I am still new to the Baby-Led Weaning approach of introducing solid foods at 6 months without pureeing anything (our baby is 6mo). One major problem I am having is with the in-laws and at our weekly church suppers. People have yanked food away from our 6 month old baby and said "That's Dangerous!!!" (green bean, banana) When they see him gag it only proves in their minds that this is dangerous! It's tempting to not feed him while we are with other people, or to spoon feed him when we are visiting relatives. I love BLW though, and I feel like if I just knew the right thing to say to put their minds at ease, that they would leave us alone and be amazed. The problem is our baby is still getting the hang of it so he's not so amazing right now. I have to admit it is a little scary to see him take a huge bite and gag on it. I'm really just trying to trust his instincts and ignore my own anxiety. I don't know what to do with other people's! Any advice?
Honestly, I'd only feed him stuff I felt like he could handle when around other people... or not at all until he gets the hang of it better. It's not worth the stress to you AND family/friends. I guess it would be different if I was staying with family - at which point I'd explain the entire concept...
At 6 months I never have offered food even daily so it was never a big deal to just not offer food while out.
My LO couldn't handle that kind of food at 6 months. He was a year before he did solids with enough consistency for it to really count as calories.
I am pretty conflict-avoidant, so I likely would avoid serving him anything that I might be criticized for. Funny how everyone thinks they know better than the mama what the child needs!
One time I was camping with my parents and my DS who was 7.5 months old at the time and only about 3 wks into BLW was sitting in his chair eating a peach when he started gagging. My mother flew across the campsite screaming "OMG Scarlett He's choking" I was sitting right with him watching him. I had to say pretty firmly "Mom, he is fine, he is gagging not choking. Do you honestly think I would sit here and watch my baby choke without doing anything?" She was very upset and almost in tears. She just wasn't used to watching a baby figure out this whole eating thing at this age. After that I would warn anyone around that DS was ok and that he may gag on his food but that is not choking and if he or anyone else chokes I promise I will help them" then I smile and hand DS some food.
Oh wow, I didn't know about this until reading this. When ds#2 was about 6 mo we were working at a CSA farm, and the only things around to keep him busy playing were veggies (and of course they ended up in his mouth), so I experienced a LOT of gagging then. It was def scary for everyone around (and me), but I never thought it was a beneficial experience til now. Awesome! I'm so excited to not buy baby food. OP, I would avoid or explain, depending on the person.
My MIL was notorious for sticking her finger in the baby's mouth and fishing out the food dd was happily eating! Gross...
We just loaned her our BLW book to read and she stopped worrying and started bragging about how cool it was.
My mom was the worst. She was super stressed whenever DS ate around her and almost cried whenever he gagged. In retrospect, maybe I just shouldn't have had him eat at family dinners. At the same time, I don't allow my family or friend's lack of knowledge dictate my parenting choices (otherwise we wouldn't have co-slept, would have used disposable diapers, would have done CIO and wouldn't be AP, lol). This despite the fact that I did try to educate her.
For your situation, I would either not feed him at church suppers until he gets the hang of things, or I would prepare a response. Gagging is not choking. A baby's gag reflex is very far forward in their mouth, which actually makes it less likely that they will choke. In the long run, your DC has LESS chance of choking because he's learning how to handle solids while his gag reflex is further forward and isn't going to be used to just slurping down purees without chewing.
My DS has started actually choking twice, and I can tell you it's been in the last 2 months when he hasn't been paying attention to chewing his food properly (he's 27 mos), never while we did BLW (although he did gag to the point of puking a couple times, which was frightening). Good luck!