Many of us who work in infant nutrition were excited to see the results of a study published in the journal Pediatrics, confirming that self-feeding does not increase the risk of choking when compared to traditional puree feeding.
In this randomized, controlled trial, 204 infants were allocated to either the control group (purees) or the baby led weaning group. The results were quite interesting!
- Infants in the BLW group were more likely to experience gagging at 6 months, but less likely to gag at 8 months, compared to the control group.
- The reported incidence of a choking event was 35% between the ages of 6-8 months, and did not differ between the groups.
- Both groups of infants were offered foods (based on food records) between 7-12 months that posed a choking risk. The authors reiterated the need for education regarding safe foods.
What does this mean?
This research is very reassuring for parents and practitioners! It tells us that babies can safely self-feed at 6 months, but underscores the importance of education around they types and shapes of foods that are safe. Remember that larger-sized pieces (french fry shape) of food are safest, and babies should always be supervised when eating!
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