The New Technology: Mesh Feeders

Mesh feeders are a relatively new piece of baby paraphernalia. Most babies are ready to feed themselves small, soft finger foods that melt in the mouth around 7 to 9 months of age. Finger-feeding is a developmental step that depends on (and develops) the fine pincer grasp—which is picking up things between thumb and fingers. Babies should sit in their high chair and be supervised while finger-feeding. Offer small bits of soft foods in small amounts—babies like to chipmunk and put piece after piece in their mouth, sometimes without swallowing in between.

Choking is a very real risk for babies and small children, which is why foods need to be soft and small—no bigger than the diameter of baby’s pinky—and why they should sit and eat under direct supervision. Offer small pieces of ripe banana, peach, healthy dry cereal, steamed vegetables, soft cheese, and cooked pasta. Commercial self-feeding foods are available at a premium. The popular baby “puffs” work out to $24/pound.

Enter the mesh feeder, marketed to reduce the risk of choking.

Before buying and using this product consider:

  • cost
  • materials (most have plastic)
  • ease of cleaning
  • length of use—a few weeks to months

While filling a mesh feeder with frozen banana may be a step above the frozen wash cloth for teething, it replaces developmental finger-feeding and meals. It also makes it tempting to feed your baby on the go, which increases the risk of choking and may lead to eating as soothing and a way to pass the time.

Everyone loves to feed a baby. Sit and eat with yours. They grow up so fast.

There is more information on solid foods and babies here.

About Lisa M. Asta, MD

Lisa M. Asta, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for which she is also a Media Representative (she has been interviewed for “Kids Health” on Health Radio, and quoted in Parenting Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times, among other publications). She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco and past pediatric chair at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Asta is also a writer whose fiction has appeared in Inkwell, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill, and Zeniada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hippocrates, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New Physician Magazine. She is an occasional contributor to KQED public radio’s Perspectives series, and has written articles for Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Parents’ Press, and Parents Express, as well as online at WebMD.com, Rx.com, and MyLifePath.com. She wrote a chapter in The Field Guide to the Normal Newborn, ed. Gary Emmet, M.D. BabyCenter.com currently has two how-to videos for parents in production which feature Dr. Asta. For more on Dr. Asta’s writing, visit www.LMAsta.com
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