Introducing finger foods to your baby can be both exciting and stressful. The mess, possible allergies and potential choking hazards are enough to discourage the lily livered. But mothers are made of stern stuff. They understand that baby led weaning is an essential part of their baby’s development. So, mess or no mess, they allow their babies practice self-feeding. Finger foods are the best food for this. When the time for it comes, caution is required to avoid choking. Here are seven tips that will help you when you feed your baby finger foods:
Go for Soft Food
Studies have shown that the best finger foods are soft foods. They dissolve easily. Besides, it is easier to cough up a piece of soft food, than hard food. Cook your baby’s food till it is tender and then mash it. Before feeding the baby, make sure you can mash it with your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Where your baby’s food is concerned, please don’t leave anything to chance.
Avoid Large Foods
When starting your baby on finger foods, avoid foods that are large or sticky because they’re potential choking hazards. As your infant grows, he develops better tongue patterns to control food pieces as well as more mature chewing. At this time, you can carefully expand his or her finger food menu. A one-year-old can also bite off pieces of food that a 6-month-old can’t.
Keep the Toy away at Meal Time
Meal time is not playtime. Don’t let your baby play with toys or watch TV during meals. He/she needs to focus on learning this new skill: eating. Allow no distraction. Bear in mind that a distracted baby is more likely to choke.
Avoid Salty Food
Please note that adult snacks can be salty. Avoid doctoring your baby’s food to your taste. The baby’s kidney is still tender and cannot cope with it. So, when preparing food for baby, leave out the salt whenever possible. Lots of foods produced for children can be quite high in salt, so it’s important to check the nutritional information before you buy. The salt content is usually given as figures for sodium.
Let your baby be the guide
If your baby does not respond positively to finger foods, don’t force him. Take a step back and try again later. However, you must bear in mind that babies often crinkle up their faces when they try something new. This does not necessarily mean that they don’t like it. Don’t go writing off foods because it appears your baby does not like it just be persistent in offering it.
Monitor your Baby Closely
Never leave baby unattended while she’s eating. Gagging is common when babies are starting solids. Note that gagging is not the same thing as choking. It is rather a safety mechanism that prevents choking as the gag reflex keeps larger food pieces near the front of the mouth, only allowing very well-chewed foods to the back to be swallowed. While you can hear your baby gagging, you can’t hear her choking because choking is silent. So, to avoid stories that touch, focus on your baby while she’s eating. The dishes, the movie showing on the telly, and that telephone conversation can wait till later.
Check for Allergies
It is always advisable to introduce one food at a time. This way, it easy to know what food is unsuitable for your baby. Allergic reactions can manifest as rashes, diarrhea or vomiting. Be vigilant; discuss any allergic reaction with a pediatrician.
Finally, early introduction of finger foods helps your baby in the development of independence, fine motor skills and self-feeding skills, as well as development of oral patterns to support texture progression.
Related Topics: Finger Foods, Feeding Tips, Safety Tips for the Baby, Salty Food, Soft Food, Choking, Gagging, Allergy.
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