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Old Jul 5th, 2016, 15:48 PM   1
jessmke
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Help - BLW with hesitant husband


We have been doing BLW with my DD for about 6 weeks now, but she doesn't really consume anything. She likes cold finger foods like bell peppers and cucumber but I think it is more because it feels good on her teething gums than she actually likes the taste. If she manages to break off a piece off something in her mouth she acts like it is disgusting and gags and tries to get it out of her mouth and has no interest in chewing/swallowing whatever is in her mouth. She doesn't yet have any teeth.

My OH is a respiratory therapist at the local children's hospital so if there is a choking child brought in to the hospital he is involved which makes him very nervous about giving DD food. He is ok with most raw or lightly steamed vegetables because she mostly just knaws on them but they are hard enough that they don't break off in chunks. He gets nervous with tomato because if she gets the skin in the back of her throat it can act like a balloon and seal off her esophagus and trachea. I wanted to give her a meatball but he said no because it could break off in chunks. He got upset when I gave her rice and oatmeal because they are sticky and could cause her to choke (he is ok with oatmeal if I first grind up the oats so it basically makes a puree). I suggested toast fingers but again he said no because she could break off a chunk in her mouth. He agrees that giving her purees is not necessary, but basically just wants to give her finger foods that she can suck on rather than anything that would require her to chew it before she swallows. At the moment she will swallow bits of cucumber, tomato, or broccoli that she sucks off, but she doesn't chew if anything comes off in a big chunk and instead just tries to get it out of her mouth.

What can I give her other than sliced vegetables and fruit? How did you BLWers get over the fear of choking? I know that her gag reflex is far forward and if food breaks off in her mouth she doesn't have the tongue dexterity to move it to the back of her throat where she could swallow, but knowing that stuff doesn't do much to squelch my husband's fears because he has just seen kids choke on too many things. If she showed interest in actually chewing and eating food I think he would feel better, but at the moment she almost panics if she gets a chunk of anything in her mouth. Should we just stick with chunky pieces of veggies until she shows interest in chewing and eating food, or will she not learn to chew unless we give her the opportunity to have smaller pieces of food in her mouth?



 
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Old Jul 5th, 2016, 16:00 PM   2
loeylo
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My OH is very panicky about choking, his family are all more "fussy" over food than mines ever have been. Like, if she doesn't eat his family panic and start giving her junk because she "needs to eat" whereas I'm just like, meh, she will eat if she's hungry. They also do tiny food or purees.

What works for us is giving her small, unpureed food, using a spoon, along with "fingers" of food. For example, she feeds herself toast (I know your OH isn't happy with this, but she has never actually bit off a big chunk before she was at the point of chewing tbh) we also gove her avocado, but we help her feed herself with a spoon. Slices of banana, cut fine and then quartered. Also, things like peas and sweetcorn fed individually, she self feeds those and they are too small to choke her.

We spoon feed her with assistance things like small pasta with tuna (flaked) - like soup pasta or shreds of spaghetti.

She is 9 months and can use the spoon herself in terms of balancing it and getting it to her mouth, but we need to scoop the food for her.

She also gets finger food but I still class it as baby lead as we don't puree, she feeds herself with a spoon.



 
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Old Jul 5th, 2016, 16:20 PM   3
jessmke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loeylo View Post
My OH is very panicky about choking, his family are all more "fussy" over food than mines ever have been. Like, if she doesn't eat his family panic and start giving her junk because she "needs to eat" whereas I'm just like, meh, she will eat if she's hungry. They also do tiny food or purees.

What works for us is giving her small, unpureed food, using a spoon, along with "fingers" of food. For example, she feeds herself toast (I know your OH isn't happy with this, but she has never actually bit off a big chunk before she was at the point of chewing tbh) we also gove her avocado, but we help her feed herself with a spoon. Slices of banana, cut fine and then quartered. Also, things like peas and sweetcorn fed individually, she self feeds those and they are too small to choke her.

We spoon feed her with assistance things like small pasta with tuna (flaked) - like soup pasta or shreds of spaghetti.

She is 9 months and can use the spoon herself in terms of balancing it and getting it to her mouth, but we need to scoop the food for her.

She also gets finger food but I still class it as baby lead as we don't puree, she feeds herself with a spoon.
Thanks for the reply! My LO is actually pretty good with the spoon if I pre-load it for her, but as soon as the food touches her lips she makes a gross face and doesn't want it in her mouth. Then she turns the spoon around to chew on the handle and the food falls on the floor. The only pureed things we've given her are things that would normally be pureed, like hummus, guacamole, apple sauce, and oatmeal, but she doesn't want to eat any of it.



 
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Old Jul 5th, 2016, 18:33 PM   4
loeylo
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Imo, that's fine. Just let her explore things and taste them, even if she doesn't like them. My LO was reluctant to eat at first, but she tasted everything. She now eats literally everything - today she has had baked oats, vegan fruit crumble, tuna kale and pea pasta, avocado, olives, and some baby crisps.

Chewing the spoon is fine Imo. We have soft chewy spoons.



 
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Old Jul 6th, 2016, 05:21 AM   5
RaquelDee
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I wouldn't worry about her not eating much. My girl ate almost nothing at first, but then really got into eating at around 9 or 10 months and now is pretty adventurous.

Could you try yogurt? Mine liked licking it off her fingers as well as having a go with a spoon. She also figured out chewing and moving food around her mouth with small pieces of fairly soft cheese- if the bits are small enough they shouldn't be a choking hazard and you can always pop them in her mouth if she doesn't have the dexterity to pick them up herself.

I understand your OH's perspective and I was pretty nervous about choking, but honestly he is seeing the worst case scenarios at work. I was less nervous after doing a first aid course and knowing I could deal with the situation if it arose. I also had to accept that she needed to learn how to eat and that the gagging (which happens quite a bit) was just part of the process. Given his medical training, I doubt that your baby could be in better hands if anything were to happen.



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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 07:58 AM   6
MindUtopia
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Honestly, I think you just have to keep going and not overthink it (and probably for now, as much as possible keep your partner out of it). You're right that she won't learn to chew normal foods unless you get her the chance to try. When we chew, we bite off chunks, move them around in our mouth and swallow, so there really is no way she'll learn to eat without having the chance to explore foods that will break apart when she chews them. And actually, though I don't worry much about choking, I would be much more comfortable with foods she can mush up in her mouth than things like a piece of raw pepper which doesn't mush up and could much more easily lodge in the windpipe. Toast fingers are great because she can gum them and they aren't as slippy as raw or steamed fruit or veg, so she should have more control over them (that's probably why she spits those foods out more). If you feel like you need something even less chunky to start with, try yogurt flavoured with a bit of fruit puree or blended soups that she can stick her hands in. You might also try the sort of baby puffs that pretty much dissolve in the mouth. They give her a chance to explore new foods, but mostly they also just give you both time to get used to it and relax about it all. Then move on to roasted veg, roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes, toast fingers with hummus, butter, nut butters, plain pasta (less slippery than with a sauce), porridge balls or fingers, etc.

I do understand your partner is nervous, but he probably just has to sit on his hands for this one. He sees the worst cases scenarios in his job, so it's understandable that he is nervous. But there are millions of people on the planet and the vast majority of us eat without choking and never choked on food as a baby. My daughter is 3.5. She's never had anything but normal foods, never had anything pureed, and she's never choked on anything. Her first meal ever was roasted carrots and parsnips (stick shaped), yorkshire puddings, mashed potatoes and then a plum for pudding. You would be amazed what they can eat, but you have to give them the chance to do it and be willing to sit on your hands a bit. If it reassures you, make sure you know how to handle choking in the very rare chance it might happen. Send your partner out of the room if you need to. And just do it. It really will get easier one you see she's perfectly capable of doing it. It sounds like she still has a strong gag reflex, which is actually really good, because gagging prevents choking. Beyond that, it's just trying new things and letting her explore and forcing yourself to be comfortable with it while she figures it out.

You would be amazed how much someone else's anxiety will affect their eating though. So if she isn't eating much yet, it could be because she can sense that there is some stress around food. It could also be she's just not interested. But definitely of my friends with kids the same age as mine, the one's that were nervous and panicky at mealtimes had babies who didn't eat much and who grew up to be picky eaters, probably in part because they weren't allowed much variety to start because of the fear of choking, but also just mealtimes were really stressful. Literally, once my friend's husband jumped up in the middle of the meal, grabbed their 1 year old who was eating just fine, turned her upside down in the middle of lunch and started banging on her back because he thought she might have inhaled something. She was fine. But it just made the meal really tense because they were always hovering over her and refusing to allow her to try certain things. Anyway, I guess just trying to say now is the time to nip it in the bud if you can.



 
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Old Jul 7th, 2016, 13:41 PM   7
gingmg
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All great advice above. I can appreciate where your husband is coming from. I'm a pediatric ICU nurse so I understand his fears. I had them all too. At the same time, BLW made sense to me and I really wanted to give it a go. What helped me relax was reading the BLW book, cooking from the cook book, and talking to other people (on here and in real life) about their experiences. I had to remind myself that gagging is NOT the same thing as choking and that gagging is what actually prevents choking. The gag reflex of a 6 month old is so far forward on their tongue that they gag way before the food is anywhere near their airway. In BLW your little one learns to chew first and swallow later, which is different than traditional weaning where they swallow first and chew much later. They have to learn to break food off, move it around their mouth, and chew before they start actually eating and swallowing much. It can take a few months to really get the hang of it. Babies that are started on solids the traditional way are actually more at risk of choking than BLW babies believe it or not. Many people start giving finger foods closer to a year, which by then their gag reflex has moved way back right next to their airway and so gagging doesn't offer the same protection in that learning to chew/swallow larger pieces phase. Also, the way a baby sucks food off of a spoon is similar to the way they suck from a nipple. They learn that eating is a sucking/inhaling motion which actually can put them at greater risk of aspirating when they start chunkier solids because they could suck it right to the back of their mouth. From a digestive standpoint too, BLW is gentler on their system because its such a gradual introduction to food.

Learning some of these facts and the science behind oral development really and truly helped me to chill out and trust my son's instincts when it came to food. The BLW book would be a great read for your husband. He needs to know some of science behind it and why they actually are at less risk of choking not more risk. I wont lie, the gagging phase felt scary to me and I totally questioned my sanity a few times. I remember counting to 5 a couple of times because the gagging felt so scary that I was putting a cap on how long I would be able to watch my son gag before I was going to intervene. I actually said in my head "nothing is going to happen in 5 seconds that you cannot fix". But he was always fine. Time and time again. He never seemed scared or upset when he gagged, he went right on eating unphased. He proved to me over and over that I could trust him, that his airway was safe. The gagging phase lasted about a month for us. Then it got better.

We did a lot of toast with humus or mashed avacado, roasted veggies, bananas, scrambled eggs, meatballs, pastas, chili. Anything we were eating really. If you can squish it a bit between you fingers- they can mash it up with their gums.



 
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Old Jul 8th, 2016, 21:00 PM   8
jessmke
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Thanks so much, you guys have really given me more confidence to allow her to try some new things. I have found a system that seems to ease my anxiety, the first time I give her something new that I feel a bit nervous about I only let her have it for 5 minutes. I am able to sit on my hands for that long and allow her to experiment with the new food and then I take it away after 5 minutes and give her something I am more comfortable with like sticks of veggies so I can relax. Then each subsequent time I give her those new items I am less and less nervous until I can just let her have them indefinitely. I've done that with toast, rice cakes, pasta, meatballs, and cottage cheese the last two days and she has really enjoyed the new foods (especially the toast!). It has also helped that my OH has been working day shifts for the last few days, so he is gone before Isla gets up in the morning and home after she has gone to bed, so all her meals have been up to me and I don't have him hovering and panicking. This morning he saw Isla eating toast and was like WTF and I told him she has had toast a couple times a day for the last two days and she has been fine and then he was ok with it. Tomorrow morning I am going to make scrambled eggs for her. I am getting less nervous and more trusting of her instincts with each new food I introduce to her, and I feel like today when my OH saw her doing so well with new foods he is more trusting of her abilities as well.

I have also stopped watching her so closely while she is eating. I am still supervising her, but instead of watching her like a hawk I will clean up the kitchen and do the dishes or make coffee. it helps if I don't see each and every time she gags a bit, lol.

On a somewhat related note she is now able to drink water out of an open cup all by herself!



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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 18:19 PM   9
jessmke
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Tonight Isla had steak, lobster, pasta, toast with mashed avacado, and some plain yogurt sweatened with homemade sugar free applesauce. I think it's safe to say we have gotten over our anxieties, lol!



 
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Old Jul 13th, 2016, 19:58 PM   10
gingmg
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That's great!



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