Baby-led weaning doesn't increase the risk for choking

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Naysayers of baby-led weaning say that it could cause choking, but this new study says otherwise

Baby-led weaning is the method of introducing solid foods to babies by letting them feed themselves instead of traditional ways like spoon-feeding. There are plenty of benefits associated with baby-led weaning, like helping develop their motor skills, making them more adventurous eaters, and possibly lowering their obesity risk.

baby led weaning

Photo: Dreamstime

However, there are also some concerns regarding baby-led weaning, such as the increased potential for choking. But according to a new study published in Pediatrics, there is no correlation between baby-led weaning and choking, reports UPI.

Senior study author Rachael Taylor and her team from the University of Otago in New Zealand asked 206 mothers to introduce foods via spoon-feeding or with the baby-led approach. They found that those who did baby-led weaning weren’t more likely to choke than those fed in the traditional way.

On the next page: more about the study and the SAFE way to do baby-led weaning.

Before Taylor started the study, she and her team first primed the baby-led weaning group with information on the safe way to do baby-led weaning.

Baby-led weaning guidelines

  • Your baby should be able to sit up—it’s best to wait until your baby is 6 months old before introducing solids to her.
  • The food should be “squishy.” “Make sure that you can squash the foods you offer your baby on the roof of your mouth,” Taylor explained (i.e. yes to boiled and mashed squash, no to raw apples and carrots).
  • Always supervise when your baby eats.
baby led weaning

Sadly, many parents still feed their babies choking hazards like raw vegetables (Photo: Fotolia)

The study also found that babies in both groups were given foods that posed choking risks, like raw vegetables and crackers.

“More work is needed to ensure that parents and caregivers know how to provide safe foods and feeding environments,” the study concluded. “It is essential that parents are taught how to deal with unavoidable choking episodes.”

READ: These foods are choking hazards for your toddler

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