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Starting solids: No, your baby won’t choke

by |  May 3rd, 2014
Baby Eating SolidsStarting solids can be stressful for parents. Kids are fidgety, throw or spit up their food, refuse to eat, cry, make faces—creating a fun mealtime environment of high blood pressure!

Let’s face it, we all worry…is my baby getting enough nutrients? Is she swallowing correctly? How do I keep her from becoming a picky eater? The anxiety is endless (!!) which is why we get so many questions on the topic.

Rule #1Before we jump in, remember that babies have been learning how to eat food for generations and they don’t really need much help from us to accomplish it! Patiencewill be a theme in many of our answers.

How do I teach my baby to gum her food before she swallows?

You don’t teach her, she’ll learn on her own. And, no she won’t choke as long as you steer clear of certain choking hazards like peanuts, raisins, hot dogs, or grapes.

As babies mature, their mouth and tongue muscles also mature. They figure out on their own how to move food around in their mouths and then swallow it. Babies don’t need teeth to bite into food—they can gum just about anything (just like the old folks who take their dentures out at dinner time!). The process evolves over time with practice…so be patient. At this stage your job is to give your baby time and opportunity to practice.

How can I get my son to eat stuff like chicken when he has no teeth?

You can make it easier for your son by starting with softer, mashed or shredded food items. Foods like chicken salad or shredded meat are easier for your son to move around in his mouth and swallow. He doesn’t need teeth to break it down just make sure to start with small pieces.

Ari Brown, MD

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411 Pediatrics


Dr. Ari Brown founded 411 Pediatrics and After Hours Care in Austin after two decades of education and experience in child development, behavioral pediatrics and pediatric healthcare. Our pediatric associates, consisting of pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and lactation consultants, share a common goal. We partner with parents to help children grow up healthy, happy, and resilient!

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