Welcome to the fourth question of Mothers Tell All: 10 Baby Led Weaning Q & A Series by Real and Unfiltered Mamas. In this series, mamas answered: Did you have any negative experiences or scares with BLW?
Choking was one of my biggest fears upon starting the baby led weaning process. I remember before learning about BLW, one of my close friends who has a little girl a month older than Lennox, gave her six-month-old daughter a whole piece of steamed broccoli. I almost shit myself. How in the hell is she comfortable with giving her daughter an entire piece of cooked broccoli? She’s going to choke for f*%*s sake.
At that point, Lennox was five-months-old, and I had begun giving him some homemade purées because he was extremely interested in table food. Shortly after, I discovered what baby led weaning was and I knew I immediately wanted to change routes. My ultimate goal was to have Lennox be a fantastic eater, and baby led weaning seemed like it would promote healthier and more independent eating. So, I stopped the purées, let him reset for a week, and then we embarked on our BLW journey.
Lennox took to his first foods like a champ and the more foods we introduced, the more comfortable I felt. Of course, with baby led weaning comes the natural reaction of gagging which can be terrifying for a parent who may think that their baby is choking. However, that is most likely not the case. In my introductory post on BLW, I go more into choking versus gagging and mention foods that pose choking hazards.
Family Style Nutrition says:
Basically, if baby gags but keeps on happily eating and shows no signs of distress, everything is fine. You will know if she’s choking because her eyes will get wide, she won’t be getting any air and she will stop eating. This NEVER happened with either of my children and is highly unlikely with Baby Led Weaning.
Lennox gagged A LOT, and as scary as it was at times, I believe it was an educational process for him because he learned how much food he can adequately fit into his mouth, and how much he can comfortably swallow.
As an infant, Lennox never had a choking scare, however; a couple of months ago, when he was around 22 months or so, he did start to choke on one of his favorite foods; edamame, as he accidentally got some of the shell into his throat. I could tell that this time it wasn’t his normal, I put too much food into my mouth, let me gag it out. This time he seemed worried and was having trouble breathing. I immediately put Lennox on my forearm and gave him a firm blow between the shoulder blades. After a couple coughs the edamame shell came back up.
Lennox is usually a champ at eating edamame, but I am glad that I was with him so that I could prevent further damage. It is vital that you are always present when your baby is eating, and to make sure you are preparing your baby’s food in the appropriate manner. Sarah Remmer offers great tips for choking in her post Choking and Baby-Led Weaning: What You Need to Know. Most importantly, it’s vital to know what to do if your baby starts to show signs of choking.
This post is not to scare you or to prevent you from doing baby led weaning. In my opinion, baby led weaning was one of the best things I did for Lennox because today he is a healthy eater and does not hesitate to try anything!
Let’s hear what other mamas have to say about their negative experiences or fears during the baby led weaning process. Enjoy, and if you are a mama who did baby led weaning, please share your story with us through the button below.
Other mama’s responses to Question 4:
Kassandra at Adelaideandi
Yes, for sure. She started choking once but got it up herself before I intervened.
Taylor at Mindful.mom_ents
I knew what to look for and could tell the difference between gagging and choking. Gagging would make me nervous, but I wouldn’t interfere. One time he did begin actually choking, and I quickly held him down at an angle and delivered angled hits in between the shoulder blades to expel it, and it worked within a few seconds.
Jessica at HeyMamaJess
It’s scary at first but once you realize gagging is natural it gets easier.
Emily at This Crazy Maze
The gagging was kind of scary in the beginning, especially when other people were around. It was also tough when he would gag, and we would be out to eat because I wasn't giving my 100% focus on him like I would be at home. And my husband HATED this. Everyone made me feel like my son was going to choke and die, and like it was going to be all my fault. I actually have a whole blog post about this.
A few moments that scared Dad/grandparents, but they were gagging, not choking. Scariest was a blueberry with my oldest and my mom had to suck it out of her throat (she probably was choking, I wasn’t there). We have always 1/4ed or squished them since then.
Brooke at Simply Well Family
I have not had any negative experiences with baby-led weaning.
Thank you for reading. We hope you still feel encouraged to try baby led weaning. It really is a fantastic and interactive way to encourage healthy eating. =) Check out some other questions in this series below =)
Other questions in this series
8/11/19- Question 6: What did you like/dislike about BLW?
9/11/19- Question 7: How did BLW benefit your baby?
10/11/19- Question 8: How does your child eat today?
11/11/19-Question 9: What were some of your favorite baby products for BLW? Highchairs, utensils, bibs etc.?
12/11/19- Question 10: If you had the option to do it again, or with your next child, would/will you do BLW again?