Advice on teaching your baby to self-feed

One of the most exciting ‘baby milestones’ is starting your little one on solids. Introducing them to a world of food that is full of exciting tastes and flavours is just too much fun.

Soon after solids, your babs will start to hold his own spoon and then he’ll be able to feed himself – in what feels like the blink of an eye.  The process is organic to a degree but to get that spoon in his mouth, babs will also need a little encouragement. Here’s some advice on teaching your baby to self-feed.

The first thing that you need to do when teaching your baby to self-feed is be prepared for mess (which will get less as your baby’s coordination improves). As much as your baby needs to be ready, so too do you. It’s all about attitude mums and dads.

The next step on the road to self-feeding is to let your babs play with a spoon while he eats – even if all he’s doing is grasping it. Babies learn a great deal by watching what you do; this accompanies with their natural tendency to explore will lead said spoon into the bowl soon enough.

My husband is the one who basically taught both my girls to feed themselves. Once both babies were holding a spoon happily and confidently, he’d scoop some food onto the spoon and place it in front of them (the food bit facing towards them rather than away from them) and with very little trial and error both girls were picking up the spoons and getting first some and then all the food into their mouths.

Next came scooping the food from the bowl. It’s often useful to get one of those sticky bowls that attach to the table, so that your babs has more control of what’s going on (and if you prefer less mess)  but they’re not a requirement or anything.

Your babs will probably know what to do with the spoon, the food and the bowl because he has watched you doing it but you could show him again anyway – just to get the point across, and then let him try.

Mastering scooping food and getting it into the mouth can take a while but watching your baby develop into a self-feeding toddler is totally amazing.

If you’re worried that your baby may not get enough to eat because more food is going on the floor than in his mouth; you could use two spoons. Let your baby feed himself with one and you feed him with the other. This way, you can ensure that your babs will eat enough.

Things to keep in mind are: your baby might become frustrated with all the trying – in this case, don’t get mad with him, keep encouraging him and if it’s all getting too much for the little soul it’s okay to try things another day – patience is key to teaching your baby to self-feed successfully.

And there is no prescribed age for self-feeding – babies progress at different paces and if you let your baby experiment with utensils you’ll soon see when he is ready to start self-feeding (he might even do it without your help at all!).

Have fun and enjoy watching your baby learn!

Do you have any great tips for encouraging self-feeding?