Once you've identified which food your baby can eat (from Step One), it's time to consider how he will eat it.
Your baby most likely has relatively few teeth, and no molars. This means that although he may be able to bite with his front teeth, he still can not chew. Instead, he is gumming the food before swallowing.
Babies just grab and stuff. They do not consider size or amount. They're just thrilled to get it inside the right hole. Protect your baby by giving him foods that are as choke-proof as you can make them.
All foods should be soft and small. Cut them small enough that if the food is swallowed hole, it will slip easily down his food pipe. Raw vegetables, grains, and pastas should all be well-cooked and lightly mashed before sharing them with your infant.
Here are some other tips to make your baby's food as choke-proof as possible:
- Do not apply topical teeth medicine right before eating. The medicine numbs his gums and may make swallowing more difficult.
- Limit the amount of food you put on his tray to prevent gorging.
- Cookies, crackers, spreads and biscuits should be either too hard to bite off a piece or so soft that it will instantly dissolve in his mouth.
- Slippery foods (like dried fruit) can easily be inhaled into its windpipe. Roll the fruit in flour or wheat germ to provide more texture.
Tools of the Trade
Another ingenuous 100% choke-proof tool is the Fresh Food Feeder by Munchkin. It looks like a giant pacifier, but instead of a nipple on the end, there's a net.
Opening the top, place a whole piece of fruit or cooked vegetable inside the net and then close.
Your baby gnaws happily on an apple slice, banana chunk, broccoli spear, baked sweet potato, or whatever else you decide to give him without the fear of choking.
The Fresh Food Feeder helps him practice his sewing skills, but gives him only juice. I absolutely love this baby-tool. I carry it with me to restaurants, sharing with my daughter the age-appropriate foods from my order.
It is dishwasher safe, but occasionally needs a good 'ole fashion sink scrub for maximum cleanliness. I've lent my feeder out several times, and consider it an essential part of my baby feeding supplies.
Another great tool to have on hand is a baby food mill. This small device is small enough to fit into the diaper bag and is super useful (especially at restaurants).
Place your food inside, push the button, and it will puree the food into a consistency your baby can eat. Plus, it removes skins, seeds, and other things baby can not eat.
If you would rather quietly mill the food by hand, you can purchase hand-cranked versions.
The Art of Self-Feeding
At around 9 months your baby will start wanting to practice the art of self-feeding. If you have not already, this is a perfect time to introduce her to "family …