Those of you who do BLW- how do you give the baby chunks without being scared of choking? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-27-2010, 01:59 PM
 
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gagging is NOT bad! gagging is good! be happy when you see gagging. it means the baby is doing what it is supposed to and getting food out of their mouths.

i am still a partial BLWer... i don't think it's bad to spoon feed some foods some of the time. i never made totally smooth purees though, and it was usually a consistency that i would eat myself, like mashed lentils, pureed soups, applesauce etc.

anyway, babies are at far greater risk of choking on non-food items. there aren't too many foods (besides nuts, grapes and chopped raw carrot) that are the right size and firmness to block a child's windpipe. large pieces of baked squash, sweet potato and softer fruit are really good places to start.
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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I hope you weren't referring to my gagging vs choking post; I said in it that gagging is part of learning how to eat!

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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I'm one of those that does some purees and some BLW. With ds 2 we only did purees for a few weeks, along with some BLW too. I gave up with chunks of anything but sweet potato (he seemed to be okay with that), for awhile because he would gag and throw up so much he seemed really unhappy about it. And although I expected the gagging the continual throwing up with each bite didn't seem okay. He had 6 teeth pretty early but he DID NOT yet have the gumming/chewing thing down at all. So he was taking off chunks that he really wasn't ready to deal with yet.

By 9 months or so we pretty much weren't doing purees. Although he does get yogurt on a spoon and was getting oatmeal until he gave that up recently. He's kind of venturing on a picky stage recently and going only for his tried favorites. Even now sometimes he will really gag things down in too big of bites without chewing enough.
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I totally respect this option (BLW) but the more I consider it, the more I confirm that I don't think this is the right choice for me!
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:25 PM
 
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I did BLW with DD, and I think I might do more purees with DS. Her growth slowed down a lot around 1 year old, and I think she wasn't getting quite enough calories for a while there. At almost 3, she's finally becoming a better eater, but I would have liked her to have had more food (rather than breastmilk) at an earlier age because I was worn out from so much nursing, especially when she went through some later-babyhood growth spurts. DS was premature, and is still very young, so I still have time to decide, but the supplements (vitamins and extra calories) he got in the hospital seemed to help him a lot.
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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I really have enjoyed this thread... I am fascinated by everyone's opinions and experiences! I think I'll check out the BLW book. I read Feeding Baby Green which was more about healthy and real-food choices then anything substantial to follow for feeding... Our LO is only 2 months but I know this will come up for us just as quick as everything else has. I want to take a CPR class too. I just want to know what to do... I agree with a PP that having a mental plan is really important for maintaining confidence in yourself and I really want to know mentally what I would do if anything happened to her, re: choking.

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. Mine arrived today and it looks like a great basic introduction. Snapdragon, maybe you would feel better about it after reading the book. It seems like you want to try it but just need more information to give you some confidence. I also second the idea of taking infant CPR.

DS isn't quite ready yet, but I'm excited to try BLW when he is. I actually didn't even know what it was until a couple weeks ago reading threads here. I always assumed it just meant starting solids (purees, the "regular" way) when the baby shows interest as opposed to on a specific date. Ah, the wonderful things we learn from MDC!
definitely! i read so much about BLW on MDC, i didn't think i'd need a book. but, i finally decided i wanted a single source with everything laid out, kwim? i had the same fears and concerns, snapdragon!

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eta: not trying to talk anyone into doing BLW, btw, kwim? lol

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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I admit, I've been sooooo excited to use BLW, but I had an incident the other night that scared me and DH. I read the book and online articles and really felt confident about BLW, but! Eden took a HUGE bite out of a finger food of steamed yam the other night. It was very thoroughly steamed and mushed at the touch. But the BIG bite went to the back of her tongue, and she hasn't developed the tongue coordination yet to move a big chunk around yet, so she started gagging. She gagged and gagged and gagged and she couldn't breathe (her face turned deep red) until she finally vomited. Thank goodness. I know this is normal, but it could have been prevented.

The book says that it takes at LEAST 2 weeks for a baby to develop the tongue coordination to maneuver food around well in the mouth, and swallow. Now I believe that we should have just mushed steamed veggies for her to play with and experiment for at least 2 weeks, before offering finger foods. I think this is a better way to begin BLW, and I'm going to do this for at least a week before offering finger foods again.

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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If she cant' breathe, she'll turn blue, her lips first.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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I hope you weren't referring to my gagging vs choking post; I said in it that gagging is part of learning how to eat!
i was just reiterating that gagging is part of learning to eat. no disagreement to your post on my part.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:47 PM
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We never did purees (well, I make applesauce and so I fed that to DD, but I enjoyed it, too ). I just let DD suck on my apple or such when she was tiny and not trying to bite stuff, and gave her tiny tiny chunks-- I would just slice her pear peices smaller than my own, that's all. Too small to choke on, and great for her to practice picking up. I like what I'm learning here about the gag reflex being forward earlier, but I tend to just think if a baby's not handling something well, over and over, just don't feed them that. I mean, BM is plenty. I just let DD play with food at that point, stuff that didn't worry me, and nursed her, and closer to 1yo she was really eating. Even then it was supplemental to her nursing. So BLW really is just trying out food and learning about eating, but I don't feel pressure to get a lot of food into her, or do purees or anything.
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Anecdotally, of all the cousins (there are 6 but one hasn't started any solids as she is only 3 months) the only two who haven't had issues with food are the two who were BLW. The other three are 7, 3, and 3 and have MAJOR issues eating. Their parents are trying to coax them into taking "just three more peas" etc., doing the airplane with the spoon (well, not the 7 yo), bribing "if you eat all your ___ you can have some dessert", basically just making mealtimes incredibly stressful and like a three ring circus.

Giving them purees when they were babies was fine, but it seems to have created a problem for them now that they are older. They are incredibly picky, have texture issues, have attention issues (they are used to being entertained to eat), want to be spoon fed instead of eating themselves. Etc.

No thank you! My son (27 mo) and the 7 yo's 3 yo brother are the only two who haven't had any eating issues. There are things that they don't like but they will taste them occasionally. Basically if I put a plate of food down I can trust him to eat a decent amount of the things he is interested. When my DD is old enough (she's the 3 mo) and starts showing an interest then I will start giving her whole foods that she can handle.

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Old 11-05-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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I think that you would benefit a lot from reading the Rapley book, Snapdragon, as (I don't mean this in a snarky way!!) I'm not sure that anyone has fully explained some of the basic reasonings behind BLW, the physiological background, etc.

A few points to consider:

1. Babies under 1 year do NOT need nutrition beyond breastmilk. Some studies even say 2 years. Thus, one of the mantras of BLW is "Solids before 1 are only for fun!" BLW is not intended to be a way to get a whole bunch of food in a baby's tummy; rather, it's to teach them how to eat.

2. Babies should not be started on solids until they demonstrate multiple signs of readiness. The first (and most absolute) is that they reach six months old. Google "virgin gut" and you'll get some great info as to why that is. Feeding children by puree was a trend started after women in the early half of the 20th century (who were told not to bother breastfeeding) were told to start feeding their babies purees at 1 or 2 months old. This is bunk, as we now know, but since an infant at that age can't do ANYTHING for themselves, they obviously can't self-feed solids!

The other signs of readiness are an ability to sit upright (this is very important in preventing choking -- if a kid can't keep themselves upright, they're not ready for solids), a desire to eat, and the emergence of teeth. (The teeth thing is somewhat debated, as we know some kids get their first teeth at 12, 15, 18 months, but it's not a coincidence that most kids get their first teeth around 6 months, just as the virgin gut closes). When they've shown all of these signs, they're ready for big ol' hunks of smushy foods.

Once a baby has developed a "pincer grasp" (google it!), they are ready for smaller chunks of food -- peas, beans, diced veggies, etc.

3. The gag reflex in a six month old baby is triggered at a point very close to the front of their mouth. Watch a six-monther play with a toy. It will go in their mouth, and if it goes too far (which is not very far at all!) they'll make a face and pull it back out. Sometimes they'll even make a gagging sound. This is good! It's how they learn to eat, as has been mentioned lots of times. If you jam a spoon full of puree into their mouth, it's likely that it'll go further back than this reflex trigger point, which is a very real choking danger. And frankly, if a glop of puree goes down the wrong tube, it's MUCH harder to get out via the Heimlich than a simple chunk, which pops right out with a compression.

As they get older, the trigger point for that reflex moves further and further back. Starting older babies who never learned how to gag properly (yes, you need to know how to gag properly!) on chunks are more likely to choke. I would say that parents who choose to feed purees are the ones who need to take the CPR/First Aid classes! (Actually, I think everyone should, but seriously -- force-feeding purees is an outdated and potentially unsafe feeding practice!)

4. After the kid has gasped and gagged and puked a few too many times on purees, it'll become a power struggle to get them to eat. Enter "the airplane game" and all those other "fun" things that many parents do to convince their children to eat, usually with the goal of eating an amount of food pre-determined by the adults, not based on the child's actual hunger or needs. Is it any wonder that there's an obesity epidemic among American adults? We were all force-fed beyond our hunger limit as babies and were taught that the eating experience was not necessarily a pleasant one. Not a lesson I want to teach my son, that's for sure!

5. Purees are not inherently bad, it's the force-feeding of purees that is the problem. Give your kid applesauce and a spoon and let her go to town! She'll get some of it in her mouth, lots of it on the floor, and she'll learn how to use that spoon much earlier than her force-fed peers! Purees of veggies also make yummy "dips" for breadsticks and crackers. Also, putting some puree on a spoon and helping baby get it into her mouth is a great way to help her learn to use a spoon.

Seriously -- the book is worth reading. It's not long, and I'm sure you can get it cheaply somewhere. Once you've seen the science behind BLW and had it carefully explained, it's hard to imagine doing anything else.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:47 AM
 
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I have never read BLW, or called it that. We just gave our kids food when they reached out for it. DS's first food was a stalked of steamed broccoli that he grabbed from my plate and started gnawing on. We tried purees after that thinking, that's what babies need, but within a month or two he threw the spoon across the room and refused to be fed again. It was messy as all get out, but the rule was a always has been:

Bigger than my finger or smaller than a pea.


And stay close, when the bigger pieces get gnawed or gummed down to too small (but not small enough) I take them away or break them up smaller.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post
I still don't understand WHY people choose to do BLW over purees though. From recent experience of giving purees, I can only think it is becuase feeding them purees can cause them to eat more than they are actually ready for? Is this why people choose to do BLW. Even though all the things you guys are saying make total sense logically, I just don't think I would be comfortable with any gagging or anything like that! I don't think I am gonna do that- but I was just curious today as I was so vigilant about even one piece of pear to suck on and then I read all these posts about people doing BLW and was wondering how people don't feel scared during that!
I feel exactly the opposite. Why in the world would anyone ever feed purees? Babies don't like tham as much as real food, they offer almost no value in terms of experimenting with texture, they tend to set babies up for finnicky food issues in childhood, and they are BORING...you never see curried carrot and cauliflower or Braised ginger eggplant or veggie lentil stew, or mushroom fajitas, or pasta al pesto in a puree form, and babies LOVE learning about textures (that's mostly why they bother eating at all), and flavors have so much appeal at this age.

Furthermore, purees if you are doing them on your own require more dirty dishes and equipment (baby food mashers, or cuisinearts, baby food dishes, spoons that get lost mid meal, etc etc etc) and make just as big a mess IME. I'd just assume give DD a slice of pear and let her have at it.

They also don't allow you all to eat together, so baby totally misses out on the social aspect of eating as a family. Either you can eat or they can eat but never both together. With BLW you can. You can SHARE food with baby and it's really a joyful experience rather than a stressful one of hurry up and get the baby to eat so I can eat my meal before it A) gets cold or B) burns on the stove.

Purees are very hard if you want to eat at a restaurant. Some places will do it for you, but then still you're left with the dilemma of who gets to eat first while the baby gets fed and then who gets to bounce the baby while the other one gets to eat a lukewarm or cold meal. BLW weaning means everyone can eat together.

DD tried purees once and the very first meal she grabbed the spoon off me and tried it herself. She now get irrate when anyone tries to feed her. She is fiercly independent and I just don't see the point in trying to have four spoons on the go and getting purees flung at me, the walls, the floors...At least big chunks can be picked up, or shook out from the balcony off the drop cloth. Purees are just so messy.

If you are doing them from the jar BLW is just better because it is more likely to be whole foods, and you know exactly what is in it.

DD has two teeth now, but she started eating on her own before any of her teeth had come in. She managed just fine. So far she has gagged WAY but WAY WAY less than DS ever did.

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Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post
I never thought of it this way. Do you mean that even if I start the baby on chunky food later, that he will still have to go through the gagging thing?
the thing is, he only has one tooth now! So wouldn't it be easier for him to chew and properly swallow when he has more teeth?
Nope. They have very strong jaw muscles.
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
They really handle it pretty well, but you do have to be prepared to go in with a finger swipe if they have trouble with something, though honestly that's forever and regardless of whether you do BLW. I had to swipe my older dd's mouth because she was having trouble with something when she was like 5 or 6. Just pull something out if it seems like she's having trouble. Eventually she'll know to spit stuff out that's too big and give it to you.
That's true.

If your baby has a tooth, and is showing signs of being ready to eat give him a bit of real food. A slice of avocado or a half a banana is a great start. These are mushy enough that even the throat muscles can mash them down and pass them past the wind pipe. babies really do appreciate being included in the ritual of the family. It is a natural part of the instinct for socialization. They want to imitate and experiment. Purees, don't offer many chances for those things.

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Old 11-05-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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Nope. They have very strong jaw muscles.
Its quite amazing if your not familiar to what a gummy baby can handle.. Even my DH who trusts me but had doubts himself comments last night when my no teeth yet just shy of 8 month old gummed down a chunck of chicken some baked potato 2 slices of pear including the skins and some creamed spinach. Gums do a lot of work.

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Old 11-05-2010, 01:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by megapeg View Post
I think that you would benefit a lot from reading the Rapley book, Snapdragon, as (I don't mean this in a snarky way!!) I'm not sure that anyone has fully explained some of the basic reasonings behind BLW, the physiological background, etc.

A few points to consider:

1. Babies under 1 year do NOT need nutrition beyond breastmilk. Some studies even say 2 years. Thus, one of the mantras of BLW is "Solids before 1 are only for fun!" BLW is not intended to be a way to get a whole bunch of food in a baby's tummy; rather, it's to teach them how to eat.

2. Babies should not be started on solids until they demonstrate multiple signs of readiness. The first (and most absolute) is that they reach six months old. Google "virgin gut" and you'll get some great info as to why that is. Feeding children by puree was a trend started after women in the early half of the 20th century (who were told not to bother breastfeeding) were told to start feeding their babies purees at 1 or 2 months old. This is bunk, as we now know, but since an infant at that age can't do ANYTHING for themselves, they obviously can't self-feed solids!

The other signs of readiness are an ability to sit upright (this is very important in preventing choking -- if a kid can't keep themselves upright, they're not ready for solids), a desire to eat, and the emergence of teeth. (The teeth thing is somewhat debated, as we know some kids get their first teeth at 12, 15, 18 months, but it's not a coincidence that most kids get their first teeth around 6 months, just as the virgin gut closes). When they've shown all of these signs, they're ready for big ol' hunks of smushy foods.

Once a baby has developed a "pincer grasp" (google it!), they are ready for smaller chunks of food -- peas, beans, diced veggies, etc.

3. The gag reflex in a six month old baby is triggered at a point very close to the front of their mouth. Watch a six-monther play with a toy. It will go in their mouth, and if it goes too far (which is not very far at all!) they'll make a face and pull it back out. Sometimes they'll even make a gagging sound. This is good! It's how they learn to eat, as has been mentioned lots of times. If you jam a spoon full of puree into their mouth, it's likely that it'll go further back than this reflex trigger point, which is a very real choking danger. And frankly, if a glop of puree goes down the wrong tube, it's MUCH harder to get out via the Heimlich than a simple chunk, which pops right out with a compression.

As they get older, the trigger point for that reflex moves further and further back. Starting older babies who never learned how to gag properly (yes, you need to know how to gag properly!) on chunks are more likely to choke. I would say that parents who choose to feed purees are the ones who need to take the CPR/First Aid classes! (Actually, I think everyone should, but seriously -- force-feeding purees is an outdated and potentially unsafe feeding practice!)

4. After the kid has gasped and gagged and puked a few too many times on purees, it'll become a power struggle to get them to eat. Enter "the airplane game" and all those other "fun" things that many parents do to convince their children to eat, usually with the goal of eating an amount of food pre-determined by the adults, not based on the child's actual hunger or needs. Is it any wonder that there's an obesity epidemic among American adults? We were all force-fed beyond our hunger limit as babies and were taught that the eating experience was not necessarily a pleasant one. Not a lesson I want to teach my son, that's for sure!

5. Purees are not inherently bad, it's the force-feeding of purees that is the problem. Give your kid applesauce and a spoon and let her go to town! She'll get some of it in her mouth, lots of it on the floor, and she'll learn how to use that spoon much earlier than her force-fed peers! Purees of veggies also make yummy "dips" for breadsticks and crackers. Also, putting some puree on a spoon and helping baby get it into her mouth is a great way to help her learn to use a spoon.

Seriously -- the book is worth reading. It's not long, and I'm sure you can get it cheaply somewhere. Once you've seen the science behind BLW and had it carefully explained, it's hard to imagine doing anything else.
This is such a good post!! Thank you for writing it!!

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Old 11-05-2010, 01:44 PM
 
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I just wanted to add that the number of teeth has no bearing on readiness....
Think about it, when you eat, do you use chomp your food with your front teeth??

My DS2 got his first teeth at 5 months, and now at 9 months has eight. However, he doesn't actually really use ANY of his teeth to eat-he chomps and chews with his jaw, which won't have any teeth in it until he is well over a year!
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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The teeth themselves are not used in early teething, but from a well-researched biological/developmental viewpoint, their appearance generally coincides with solids readiness. It's definitely a marker for most babies.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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My point is that the teeth or limited number really won't have any baring on choking, which is what the OP is concerned about. My two year old just got his molars, but he has most definitely been eating solid food for a long long time.
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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My point is that the teeth or limited number really won't have any baring on choking, which is what the OP is concerned about.
Gotcha! Definitely true. Kids don't "chew" until molars emerge. Front teeth - incisors - are carnivore teeth. They're for tearing food. Back teeth - molars - are herbivore teeth. They're for grinding food. Neither are important when eating very soft or very small bites of food.

Remember -- cavemommas did not puree. I'm sure for some things, like meat, they'd partially chew the food and then give it to the baby, but generally, babies ate fruit and other soft stuff until they were past the breastmilk stage.
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