First foods … it’s an exciting pairing of words.   The first time you feed your infant something other than breast milk or formula there is a lot of preparation that you’ve done beforehand.Like most parents you’ve researched what foods to start with.  Maybe you’ve checked with your pediatrician or physician about food allergies or what they recommend.  You’ve gone shopping for the all important bowls and baby spoons to start feeding those first foods.  But are you prepared if it doesn’t go well?

Not all infants are overjoyed or easily swallow their first solid foods.  Most physicians recommend a very watered down rice or other cereal to start with.  After all, your baby has been on a liquid only diet up to this point.  It is natural for him or her to spit it up, gag, or even choke on those first spoonfuls.

Before starting solids you might want to review what to do if your infant begins to choke.  The steps on what to do are basic, but in a moment of panic would you know what to do?

Disclaimer:  These instructions do not replace taking an actual hands-on CPR course.

How will I know if my infant is choking:
• Your child will not be able to breathe.
• Has high pitched breathing or wheezing sounds.
• His or her skin color may be very flushed due to straining to breathe or may be bluish in color.
• Your child will not be able to scream or cry.

What to do if your infant is choking:
• Support baby’s head and neck with your hand and lay baby face down across your lap.
• Give 5 forceful back slaps between baby’s shoulders
• Support baby’s head and neck and place baby face up on your lap
• Give 5 chest thrusts in the center of the chest
• Keep switching between back slaps and chest thrust until baby spits up the object or becomes unresponsive.
• If baby becomes unresponsive start CPR and call 911

You can be prepared for an emergency by taking a CPR course.  Most hospitals and fire departments offer courses.  Ask at your doctor’s office and they may be able to refer you to an instructor.

Gail Klanchesser is a CPR & First Aid instructor and the owner of Coastal CPR & First Aid, LLC located on the NH Seacoast.  She is a mom of 4 and an active community volunteer.  She writes on CPR, First Aid and Safety topics as well as her random life with kids.  You can find out about Gail’s courses; visit her online store of safety products or find links to all the interesting places she hangs out on her website www.coastalcpr.com