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As your child gets more teeth, it may be tempting to let him take bites from a larger piece of food. But it's best to continue cutting your child's food into pieces small enough for him to eat safely until around age 4.
"Preventing choking is much more important than the inconvenience of having to cut your child's food," says Claudia Gonzalez, a registered dietitian in Miami.
You can give your baby bites of very soft foods – such as mashed sweet potatoes or yogurt – as early as 6 to 9 months. These foods don't present much of a choking hazard because they dissolve quickly in the saliva your baby produces when she gums them.
And once your baby starts feeding himself, cut finger foods into pieces small enough for him to eat safely to prevent choking.
Note that some parents offer their children large, soft pieces of food and let them feed themselves at 6 months. For guidelines on how to do this safely, read our article on baby-led weaning.