What about choking?

When I’ve told people how we’re feeding Mae, the reaction, almost without exception, is “aren’t you worried about choking?!” The answer is yes, we were at the start (especially with everyone around us firm in the belief she was about to take her last breath any minute!) but here are some things that have totally allayed my fears:
  • Babies have an extraordinarily efficient gag reflex that we totally underestimate. And it makes sense that they do or how on earth would the human race have got this far?! They didn’t have blenders a hundred or a thousand years ago, the best they would have done would have been to pre-chew for their babies but it would still have been very rough and lumpy
  • There is a big difference between gagging and choking. Whenever Mae has bitten off more than she can chew, she may gag, but it comes straight out the front every single time. Having seen this now for a month, I feel far more relaxed. It’s an exercise in trust – trusting that your baby is built to survive
  • Baby-led weaning is now common and increasing in the UK and US
  • In order for something to get stuck in the oseophogus it would have to be the right size and most likely very hard and not able to break apart. So obviously peanuts and grapes and hard bits of carrot and tough bits of meat are candidates for getting stuck if they got past the gag reflex – so don’t give them to your baby.
  • There are grey areas that trial and error and careful watching helped me overcome – as in how much to steam a carrot, whether a ripe pear is ripe enough – see my page on the first foods for more.