As your child ventures into the world of solids, it can be a fun time trying out new tastes and textures, watching those funny faces as they try something new, and seeing that cute mess all over their face (not so cute all over the floor though, our can help with that). Mealtime is a special bonding opportunity for you, your baby, and the rest of the family. You will get the urge to let them try food off of your plate, which is a great thing for their developing pallet. In order to make this time as safe and enjoyable as possible, here are a few tips: Gathre Mats
First and foremost, be familiar with how to help a choking child. There are different guidelines for different age groups. Here is a short video that goes over the basics of how to help an infant 1 or younger:
1. Observe your child.
You do not want to give them new foods (or any foods, really) and leave the room. Being present and watching your child while eating will not only be a wonderful time for bonding and interaction, but it is so important in keeping them safe. You can watch how well they are doing with each bite and make sure they are not putting too much food in their mouths at once. Remember, true choking is silent, so don't assume you will hear your child coughing/choking if they are in danger. Keep a close watch on those adorable eating babes!
Sometimes eating is a chore for those active toddlers, but jumping and running around with food in their mouths can increase the risk of choking.
2. Tell those busy bodies to sit still while they are eating. 3. Make sure the food itself is safe and in
You will want to start introducing solids around 6 months, according to your preference and pediatrician's recommendations. You will want to start with very smooth foods, but that doesn't mean you can't experiment with different taste combinations. You can use a baby food blender to blend the foods that you are eating into a safe consistency.
safe bite-size pieces. 4. As your child reaches the toddler stage, eating off of your plate will be commonplace.
Food safety is kind of like buckling your child in their carseat. Just because they have been in the car without a car accident, doesn't mean that the risk is gone. Every time your child eats any of these foods, there is an increased risk for choking, so keep that in mind. Here are some foods that can be dangerous if not handled with care:
Hotdogs. Kids love them, they are super convenient, a good protein and a source of fat. They are also dangerous if not prepped properly for your little one. Make sure you cut the hot dog in half lengthwise and then into little bits. I am still doing this with my 3 year old.
Grapes. They are a fruit that kids love, so sweet with that fun texture. Much like hotdogs, they are the perfect size and consistency to be dangerous for little ones. Before you feed grapes to your toddlers and little ones, cut them in half lengthwise, and then into quarters. It may seem tedious, but trust me, it will be worth it to avoid any difficulties your child may have. The same goes for cherry and grape tomatoes. Anything with a similar shape and texture, you will want to treat in the same way.
Marshmallows. Another loved treat, and also another hazard. Cut these into small pieces for your child or avoid them altogether.
Gum. This can be tempting to give to your child, especially if they see you chewing it and ask for a piece. This is something I avoid entirely with my kids. It doesn't offer any nutritional value and I think the risk is just too high, especially since it takes kids some getting used to not swallowing the gum when they are done. This one is best to be avoided since there is really no great way to make it more safe for your kids. I am just barely letting my almost 7 year old experiment with small pieces.
Hard candies. These can be difficult for those new eaters to eat. They most likely will not keep it in their mouths long enough to let it dissolve the way it was intended. They are usually too difficult to bite, and most likely kids will end up trying to swallow them. I had a close call with one of my kids, and I won't let them have any hard candy, especially the ball shapes ones, at all. Again, I am just barely allowing my almost 7 year old to try them out.
Fruit Snacks. This can be a huge temptation because kids love them. Just be careful about the age you start with these. They can be too big for young children and difficult to chew. The good news is, there are fruit snack products made for young toddlers, look for them in your supermarket.
Meat. You will want to make sure the meat you are serving your young ones is soft and easily chewed. Ground beef and ground turkey are great choices as long as you serve it fully cooked (hamburgers well done, especially if they are fast food hamburgers) and in small enough pieces.
String Cheese. Cheese is also a nutritious snack for those cuties, but it can be hard to chew and swallow. I usually tear a piece off and smash it between my fingers before I hand it to my 1 year old.
Fruit and vegetables with skin like apples, peaches, and cucumbers. Before feeding these types of things to your young child (children without molars), take the skin off so that they can easily mush it with their gums.
Peanut butter. This may seem a little silly since it is a smooth consistency, but it is hard to swallow for young kids. It is best to give it only in very small quantities on top of bread.
Any food in large quantities. Soft and safe foods can still cause problems when they are eaten in large amounts, so make sure you are regulating the quantity of food your child is putting in their mouth. Don't give them more food until you can see that they have swallowed the food they have already put in their mouth. Remember that these are just tips and guidelines. Use those mommy instincts and pay attention to those babes. You will know what looks safe and what looks like it might be more difficult for your little ones to manage. Meal time can be so much fun. We have so many adorable ways for you to make mealtimes enjoyable for mom and babe. If you haven't checked out the
then you are in for a treat! Do you have any other tips or ideas for safe mealtimes? Share them with us! Boon Snug Spout Cup