Starting Solids: What do I do if my baby takes too big of a bite?
Updated: May 19
I have a confession to make…
If you’ve been following me @babytotable for a while, chances are you’ve heard from me that you should avoid putting your finger in baby’s mouth to get food out when they are gagging.
I will admit, though, that I have done it before. I remember it happening with my first baby a couple of times when he just stuffed his mouth with way too much food and was struggling to figure out what to do.
I think this was my response because he is my first baby, and although I knew that wasn’t the wisest thing to do, as a new mom sometimes doubts creep in and you just react without really thinking it through.
So believe me, no judgment here if you have done it with your little one, too.
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So what do I do if my baby takes too big of a bite?
First and foremost, I try to eat at the same time as my babies eat as often as possible. Why? Because they are always watching you, even if it seems they aren’t. They can see how we eat and can learn the order we do things when we eat… bite it, chew it, swallow it.
And, secondly, I coach them on how to chew or how to spit out the food in their mouth if they have taken too big of a bite, or if they seem to be having trouble with that specific food.
Read this post to the end or watch the video below to get the steps on how to coach your baby on chewing and spitting out food if they have taken too big of a bite.
DISCLAIMER: Each child has their own development timeline and specific needs. The content below is general information and for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional one-on-one advice. You are responsible for supervising your child’s health and for evaluating the appropriateness of the information below for your child. Please consult your healthcare provider regarding support or advice for your child's well being and health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
PLAN A: Coach baby on how to CHEW their food
1.Remove other pieces of food so baby doesn't put more food in their mouth.
2.Sit right in front of them and get down to their level, ideally eye level, or ideally below them. (So they don’t tip their head back to look at you).
3. To really show them how to chew, you’ll want to put one piece of food in your mouth at a time and DRAMATICALLY chew for them with your mouth OPEN. Yes, I know it’s gross, but nobody else is watching. And if they are, who cares? You’re teaching your baby. You can also bring your hands near your face and open it and close it as you dramatically chew the food.
And if your baby is still not able to manage chewing the food in their mouth, then go to plan B...
>>Download the FREE Quick-Start Guide to Solids to learn WHEN, HOW, and WHAT to feed your baby when starting solids.
PLAN B: Coach baby on how to SPIT OUT their food
Repeat steps 1 and 2 from chewing coaching.
3. Stick your own tongue out DRAMATICALLY and repeatedly say, “Blaaaah” at the same time.
4. Gently put your hand near their chin so they understand you want to catch food.
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This workshop covers everything you need to know for dealing with gagging, reducing the risk of choking during mealtimes, and offering safe food sizes and shapes to your child.
Move Forward with Confident and Joyful Feeding
As your baby gets older and understands what you are saying more, you can replace the mouth and tongue motions with verbal instructions… “chew your food more”... “spit it out” or “stick your tongue out.” Before you know it, they will learn to pick up smaller bites and be able to independently handle these situations.
Happy Eating & Feeding,
As always, discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. This post and this site is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. The materials and services provided by this site are for informational purposes only.
Looking for more resources to help you raise a healthy and happy little eater? Try our FREE FOOD LIBRARY for inspiration of first foods to offer to your baby!