Tips For Safe Eating

Safe food choices

A 9-month-old baby can eat crackers and round toasted oat cereal as well as cooked vegetables (such as halved peas or finely chopped cooked potatoes and carrots) and mashed fruits (such as applesauce or bananas). Not only are these healthy choices for your baby, they’re also easy to transport for picnics, trips to the baby-sitter, or restaurant meals.

Foods to avoid

Some seemingly safe finger foods actually are unsafe because they may pose a choking danger. If your baby has only his front teeth, he’s capable of biting off a chunk of food, but he can’t actually chew it up, which means baby could choke on it. Here’s a list of foods to avoid until your baby has molars and can chew chunkier foods:

  • Raw vegetables, such as carrot and celery sticks
  • Grapes, cherries, and berries
  • Raisins
  • Hot-dog or other meat chunks
  • Any nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, and cashews
  • Popcorn
  • Hard candy, even suckers

Four safe-eating tips

When baby starts to eat finger foods, be sure to follow these safety guidelines:

  1. Be there. Always stay close by when your baby is eating finger foods. Some foods still may cause him difficulty and could pose a choking hazard. It’s a good idea to learn how to intervene appropriately if your baby chokes; ask your doctor to demonstrate what to do. Or, sign up for a first-aid class at your local hospital.
  2. Make sure baby doesn’t bite off more than he can chew. Cut his food into small pieces rather than giving him a large piece.
  3. Size counts. Avoid feeding foods that could be swallowed whole, such as the foods listed above.
  4. No dining in cars. Avoid giving your baby finger food in the car.