Table Foods for Baby - I Am Terrified!

Updated on July 31, 2012
S.K. asks from Chicago, IL
24 answers

I need to start with table foods for my baby. He is still eating just pureed gerber food. His doctor asked me to start with table foods (like small pices of fruit etc) but I am so worried he will choke and I am just delaying this. I am not CPR trained, so if he chokes I dont know what to do! I have this box of gerber puffs but I cant bring myself to give it to him. Maybe this sounds silly to other moms who have done it, but he is my first baby and I really dont know if he can chew on his gums yet or not.He is 9 months but no teeth yet.He is crawling and pulls himself up to stand. What month are babies ready for table foods and can eat without choking? What did you do if your baby choked? Please explain how you introduced such foods to your baby and maybe I will try to do the same! Thanks mamas.....

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answers from Chicago on

It is called the Nubby Nibbler. Also try real small foods that won't cause chocking.. Banana slices, peas, and stage three Gerger that has the chunks. Scrambled eggs and the Gerber teething biscuits. Shredded cheese.

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answers from Milwaukee on

First I would say GET CPR CERTIFIED. Every parent should be. It's not silly at all. I remember before I even had my child, I would totally freak out when I went out to eat with my friends that had children that were just starting to eat solids. I'm a Paramedic & have been trained in CPR for 15yrs. & I still freaked out. I was worried that it was all on M., what if I messed up, couldn't remember what to do for some reason, ughhhhh! It was terrible. Then when I had my child (I only have 1), I was just a little freaked out. You just have to start small, always watch them & take CPR. If you can't afford it, have someone that does know just show you, you don't have to be certified but you should know how. Good luck, you will be fine :)

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answers from Chicago on

Eat a puff yourself. Put it in your mouth and do two things: cover your teeth with your lips and gently mash the puff OR let the puff sit in your mouth for a few seconds. At worst, put the puff in your mouth and try to swallow it whole. The puffs dissolve so quickly that it would be uncomfortable at best and hardly a choking hazard. This may help ease your mind a little bit.

My first son was eating full table foods at 9 months with 4 teeth. My second son would get so angry at the dinner table and started grabbing our plates so we started throwing him little bits of our food - at 6 months with only two teeth!

Just make sure it is soft and mushy and it'll be just fine.

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answers from Chicago on

My son did not have any teeth until he was 10 months old, so I know how you feel. The truth is, they don't need teeth in order to chew the food, they use their tongues and gums - which are quite effective by the way! The gerber puffs that you have dissolve almost instantly, they do not need to be chewed (try one yourself, you'll see). Monitor how many he gets at one time so he doesn't stuff his mouth full of them and he'll be fine. That goes with any food. Make sure you cut up the foods you give him into tiny pieces so they won't get lodged in his windpipe, about the size of the tip of your pinkie or smaller. Some foods to try would be: banana, cooked diced apple, mandarin oranges, pinto beans, avocado, soft cheeses (I dice up string cheese and my son loves it), well cooked pasta, potato... you get the idea. Finger foods and self feeding is important for him to develop his pincher grasp and coordination. He will be fine as long as you are watching him and making sure the food is the appropriate size and texture. Feed him in a high chair so you can make sure he is sitting upright and still to minimize any risks of choking. If he starts to gag a little, just pat him on the back gently. If he's truly choking (not coughing or making any sounds), you'll need to act quickly. It's not a bad idea to take a class on infant/child first aid so that you can feel better prepared for potential emergency situations. Here is a link I found that might help as well...

Hope this helps!

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answers from Cleveland on

I would start with the puffs. They dissolve when they are wet. I tried giving them to my son around 9 months but he would gag on them so he didn't really start eating those and other table food until around 10-11 months. He just had a hard time with that for a while, but he never actually choked. He would gag on the stage 3 gerber foods too. I understand why you are worried, you should take a CPR class or if that isn't possible for you they have videos online you can watch to give you at least some idea of what to do if he does start to choke. Just don't give him too much, start slowly with the puffs, cheerios, small bits of banana and then work your way up to other things.



answers from San Diego on

hehe, been there done that. U sound like M..I took M. forever to start as well. U can give him a banana. in small pieces, let him pick it up with his fingers and he'll feed himself. Give him pasta, u can cut it up in small pieces and feed him with a spoon. U can give him egg in the morning again, in small pieces and he can pick it up himself. Oatmeals is good too. Chicken. I was like you and i started off with small pieces and just watching him very closely


answers from Santa Fe on

Both my kids started on table foods around 6 months. Just give him small pieces of soft foods to start out. Avocados, canned pears, soft cheese or pasta. Let him get a feel for this! You can do it!! And to help you feel more confident sign up for a baby CPR class today!



answers from San Francisco on

Small bites the can mush with their mouth. I would say he is ready now. my son had no teeth at all until 13 months and he was fine.

The need to learn, otherwise it can cause severe eating problems down the road.

Go take a class, and get yourself certified. You have a legitimate concern that you can control!



answers from Phoenix on

I was the same way! and still am even though he is 30 months!
try the puffs yourself, they dissolve so quickly he never had trouble with them. They also have good gag reflexes and protect their airway better than we think.

Finding a class through YMCA or something will help you be more confident that you can handle it if it did happen.



answers from Kansas City on

I do understand your concerns, but you gotta just dive in! My daughter started refusing the spoon at 8 months so I had to get creative! She was eating all table foods at that point b/c she only wanted to feed herself. I did cut stuff to a crazy small size! LOL! Teeth are not a requirement to chew or eat. They will mash it with their gums, they are very strong, and do the best they can. Start out with the puffs and cheerios. The puffs, like Red said, pretty much dissolve instantly. She will probably love them! Most babies have a good gag reflex and will expell it on their own if they start to choke. Do only cooked veggies, soft fruits, and small pieces to start. Two fo the main chocking hazards are grapes and hotdogs...just make sure to quarter them...I think I even cut my grapes into what works for's okay to make it small, just make sure your child can pick it up! Also stay away from nuts. I think once you just start doing it you're going to realize how amazing it is and how much easier your life could become!!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I was over-the-top choke-a-phobic too! Just start with tiny things--Cheerios, puffs, small noodles. You're going to be amazed at what they can do with their gums. What helped M. was to have a choking first aid chart hanging on my fridge. JUST in case. Keep everything smaller than a single dice (die). I think they sell a tube that allows you to measure the pieces. As he keeps eating, you will get more confident. Just nothing hard, sticky or bulky. He'll do fine.
Probably whatever you have on your plate can be modified for him as long as it's tiny pieces.



answers from Fort Wayne on

At 9 months your baby can gum anything you can eat. Ok, well not anything, but most stuff. Cut the pieces itty bitty. Maybe 1/2 the size of the tip of your pinky. Start with soft mushy stuff like fruit (bananas, canned peaches, canned pears, peeled grapes cut in half). You'll notice the he'll make the chewing motions, even though he doesn't have teeth. We stayed away from things like bread just because the bread can get all balled up and make it hard to chew. My daughters both ate bread crust at that age though. Stay away from anything with skin, unless you peel it first.
If you're that petrified, contact the Red Cross and see if they offer (and I'm totally going to butcher this spelling) Hymlich Maneuver classes. They should offer a basic class for a very minimal charge.
My husband took a class (through his work). The #1 thing he told M. was to NEVER stick your hand in the baby's mouth or throat. It can push the obstruction down further. You lay them on your lap, face down, and pound them on the back. I think you'll find that his gag reflex will do a lot of the work for you. My daughter is 18 months and, I swear, she chokes on stuff all the time. Mostly things just get sort of caught in her throat and she gags it back up. She can power down popcorn like it's nobody's business, but you give her a small piece of cracker and she chokes on it. :)
Just take this one step at at time! Puffs will dissolve, so start with those. Then go to fruit and work your way from there :)


answers from Rochester on

First of all, I made that mistake with my first...she had no teeth (not until a year!) so I was SOOO afraid she was going to choke, that I didn't give her ANY table food besides Gerbers puffs...and I ended up with a picky eater (she's better now, at six.)

So, baby number two, I was determined not to make the same mistake. She is nine months right now, and what she can handle (so far) are ...gerber's puffs, cheerios, goldfish crackers (the graham kind...she's allergic to dairy), baby mum mums (that's the brand name...they are rice rusks), toast, carrots, green beans, sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, tuna...for all of those last things, I cut them into about pea size bites and just scatter them on her tray. So far, she hasn't choked on anything!

I am kind've in the same boat, except that now mine is REFUSING baby food and only wants table food she can feed herself. Because of her dairy allergy, I am struggling to come up with good table foods for her besides soft cooked veggies and bread, basically.

Don't be afraid to try it (my nine month old also has NO teeth, and she handles those things fine) but if he's not used to it, take it slow at first. ONly offer two or three pieces at a time so he can't stuff a fistful in his mouth.

Definitely learn CPR, but just as a quick reminded, if your baby is choking and is still breathing (you can tell because they will be coughing and making noise) let them be, because they are trying to clear their airway on their own. If this is not successful, lay them on their tummy with their head slightly down (on your lap) and then begin "baby heimlich"...if you can't get certified, at least get the info from the Red Cross and study up on it.



answers from Boise on

My daughter is 9 months old, and my second, but still have nerves about this. We started with Mum-mums. These are rice crackers that really turn to mush, even more so than puffs. She was able to test out the biting with her two teeth. Sometimes she will do a little cough when a piece gets to her throat when she didn't chew it so well, but no choking, just coughing as she is reaching for more. We just did the puffs this weekend for the first time, and again, some coughing, but if they only do one at a time, there isn't too much chance of choking. My next plan is to cut up some apple cubes (small ones, about the size of puffs) and steam them. That way they are really mushy, but "solid". I was also thinking of doing this with some bananas too. I make my own baby food and have been pureeing it less to get some lumps in there. She seems okay for awhile, and then may want it more mashed, so it is two steps forward, one back.



answers from St. Cloud on

Our 2nd child didn't even get BABY food till 9 months! He was strictly breastfed till then. Even after that, there were days when he would only breast feed.

Just give him small amounts of things that YOU feel comfortable with! (I liked to start kids off with buttered lightly toasted toast. TINY TINY pieces. It's really soft and still yummy.)

IF he would start choking, tip him practically upside down! WORKS LIKE A CHARM EVERY TIME! (I did daycare for 5 years so I had to use this multiple times.) If YOU are ever choking, just tip yourself forward as far as you can and it will come right out of your throat as well!

PS> Try the puffs yourself. They just disintegrate in your mouth!



answers from Los Angeles on

My Dr recommend a year old for table foods. Soft table foods wont hurt him though.



answers from Phoenix on

I have a 9 month old too and I waited til about a month ago to introduce table foods. I was exactly like you, I didn't want him to choke and didn't understand how a gummy baby could eat anything else but pureed baby food. I started giving him those baby puffs that disolve quickly and he LOVED them! We did have a few scares the first couple of times he ate them... he would gag a little and I'm a crazy mom so I freaked out each time. Luckily my hubby is more relaxed and encouraged M. to keep trying. After he was use to them (which was after maybe the 3rd time), he was completely fine. He would try to eat a few at once but then he learned that if he did that, he would gag and that eventually stopped. Then we introduced him to tiny pieces of bananas and gradually made the sizes a little larger. That went really well and he loves, and I mean loves to feed himself! After the first couple of times you give table food to your little one, you will feel so much more comfortable with other types of food. As long as they are tiny peices, he will be just fine. (always under supervision, of course). Hope this helps!


answers from Lynchburg on

Dear SK-

If you are concerned (and frankly I think it is a great idea for any parent) the red cross...or the YMCA...or your local community center...and check out their 'baby sitter certification' class...I am sure they cover 'treat for choking' well as some other useful things.

Small bits of soft 'melty' foods would be fine I think...A few 'puffs' or cheerios on tray of high chair...will sippy cup of water perhaps...he will likely just be making a slimey harmless mess for a while!

But do think on a will help YOU feel more comfortable I'm sure.

Take Care


answers from Detroit on

I remember being this nervous as a first time momma! Take a deep breath and know that you (and he) will be ok and learning together. Try some things like instant (or homemade) mash potatoes, oatmeal, cream of wheat, applesauce. Once he gets the hang of these things, try some foods with a little more texture---diced up peaches, cheerios. I think that the rule is that pieces should be no bigger than the tip of your childs pinky finger to prevent choking. I know it can make you nervous when they have no teeth, but those gums are REALLY strong, much stronger than we think they are.

Also, check babies r us. They sell a mesh hand held thing that you put different foods in and then your lil guy can gum it away until he's satisfied without any fear of him choking.

Also, loved the suggestion about taking a baby cpr never hurts to be well prepared.



answers from Chattanooga on

I am the same... I started out giving my DD the gerber puffs when she was 7 months old, because they just dissolve and turn to mush when they get wet. So when I started her on them, I had a little thing of water so if she started to choke, she could have a drink to dissolve what was left of her puff. She never did choke on them... I did notice that she has an amazing gag reflex though. if something gets too far back without being chewed enough, she just gags it straight back up. I am still wary of giving her things that don't just dissolve, but she is getting better and better. She eats toast, cheerios, puffs, and pretty much little bits of anything I am eating. (unless it's really unhealthy...) I usually make the pieces about the size of my pinky finger nail. She only has her 2 bottom teeth, and she crunches right through stuff! lol. My rule of thumb of what to feed her texture wise is to put it in my own mouth, let it sit for a second or two, then try to mash it behind my teeth with my tongue. I figure if I can do that, she can handle it with her gums. :) (she is 9 months old now, BTW)



answers from Albuquerque on

First off--I'd suggest taking a CPR class (you can find one that includes instructions for kids/babies). They should be pretty cheap (or free). I've gotten CPR & First Aid certified every 2 years since I was 16--it helps M. "keep my cool" in an otherwise scary situation.

You've gotten good advice from the other mamas. Just go for it! We started giving my girl some table foods (soft fruits, pasta, etc) when she was about 6-7 months old and she never had a problem. The only time she *almost* choked was when we first gave her hot dogs with macaroni & cheese (her favorite food)! She was so excited by the taste that she was just swallowing it (not even trying to chew)--I just picked her up from her high chair, held her with her head lower than body, and patted her back (pretty hard). She coughed up the hotdog no problem. She sat right back in her chair and kept eating like a maniac--it didn't even faze her!

It's hard with our kids, we want to do everything we can to protect them, but we won't always be able to do that. I say that it's better to introduce them to these potential "dangers" when we're in a controlled environment and are focused and prepared. Just imagine the first time a family member hands him a cracker or something! Wouldn't you prefer that he know what to do with it (put it in mouth, bite, and chew) than not (shove in mouth, swallow, choke)? If it makes you too nervous, take him to a friend or family member's house (someone who has kids) and ask for their help (2 sets of eyes are better than 1).

Besides, it's so much fun sharing all the fun and yummy tastes and textures to food! Good luck!



answers from Tampa on

My 10 mth olds still on purée. I'm scared too. I brake up the puffs lol. And that's the hardest thing he gets.



answers from New York on

I chuckled when I read this. Not because it is a silly post, but because this is exactly how I felt too. I am smiling because it is a happy memory.

My friend just called M. two days ago asking the same exact thing. She was all freaked out and only letting her twin boys eat rice cereal. She too had a bunch of Gerber Puffs that she was scared to give them. They dissolve before they even reach their throats. Go ahead and give them a couple. Start small.

I remember being so scared to give my EBF guy any food. I thought it would ruin him or he would choke or goodness knows what. I remember us recording the first time he ate rice cereal. When I replay that video my husband and I crack up because we just sound so funny and nervous.

Good times.

I agree with lots of the other mom's. Just go for it. Buy those vegetables. Boil that water. Start the pureeing frenzy. It's lots of fun.

Check out for menu ideas and time lines for your guy. They also have great recipes for pureeing.

Don't get to caught up in all the "make your own baby food" products they are selling. All you need is the food, boiling water, and a hand blender. Many of my friends bought the pureeing machine the site was selling and it was such a waste as they already had hand blenders at home. Use a silicon ice cube tray to freeze your purees and then store them in the freezer in a ziploc. Each cube is about an ounce.

We also used those mesh feeding thingys that you could put pieces of fruit in. They were great. Just don't use bananas in them. They will be ruined. The mesh thingys, not the bananas. 8) Frozen apple pieces and frozen pears and peaches were great. All they can do is suck and gnaw. Your son won't get any big pieces. There are a pain to clean though, but a very worthwhile purchase. Great when teething.

A bowl of bananas cut into pieces. A bowl of steamed sweet potatoes cubed. Avocado chunks. Tofu cubed. All soft foods. Make small cubes.

Have fun!!! And make sure to record the moment. It is worth looking back on.

Oh....and by the way....although I did introduce pureed foods to my son at about seven months I continued to breast feed until he was about two and a half so it doesn't mean you have to stop yet.




answers from Oklahoma City on

Nine months is really young for table foods in my opinion. I would stay with the Gerber Puree for another month then go to the fruits and stuff in the stage 3. They don't have such big chunks in them. The power of the jaw in enourmous. Even without teeth he can eat food. Those gerber puffs melt in the mouth and there's not much chance of choking.

Take it slow. Don't go so quick. His formula/breast milk is all the nutrition he really needs at this point and he will be fine waiting a month or so for chunky foods.

Call your local fire department about CPR classes, they might even be free.

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