How to reduce the choking risk with baby led weaning

The choking risk is the number one scare when it comes to baby led weaning. Parents are usually concerned to start feeding their baby solids because little ones haven’t yet mastered moving food around their mouths and chewing and it is possible that something can get trapped in the airway, and breathing will become difficult. Although this can be a very stressful part of your baby’s weaning journey, we are here to help you to reduce the choking possibility.    

First of all, we would like to start by mentioning some foods that can increase the risk of choking: 

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Whole grapes
  • Popcorn
  • Nut butter
  • Crusty bread,
  • Hard apple,
  • Hard carrot batons
  • Whole nuts
  • Giant blueberries

But, don’t worry, you don’t have to avoid those foods, you just need to make them safer by chopping them into smaller, manageable pieces. You can thin nut butters with milk if your baby is quite young. 

Now, we will provide some tips on how to prevent choking:

  1. Sit them down to eat: Babies are more likely to choke if they slip or trip while eating. Make sure they sit down to eat and drink, and not lie down, walk or run.
  2. Stay within arm’s reach: ALWAYS supervise babies and young children, sit with them at mealtimes so you can be with them if they need your help.
  3. Always cut up food: babies and young children can choke on small, sticky or slippery foods. Always cut foods like tomatoes, grapes and blackberries into quarters.
  4.  Keep small objects out of little hands: babies and toddlers examine things around them by putting them in their mouths. Keep surfaces clear of small toys like building bricks and marbles, and always clean up after playing, especially if you have older children. 

If you follow those tips, you can prevent your baby from choking but, what if the worst happens? Don’t worry! We also got you here with some good tips.

  1. Back Blows: Sit or kneel and lay the baby over your lap, face down, head lowest, supporting the head. Give up to 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. The aim is to relieve the choking with each blow rather than give all 5.
  2. Chest Thrusts: Turn the baby's chest over facing up. Support the head and lower it below the level of the chest. Use 2 fingers to give up to 5 chest thrusts.  These are similar to chest compressions but sharper and slower.  The aim is to relieve the choking with each thrust rather than give all 5.

Keep repeating steps 1 and 2 and don’t stop until the blockage has been removed or the baby loses consciousness. If the baby becomes unconscious – Start CPR.

If these steps do not work, shout for help. Ask someone to call 999/112 or use a loud speaker on your mobile if you are alone and get emergency help.

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