Teaching your child to self feed
As they near their first birthdays, infants begin to show an interest in feeding themselves. Most often parents would prefer to be the ones doing the feeding rather than let baby take over, as a mess is surely in store, but let him try. Just make sure you have plenty of bibs and wet wipes on hand.
Baby may become frustrated at times, but remain calm. You can teach by showing baby how you do it or by guiding his hands in yours. When baby does something well, be sure you reward him with affection and a big smile. A fork can be more difficult than a spoon, and you may need to spear the food for him for the first few weeks.
Things you’ll need:
- Utensils (most often spoons, though forks with blunt spears will come in handy as well)
- High chair with tray
- Wipes, towels, washcloths
- Mess mats
Other optional supplies include plastic dishes, high-chair covers, gentle soap, hand sanitizer, spit-up cloths, sippy cups and a change of clothes for those truly messy days.
Feeding baby can be a messy experience, so make sure you have all the tools you need, whether at home or on the go. Tuck a few spit-up cloths into your diaper bag along with a change of clothes; you never know quite how messy/dirty things can get.
Options for new eaters
Pureeing and Mashing
This is the easiest way to make baby food. Cook the food, let it cool, place in blender, puree. You can try this with veggies from carrots to squash, even fruits like peaches. And don’t be afraid to blend more than one thing at a time; apples and sweet potatoes are a great combo. Feel free to mix in breast milk, formula or water as well.
Peas are one of baby’s favorites; just make sure you puree the skins down all the way. You’ll want to start by scraping out fresh peas from the pod. Steam them and reserve steaming water. Puree and add reserved water to thin.
As baby gets older you may want to try adding small bits of butter to the pea mixture and dicing in some very fine bits of protein, but not until 8 months at least.
For slightly older babies try some of these: