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Training to self-feed

  1. #1
    Swoon's Avatar
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    Training to self-feed

    Can anyone share their experience or advice about the best time and how to train a baby to eat on their own?

    We still spoon-feed our 12 month old son all the time and was thinking that he should start to try it for himself but don't know the best way to go about it. I tried by holding his hand and then guiding the spoon. But many times he gets "angry" when we try to "forcefully" direct his movements, so he wrestles with the spoon and the food ends up thrown on the floor.

    I'm worried if I keep on spoon-feeding him, he's going to get so lazy that he'll never want to do it for himself!

    In general, when we feed him, he eats very well and has never had any problems, consuming everything we've cooked up for him. He just doesn't want to eat on his own.

  2. #2
    momo is offline Registered User
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    I do not think you should worry about a schedule on feeding. I believe when the child is ready and wants to he will feed himself. After all I have never seen a twelve year old who has to be fed. Our 2.5 yr old is still not interested in feeding himself though he is capable of doing so.

  3. #3
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    self feed

    The best way for a child to learn something is to show him/her how to do it - over and over again...

    We always make it a point to have hear meals along with the adults, so our daughter (now 20months old) sees how it is done (holding the spoon and fork, scooping food from plate and then putting the morsel into ones mouth). And its always messy! Food gets thrown all over her high chair and to the floor. But she tries very hard to place food onto her spoon be herself. We supplement her own effort by spoonfeeding. But she love doing things herself.

    My wife bought a secure plastic bowl (with suction) so that my daughter can scoop food from it without pushing the plate out of her high chair.

    At first, we spoonfeed her, but I guess its natural for kids at a certain age to mimick adult behavior - at least that what we observed. Just remember to have him eat his meals at the same time as yours.

    Happy eating!

  4. #4
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    What we did (so many years ago...)

    My kids are now 6 and 8.

    We would spoon feed them the messy stuff (e.g. congee) and would let them self-feed the less messy stuff (cheerios, bits of dry toast cut up small, bits of cheese cut up small, etc.).

    Sometimes we would give them the dry "finger food" to eat while we also spoon fed them.

    Why don't you try that - feed your baby the wet stuff and let him practice w/ the drier stuff.

    Another thing I would do was also give them their own spoon and a little tiny dab of the congee on their tray. They could play and experiment w/ trying to get the congee on the spoon and into their mouth while I was spoon feeding, and I didn't have to worry about the baby/toddler DUMPING the food bowl on the floor.

    Anyone w/ tips on instilling table manners in school age barbarians, other than through constant nagging and example?

  5. #5
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    Hi loupou

    My husband is a real stickler for table manners, and I always get an earful from mum about my 6.5 yr old daughter's lack of good eating manners. So I've started a star chart for her. To get a star she has to use her knife and fork properly and stay at the table until she has finished her dinner.

    I've tried yelling and punishments (for most things) but somehow the star charts and their rewards seem to work for my one much better

  6. #6
    saundra is offline Registered User
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    My children are 3 and 5 now and can feed themselves well. My 3 year old is even managing a knife and fork (wants to do everything her brother does). We started letting them feed themselves from a very early age. Initially with cheerios, then bite sized pieces of sandwiches, fruit, etc by hand. Even though it was very messy in the beginning, they both wanted to spoon feed themselves. Luckily, they both graduated from mush to chunks before 10 months so they started using a plastic fork to skewer the food - a lot easier than a spoon!

    It does get very tiresome as there will be many times they lose interest and won't eat much. We basically let them start by themselves while we were eating and when we had finished, we then helped them along. It seemed to work. They had time to work on their skills, feel independent, watch how we managed it all, and then when it all got too much, still had enough to eat as we feed them whatever was left.

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    Eating well

    A couple of months ago I was very frustrated over the fact my daughter was bringing home her lunch from school uneaten. She'd then want to eat bread all evening, complaining of hunger.

    In my desperation to get her to eat lunch I was sending in fairy bread instead of sandwiches every day, plus a tim tam!

    The school nurse told me not to worry (ha!) and gave me an excellent booklet on encouraging kids to eat well.

    The principles are very simple, basically, the parent decides:

    a) what the child will eat (by making your own selection of items, not letting the kid ask for and get chicken nuggets every night)
    b) where the child will eat (at the table, high chair etc)
    c) when they will eat (set times for meals and snacks)

    the child then decides:

    a) if they will eat
    b) how much they will eat

    I've tried this with great success. I figure that if I am only choosing to fill her lunch box or dinner plate with good options, then it doesn't matter if she only picks at it. Much better than scoffing down packets of chips and choc chip biscuits.

    Now she gets a fruit, a vegie (usually tomato or cucumber), cheese and half a sandwich for lunch

    We still offer biscuits or a dessert each day, I just make sure it's after the other stuff is eaten.

    If anyone has some other food suggestions for lunch and dinner that have worked for them, I'd love to hear.

  8. #8
    Julie Leong is offline Registered User
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    Smile

    My son(17 months) 's a real greedy guts, but is quite happy for us to feed him each meal. I just can't bear a mess so we're going to keep feeding him till he won't eat from our spoon!!

    I'd say no worries.
    Julie

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