child feeding themselves??

KELLY - posted on 10/07/2010 ( 26 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone,
I have a 14 month old. I am still feeding her mostly just because I dont want a mess on my kitchen floor. I let her feed herself grapes, crackers, and biscuits, etc. but my mother thinks that she should be feeding herself EVERYTHING. Any suggestions?!

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Rob - posted on 07/23/2014

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That's a good sign that she is now learning how ti feed her own self. My baby is about 10 months when she tries to feed her self. Finger foods are great. I don't want a mess too, so I wear her a bib that has a crumb catcher. To keep everything clean!

Rachel - posted on 10/21/2010

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She has to learn somehow.. so it's going to get messy at some stage .. My daughter won't eat unless she has a spoon and I have one too .. I get 3 spoons in to her one spoon .. Meal times used to be a battle until I figured out she wanted to be independant !! now no battles .. just a little messy, .. but prefer the mess than the battle !

Jamie - posted on 10/20/2010

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My daughter turns 14 month in 5 days. I do the same thing you do with yours.

My mom is a PAT director(parents as teachers, they are all about child development trust me I hear it daily) and your child is right on mark, so no worries there.

My monkey (her nickname she has long arms and legs and climbs everything) loves to eat everything, just as much as she likes to throw it :)

I let her feed herself for the first 5 mintues then I get another fork and help feed her. She loves that, i will feed her her then she feed herself. She loves pasta, which is sometimes hard to stab or pick up with baby silverware so she ends up using her hands or i will stab it for her and give her the fork back. She thinks it is a game but it has kept her from make as big as mess as she use to.

Jasmin - posted on 10/20/2010

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Feeding her sometimes at 14 months is fine. The mess should be the least of your worries. Little sandwiches are great for lunch and 'on the go'. Fruit, ofcourse is very popular with little ones, but you don't want to over do it for the sugar. Veges, either raw or cooked, depending on their hardness are also great snacks. Try cutting up capsicum, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, and just put in a bowl in front of her and leave it, eventually you will find the ones she likes. Homemade chicken strips, fish fingers and rissoles are all good ways to teach them to eat meat by themselves. You will have to forget about mess for a while - clean up afterwards. Good Luck!

Jessica - posted on 10/20/2010

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Try giving her a spoon to play with and see how she handles it. That should help you see when she is ready and will help her get use to the spoon. It worked with my daughter

Erin - posted on 10/19/2010

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My daughter has been feeding herself since we started solids at nearly 7 months old (it's called baby-led weaning, google it :) )... I just drop it on her tray and let her go to town. She'll eat just about anything (including grabbing off my plate if it's too close to her) Maybe start that, offer her just a bit of the food you're eating - soft steamed veggies, shredded chicken/beef, even bits of rolls. If she doesn't eat them, then go ahead and feed her the purees afterward. It'll be a good way for her to learn to feed herself (although my daughter doesn't use utensils much yet).

I hate to tell you, but I had a mess on my floor even before I had my baby - my husband and I aren't exactly NEAT eaters. :) I just learned to run a wet mop over the floor after dinner every night and make sure I get under her high chair very well when I do my big mopping every week.

Nichole - posted on 10/18/2010

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I help mine...I let him have his moment. Depending on the food I help him. Sometimes he's just in the mood to squish things and play.

Jaime - posted on 10/18/2010

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I'm def with you when it comes to the mess...I've learned to suck it up for the most part! Right now my son, who is also 14 months, is learning to eat off a plate rather than just the highchair tray...he's getting better every day! I always have a good supply of those Clorox wipes handy! Those things are great! Good luck to you! Just remember, you won't be feeding him with a spoon when he's 10....he's gotta start somewhere! :)

Dawn - posted on 10/18/2010

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My son is 14 months and he has been feeding himself for about 3-4 months, he does really well with a spoon. At first we let him hold the spoon but we guided it into his mouth. He still has moments where he tends to shake the spoon or fork about but I take it off him and tell him no, that is the only way they learn. I have a tiled floor so any mess is easy to clean up.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/17/2010

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Hi Kelly, i also have a 14 month old, he is great with the finger foods, just like most 14 month olds. The spoon I have let him have with things like dry cereal or peices of fruit. I figure it gives him the feeling of independence and practice before we move on to more messier things. He is interested in taking the spoon for all of his meals, I, like you am just not ready yet. Good luck!!

Tracy - posted on 10/16/2010

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Buy some vinyl bibs that have catch pockets or even a big vinyl painter smock and a vinyl table cloth to put under the chair and let her go to town. Mine use their hands the majority of the time but I give them a fork or spoon accoridingly every meal. My two year old I fed until she was close to 18 months because she allowed it but her sister demands to be like big sis and has had to feed herself since she was 11 months old. Pastas, carrots, diced beets, green beans, sloppy joes, diced peaches and pears, fish, and of course mash potatoes all work good to either spoon or stab with a fork but when all else fails they can still eat with their hands. Best of Luck.

Tiffany - posted on 10/15/2010

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I agree with Emily. My daughter is now to the point that she demands to feed herself most of the time. Don't be so picky about messes. That's what babies do! It's important to try to teach your child how you properly use her spoon or fork so that the messes won't be so bad as time goes on.

Shannon - posted on 10/15/2010

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WoW, I'm with you on this one Kelly....I hate a mess, but realize that I need to suck it up sooner rather then later, (I am pregnant with twins at the moment......). My son is 14 months and I let him play with the kid friendly fork n' all, but I also like to monitor what exactly is going in cuz when he throws it off, my dogs eat it and I have no clue what's what....I'm happy to do this, he eats the meat from the tray, but I like to monitor veggie intake....I think when they're ready, they will let us know, no?

Nicki - posted on 10/15/2010

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My son can feed himself by hand, but when he uses a spoon or a fork it is very hit and miss. He tends to use them as tools to propel food around the dining room!!! I don't mind the mess but I do worry that he won't get enough to eat. So now, if the food is messy, I'll make sure i'll put big lumps in it. For example we'll make spaghetti bolognaise with fusili, not spaghetti and I'll use adult pasta. That way he can pick it up with his fingers and get enough to eat.

Maeve - posted on 10/14/2010

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My daughter has been refusing to be fed since she was about 10 months old. My husband was trying to feed her applesauce one night while he was eating pizza, and she kept slapping the spoon away and pointing to the pizza. She knows what she wants!! I just cut stuff up for her, and wipe down her highchair and give the floor a quick sweep when she's done. I do give her a plate and a fork or spoon but she mostly just plays with those.

Aimee - posted on 10/14/2010

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both of mine have been feeding themselves since they could pick things up... I think its important to let them do it on their own. kids are messy, there will always be a mess to clean up. The mess doesnt bother me and it doesnt take much time to just sweep it up as soon as they are done...

Krystie - posted on 10/14/2010

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my baby was self feeding at 5 months, she would dip her fist into her food then suck it off her hand, she was chomping on a chicken wing at 7 months, and she used a spoon not long after. she still makes a mess, but its one less job for me to do and she has fun, cleaning th e floor is no bother (i dont have to do that, i get the older kids to clean up after meals anyway) and babies wash up easily.

Stacey - posted on 10/13/2010

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i feed my son the sloppy foods like spaghetti and soups but everything else he just uses his fingers i give him a fork or spoon with his tea n he plays with it. i let him feed himself a couple of mouthful's if im feeding him yogurt or something similar. he doesnt leave much of a mess onmaybe a couple of pieces of veg or meat but easily picked up. just keen an eye on her n sit down with her theres always gonna b a little bit of mess

Staum - posted on 10/10/2010

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Hi kelly,
I give my son a spoon to eat with and try to cook easy foods for him...he cannot feed himself sloppy things like soup etc but does pretty well with pasta etc. but i agree i hate the mess on my floor so i have started putting a tarp down under him so it is easy to pick and wash off we also have a dog which is a great vaccuum cleaner food doesnt often even reach the floor before he gets it :)

[deleted account]

my son isn';t very good with the spoon yet so i usually let him give hiimself a few spoonfuls and then do the rest myself. he also feeds himself alot of finger foods. i don't think most 14 month olds are that good at feeding themselves with a spoon

Angie - posted on 10/08/2010

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They won't learn if you don't give them the opportunity to. And they will make messes!!! My son started feeding himself pretty early on. I think around 7 months. He can even sort of feed himself with a spoon. He's not very good at it, granted, but he gets some in his mouth every now and then.

My advice is to forget about the mess and just let your daughter have at it!! If you concerned about the mess, put a sheet or something under her highchair for easy clean up.

Jessica - posted on 10/08/2010

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I give my 14 month old daughter a fork and spoon and let her try on her own. She is very good with her utensils, though still makes a very big mess! She wants to be like her big brother and do what he does.
Let her try so she can learn and clean up the mess later. The only way to learn is to try!

[deleted account]

I've let my daughter feed herself most things as well for quite a while. She is now starting to demand to eat everything by herself. I use a sheet under her high chair as well. And if she gets too 'flingy' with the spoon, I take it away. She's still learning, but practice makes perfect..

Alison - posted on 10/08/2010

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We've let our twins feed themselves since 6 months and never did spoon feeding. Eating is like anything, it takes practice. Ours rarely make a mess now.

We have a sheet spread under the table, so if any food does drop we just shake out the sheet and wash it! Makes things easy.

Emily - posted on 10/07/2010

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I don't know if there's a right or wrong to this. Eventually, your daughter will probably demand to feed herself. 'Til that point if it's not broke, don't fix it ;)

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