Another repost as this seems to be a very important subject at the moment. Especially as Millie’s Law has come into play in the UK and now every new member of staff that works at a nursery must be First Aid Trained.
There are three things that you can do to put your mind at ease.
1. Know the difference between choking and gagging.
Your baby will gag during their weaning process, especially if they take a mouthful of food which is too big, as my little munchkin often does. Gagging is a safety mechanism that moves food to the front of the mouth to prevent choking so as long as your baby is sitting upright the gagging reflex will help teach your baby to take smaller bites and stop choking from happening.
Also a baby makes much more noise when they are gagging to choking, that’s why it seems more terrifying. When a baby is choking they will stop making any noise and struggle to breathe.
At around 7 months we went out for lunch with a friend, she has a 5 month old and had plenty of questions about BLW. As we sat chatting, my little munchkin suddenly reached for a whole cherry tomato and stuffed it in her mouth. I could sense my friend gasp but I remained calm knowing that my little one would work it out for herself. Normally I do cut these in half for her but I wasn’t worried as I knew what would happen. She sat and sucked on the tomato. Once she had sucked all the juices out she spat out the skin and the flesh.
My munchkin knew to do this as there have been many occasions when she has taken a bite that has been much too large and gagged it back to the front of her mouth. At first I would panic but I soon realised that she was learning to take smaller bites. Gagging actually teaches them how to send food back to the front of the mouth and reduces their chances of choking in later life.
My friend was amazed that she had learnt to do this and we continued to watch my little one devour half a jacket potato.
2. Reduce the chance of it happening
Don’t give your baby foods they are likely to choke on such as whole nuts and fish with bones.
Think about how your foods should be chopped up. Think chip-sized so that your little one can easily hold it and think soft so that it is easily chewed and swallowed.
Do not leave your baby unattended when eating because remember if they do choke it is much quieter than gagging.
Always have them sat in an appropriate highchair or bumbo seat as this will keep them upright as they eat.
Do not start your baby on solids until they are ready. Read ‘How do I know if my child is my child ready?’ to check for the signs, but generally a child is ready around 6 months.
3. Know what to do if your child does start choking.
St John Ambulance have released a great advert that shows any anxious mother how to help their baby if they choke.
Click here to watch it
But if your child does get a piece of food lodged in their throat you will want to know how you can help them to remove it. Have a look at the YouTube clip by Red Cross or for more piece of mind why not take a Baby First Aid Course.