Week by Week

Baby Steps to Self-feeding

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

Sometimes, you may wonder “How to encourage my kid to feed herself?”. You are not the only one fed up with spoon–feeding. Your baby is probably, too. Self – feeding seems like a big deal for tired parents. In this article, we will give you some simple tips to help you and your baby make the transition from spoons to fingers.

When is the right time for your baby to self–feed?

Generally, 7 to 8 months old is the suitable time to teach your kid self – feeding. In that time, your baby can sit up solidly by themselves and has started to practice the pincer grasp process. To make a coordinated pinch, your baby will use their thumb and fingers together. You could watch for other signs to make sure that your baby is ready for solid foods, such as:

−Be able to sit in a stable manner.
−Place objects in their mouth.
−Begin chewing motions.
−Hold the breast or bottle while feeding.

How to encourage your baby to eat on their own?

Firstly, give your baby the opportunity to do it. Let your baby try by giving them some dry and big pieces of food, but not too big or your baby may choke on them. Or, you can scatter four or five pieces onto your baby’s plate and add more slowly as your baby eats. This is because beginning with too much food, especially all in one spot, could lead your baby to respond by trying to stuff a lot into their mouth or throwing all to the floor.

Besides, you can build your baby’s confidence by praising them for using a spoon. If your baby cannot do it, do not force them. You can try again in a few weeks when your baby is ready.
Which finger foods to try?

Foods that are easy to serve in the pureed form on a spoon are a good choice. They include pea–sized versions of firmer foods, such as cheese, bananas, pears, mangos, and marble–sized versions of softer foods like bread and cooked pasta.

Which finger foods to avoid?

Self-feeding may come with risks, one of which is choking. Some foods are hard for babies to manage. They include whole peas, raw firm–fleshed vegetables or chunks of meat. They cannot dissolve in the mouth, can mash with the gums or can be easily sucked into the windpipe. Parents should avoid them to prevent choking.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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