from particular incidents or expectations which often leads to a sense of fear.

When my child first gagged, I was ready since I had read up on BLS/W beforehand. Nevertheless, I was still shocked and scared. I have, that time and every time, had to steel my nerves and make myself observe her more closely. We have a goal of not overreacting or immediately reacting before assessing the situation; we don’t want to create or encourage a fear of the world when our goal is to help her feel safe. The more I have forced myself to watch and see how she handles it the more trust I have gained in my daughter. She most often looks at me with a grin after gagging on food or water and looks about for more. I feel now I have a more clear and accurate baseline for understanding when my daughter is in real trouble.

From Adventures in Solid Food Blog:

Much of the literature published about baby led solids suggests that the associated choking risk is actually less than with the traditional method of spoon feeding. This is based on the premise that a baby is able to intentionally move food to the back of his throat only after he has developed the ability to chew it. The theory is that a baby who is controlling what goes into his mouth is less likely to choke than a spoon fed baby, who may suck food to the back of his throat before he is properly able to deal with it. This is why it is very important NOT to assist your baby when eating, should your choose to follow the baby led solids approach. If you help your little one to get pieces of food into his mouth that he could not have placed there by himself, then the risk of choking increases significantly.

From Natural Mothering: Says the same thing as above, but has lots of great info on breastfeeding and more. She says this about BLS/W:

Throw out the jars, get rid of the boxes of baby cereals, chuck out the ice cube trays and baby food mills!!!! No more steaming and boiling, mashing and blending, mixing and storing: It’s time to sit down to dinner and embrace the art of Baby Led Weaning.

From Becoming Mamas: A few things to remember:

  • The gag reflex is our natural protection against choking. At 6 months, the gag reflex is further forward in the mouth than it is at 1.  That means a 1 year old could get something further back in his mouth before gagging kicks in than a 6 month old.  If gagging happens when the item is still forward in the mouth, it is far less likely to cause choking. BLW proponents would argue that you’ll have more gagging (and a greater risk of choking) if you delay the introduction of finger foods.
  • Gagging does not equal choking. Gagging babies make lots of noise and spit the offending item out.  Choking babies are silent.  So while gagging can be unsettling, it is actually a good thing.
  • Gagging is a natural part of learning to eat – all babies will gag some when they first encounter food whether it’s a puree or a solid.
  • When babies have control over the food going in their mouth, they are less likely to gag and choke.  Think about what happens when someone else places food in your mouth (or think about having the dentist poke around in your mouth vs brushing your own teeth) – which is more likely to cause you to gag?
  • All parents should take a course in CPR, regardless of how they introduce solids.
  • Foods that are choking hazards should not be used in BLW.


Related Posts on Babyled Solids/Weaning:

6 responses to this post.

  1. […] « Baby-led Solids: Part 1: Reflection and Experience Won’t My Baby Choke?: Baby-led Solids and Choking […]


  2. […] my 6 mo son is eating and exploring his first peach, all stringy and juicy–ripe moment for choking. Maybe my husband needs to do something and can’t help me like I […]


  3. […] On Choking (or *not* choking, as is more common with BLW) — Info […]


  4. […] On Choking (or *not* choking, as is more common with BLW) — Info […]


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