January 17, 2013 by Kimberly Beauchamp, ND
Dear Doctor Mama,
My six-month-old wants to feed himself but I am terrified of him choking. I had a bad experience with one of my older children choking so now I am paranoid. Pureed food isn’t working, though; he’s bored with that. I know CPR as a back up but could use some reassurance. Thanks for your time!
~Jeanette in California
Even though your baby is eager to eat whatever he sees others enjoying, he still isn’t ready for most non-pureed foods.
- Before 6 months, babies should only have breast milk or formula.
- From 6-8 months, they can start to enjoy pureed foods like apples, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Babies should be able to sit up on their own before starting solids.
- Babies are usually ready for some small finger foods by about 8-10 months. Good choices include soft, partially mashed beans, tofu, bits of egg, fish, and small pieces of cooked, cut-up veggies like broccoli.
Remember to introduce about one new food per week to your baby. Look for any signs of adverse reactions. In addition to serious warning signs of food allergy (hives, vomiting, difficulty breathing, coughing, swelling of the tongue, face, or lips), watch for changes in the stool, rashes, tugging or scratching at the ears, and any unusual changes in behavior.
You’ll see your baby demonstrate his finger foods readiness by becoming a “human vacuum cleaner;” he’ll use his pincer grasp to pick up tiny pieces of just about anything (and often eat it!)
Every child is different, so if you son has a good pincer grasp and seems ready to feed himself “big kid” food, you could try giving him very tiny things, like wild blueberries (not the big cultivated type). Avocado and banana mash up easily, so maybe he’d be okay with lumpier versions of those foods, too. Watch him carefully to make sure that the texture is okay for him. Even if he has teeth, he’s just not ready for larger chunks of food yet. Soon enough, little one!
The information contained in this blog is for educational and/or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health or that of a family member, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.