I'm curious about this too. We've been trying out some baby-led weaning, but I worry about the choking thing myself. I know the difference between gagging and choking, but what I don't know is whether the risk of choking is greater with BLW versus puree-feeding. I was hopeful about the "eensy teensy little bitty bites they take when they can control their own bites" that sapphire_chan mentions, but my little girl wants to take gigantic bites (like, golf-ball sized pieces) and mush them around in her mouth, then let most of it dribble out while swallowing the rest. I like the idea, but it also makes me nervous.
Any ideas about how to proceed when the little one wants gigantic bites that she can't really handle?
The risk for choking is greater with purees due to the fact that by the time they get to solid foods, their gag reflex has moved further back in their throats. With BLW, they learn to manage what can and can't fit into their mouths and what they can comfortably gum,chew and swallow. Her taking the bigger bites is her figuring it out....hence why she spits some out. DS did this the other day with sweet potato. It's hard to watch them put something into their mouth you think they might choke on but he figured it out. The smaller the object, the more likely they are to choke. That is why giving them big chunks of things to gnaw on works "better."
The main school of thought is that they should be exclusively breast/formula fed for the first 6 months so that their gut has time to seal. If they have met certain milestones, able to sit up mostly unassisted, have the absence of tongue thrust, and a pincer grasp (able to pick stuff up between thumb and first finger) then they are usually ready for solids. Food before one is really just for exploration and fun. It's about teaching them about food variety and textures. They should get most of their nutrition form breast milk or formula.
My neighbor does this with purees that she makes and she loves it too.
I'm not trying to be rude, but what is wrong with pureed food? It sounds like a great way to get different tastes and nutrition in your babe. I'm just wondering why anyone would not want to try that route if they are afraid of choking. I am VERY afraid of choking...I've had to pull food out of my 5 year old ds more times then I am comfortable with (ONCE is actually enough), so will be very careful with this baby. Also, I didn't see this mentioned, but what about one of those baby mesh feeder things? I have a few....you put the food in there so they can just suck on it.
There is nothing "wrong" with it per se but again it goes back to the gag reflex. If babies are fed exclusively purees, usually by the time they move onto solids their gag reflex has moved to the back of their throat and they have the absence of tongue thrust so they are more likely to choke when solids are started. It's also about them not knowing what size food pieces they can handle because they didn't have that early exploration. It's worse in babies who have been spoon/force fed.