I really worried about this too. My DS (now 9 mo) was/is like yours - clamps his mouth shut if you try to spoon feed him, but is happy to grab the spoon from you and feed himself. So we also ended up going the BLW route too. And he did gag and vomit (quite a bit to start with) and it was scary. It just seemed so strange to me - here was this baby who'd only ever had milk all his life - how on earth would he know what to do with proper solid food?
But the thing is, he did eventually get the hang of it and is now really good at taking in the things he can eat and spitting out the bits he can't (eg skin from a pear, stringy things, mushed up toasted).
Things that he got on well with (that were probably suggested on this forum) that you could try are: whole orange, cut in to segments, skin still on (they give it a good suck/gum and spit out the skin) banana (caused gagging the first few times, but this stopped after a while) avocado roast veggies soft brocolli florets ripe pear/nectarine/plum (with skin on - makes it easier to pick up. Again, the skin makes them gag to start with, but they soon learn how to manipulate it round the mouth and spit it out) Toast - this caused gagging for quite a while, but we still offered it since it seemed like good eating practice.
As ExBrightonBell says, it is really amazing to watch them learning how to manipulate solid food, both with their hands and mouths. And you quite quickly will chill out about it, once you see that no harm comes from gagging.
Well, things got swallowed a bit from day one, but only by accident! He really got going around 7 to 8 months when his pincer grip got better and his general hand eye skills improved. He could then pick up the bits he wanted and swallow them successfully. He would sit picking individual peas up and swallowing them for ages!
Gagging really cut down to minimum at about 9months, and now hardly ever. Only when there is something stringy that is hard to chew without molars! He's learnt to use his front teeth to take little bites of things now, and also to tear up food into smaller bits with his fingers.
Perhaps it might be worth getting/borrowing the Gill Rapley book about BLW and then lending it to your Dad. It might assuage his worries. Also it's worth pointing out to him that babies can choke on purée just as easily as on finger food.
It's been amazing to watch my ds learn how to eat through BLW, and he has not come near to choking. Plenty of gagging at the beginning, but hardly ever now at 11 months.
Thanks for the suggestions Bell I'll definitely be trying some of those out.
I have thought about doing a first aid course but I live in the arse end if nowhere and tend to only go into town every few weeks because of the cost of petrol. I've read online what to do if choking but I think you really need hands on training.
I think it also didn't help that my dad was freaking out a bit when he was here, saying he was likely to choke. He is a pretty sensible man, not likely to see risks when they aren't there. He was particularly worried about the rice cakes which I had thought were one of the safer options which I think is why I'm now just second guessing myself.
I would agree with pinkpepper - please don't fish things out of his mouth as it risks pushing things further in and increases the choking risk.
In terms of what happens if a piece breaks off in his mouth, in all likelihood he will move it around and it will fall out. Or it will cause him to gag (which is normal and not a reason to panic), and it will cough up and come out. A rice cake will disintegrate nicely if it breaks off and become mushy very quickly!
It might help your confidence if you stick with slightly softer foods than cucumber to begin with. I found well roasted or steamed veg was a good starting point. Things like sweet potato, broccoli, carrot, courgette, etc, cut into batons were good. Pancakes for breakfast cut into strips, or quick veg fritters for lunch - finely grate a carrot, mix with self raising flour until it forms a rough shape. Shape into little patties and fry until browned. Also works with grated courgette
I read all about it before hand and it made so much sense that gagging is the safety mechanism to prevent him from choking. In practise I'm just petrified by what will happen if he gets a too big piece in his mouth.
I haven't read the baby lead weaning book but I have Weaning Made Easy which has a chapter on BLW. It seems to just say don't worry too much about choking, he should be fine. But what if he's not fine?
I started weaning my DS a couple of weeks ago when he was 6 months. He doesn't open his mouth if I try and feed him but will feed himself if I load the spoon for him.
I was keen to try BLW but can't seem to stop from worrying and I don't want him to pick up on my stress. He likes to gnaw on sticks of cucumber and will kind of create a groove where he's been gumming it (no teeth yet!) but I have to break it off because I don't want it to break off and choke him. Anytime he gets a piece of something break off in his mouth a just pull it out, but then how is he supposed to learn to chew? I gave him half a rice cake today and he really liked it but ended up having to take it off him because he was sticking it so far into his mouth and I didn't want the whole chunk to break off. He cried and looked at me like I was the worst mummy in the world for taking it away from him so this clearly isn't working for us?
Any advice? Just chill out? Foods that will just mush up in his mouth (but somehow magically not in his hand)?