So, here goes!
One question I get asked about every time I speak about Baby Led weaning is “Are you not scared about gagging/chocking?”. My answer is simple “Nope”. Here is why...
This is how I explain gagging. Gagging is like falling over when learning to walk. Your small doesn’t just get up one day and walk around without falling down several times a day, Do they? Nope.. Well it’s the same with starting solids. Gagging is part of learning how to eat.
Here is a little fun fact. There is Paediatrics research stating that there is no greater risk of choking with baby-led weaning in comparison to “traditional” spoon-feeding with purees. Saying that you need to make sure you are ticking the boxes for safe feeding. Understanding the difference between gagging and choking is important and will help you relax more with the method and help your small kick eating goals.
( https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/4/e20160772 here is the link to one of the study's if you are interested)
Now, when I first started with Small human, I was completely out of my depths. I promised myself that I would give him the best chance to have a positive association with food. Over time and serving a variety of food I worked out what worked and what didn't , and the fear has completely gone. I want to reassure you though the fear of choking is normal and it’s OK. Its our jobs as parents to protect our smalls so your concern only shows your love. By building knowledge and taking things slowly you and your small will be BLW queens and kings in NO time. Here is another fun fact, when Jnr Smalls was about 8 month he actually chocked on a cookie that small left under the sofa. He was blue and silent, we called the ambulance and while waiting for them to arrive he had partially removed the cookie. We sat and spoke to the ambulance officers for 45mins about the ins and outs of choking and it was very interesting and I learnt a lot. I highly recommend a first aid course to any new parents (even parents of 10 you can always learn something).
Here how I built my confidence for serving a variety of foods to Smalls.
When I started BLW, I made sure that I had correct eating posture, which includes sitting up unaided
I always ask myself if I am serving age appropriate food?
I make sure the food I am serving is it’s cut for age appropriately ( for example grapes, tomato, strawberry etc.)
I remember that gagging is normal and is different than choking! I don’t panic and remain calm. I remember panicking and interfering can cause choking.
I remember that the gag reflex is a normal and it’s the bodies way of saying “hang on that’s to big” and pushing it back out”. The gag reflex closes off the throat and pushes the tongue to the front of mouth to prevent choking.
I remember that when my small is gagging that he can still breathe (and I can also 😊)
I remember that it’s a little bit scary for both me and small. I use positive words to encourage him and to calm him down. For example, “Well done bub, you got it out”. Key here is to keep a positive/happy association with food.
I remember that my small can read my energy, so its important for me to be calm for them to be
I always remember my Loud & Red, let them go ahead! Silent & Blue they need help from you!
I remind myself regularly of the choking signs. If my small is unable to cry, making no sound or a whistling noise (chocking is silent), panicked and distress face and body, and under the lips turning blue.
I remind myself that gagging is loud, and really dramatic! Scary to watch but its OK
As always I am happy to answer any questions so send me a note.
Stay tuned for the next post about Starting Solids. Don't forget to subscribe so you get exclusive access to information and posts. You will also get to here things FIRST.