One year old thinks he can feed himself!

Beverley - posted on 11/11/2010 ( 41 moms have responded )

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Is anyone else having a problem with their one year old trying to be independent?
My little boy turned one this week and for the last few weeks I have been giving him his spoon and a bowl (with the very last of his dinner in) at the end of a meal to play with. He has learnt to dip the spoon into his bowl and then put it in his mouth.
The problem is now he wants to do it by himself all of the time and that can be messy, time-consuming and usually he won't eat a fraction of what he could eat if I were feeding him.
It just seems to be that inbetween phase, between having to be fed and being able to do it himself.
Any tips?

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Jill - posted on 11/23/2010

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My son is doing the same exact thing! He turned 1 last week and at first we thought he was just tired of his food so we've been trying to mix it up a bit. Doesn't work. I think the little guy just wants to be left to explore the world of food on his own! To make sure he does eat, we've been giving him things like toast, bits of ground beef, steamed veggies - things he can pick up and feed himself to make sure he eats. Then if he doesn't eat all of his regular food with us feeding it to him, at least he ate something.

Callie - posted on 11/20/2010

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Dawn~ don't be afraid to give him adult food. My daughter has 2 bottom teeth and just cut 1 of her top teeth. Just give them foods that are soft or easy to gum. Ripe fruits and steamed veggies are super easy to cut up and give to babies. My daughter eats pretty much every thing my husband and I eat just cut up into little bites.

Beverley~ My little girl is super independent. She started purees at 6mo. and I gave her some fingerfoods a 7mo. By 8-9 mo. she was completely self feeding (she refused purees). The past 1-2 months I've been trying to teach her how to use a spoon. She's slowly getting it but starts using her hands half way through the meal. It can be messy but my niece was feed purees by her parents past 1 and still trying to learn how to use silverware (turned 2 in Oct.) They have to learn how to feed themselves sometime so I figure if they are trying to take the spoon and do it themselves then they are ready.

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Dawn, we give mainly adult food. Just make sure to cut them down to bite size pieces and he'll be fine, their gums are hard so they can get the job done without teeth. Try scrambled eggs first and soft veggies, spaghetti is wonderful and also lightly toasted grilled cheese sandwiches. We give our son baby food whenever we're having something that isn't good for him just yet like steak, fish (just now started giving him fish) or seafood. Give it a try. My son only has 4 teeth in the front and did just fine when he didn't.

Rebecca - posted on 11/19/2010

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Beverley, Just let him!!!! I have twin boys that just turned one of the 19th and they have been feeding themselves for quite awhile now (still working on using the spoon the right way and keeping the bowl/plate on the table) but the best way for babies to learn how to feed themselves is just to let them. Yes it will be messy, yes he won't get everything in his mouth that you would have fed him but it is the best way for him to learn. I have three other kids besides my twins and I have done the same thing with all of them. Don't stress the mess!!!

Diana - posted on 11/16/2010

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well all i can say is to let him feed himself,it is part of their growing or learning process,and i know it is time consuming but we have to find the time :-)

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41 Comments

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Sarah - posted on 12/31/2010

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Let him get messy... they've gotta learn somehow, or try giving him some finger foods... bread, crackers, goldfish, cheerios, fruit... little less messy than the baby food meals. = )

Melanie - posted on 12/29/2010

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i know what ya mean. my daughter is 13 mo and keeps taking the spoon. i let her have it and feed her from teh end of my finger. shes not a biter tho. you might factor that in. :)

Jones Ogbonnaya - posted on 12/21/2010

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Gold Daberechi Kasiemobi, one on 20/11/2010 can now feed herself. Eventhough, she likes drinking from her water bottle alone. She eats cheese balls on her own as well as biscuits. When I put fish in her mouth, she will bring it out and begins to eat it by herself.

Kristen - posted on 11/23/2010

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Hey consider yourself lucky! I can't get my son to hold a spoon. If I put a dish on his tray he just takes it and flips it upside down and it all goes on the floor
:-) For now he just eats off the tray still and he just turned 1 on Monday. LOL the grass is always greener on the other side,

Crystal - posted on 11/23/2010

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I try putting finger food on the tray that my baby can feed herself while I sneak bites of messier foods in in between. This usually distracts her enough to keep her from grabbing the spoon and gives her a little independence.

Ashley - posted on 11/23/2010

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My daughter was the same way ... turns out she just really didnt want the pureed baby food anymore. I cut up whatever I am eating in really small pieces and let her hand-feed herself. She will still let me give her yogurt and pudding but thats it. It is messy, but its the only way they will learn. Even though I give her a plastic spoon, she treats it like a toy and just bangs it around.

Asia - posted on 11/23/2010

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My daughter turned one almost two weeks ago...and has been self feeding for over a month. No baby food in this house! She just gets whatever we are eating in small pieces. We just put in all on her hairchair tray and she goes for it. She DOES NOT want any help and I think it is good for her to explore her food in both taste and texture. Some days she eats more than others, but she always gets enough, and we always give her a sippy cup with milk inbetween meals. This worked for our 5 year old and she is just fine now!

Janet - posted on 11/22/2010

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We don't even bother with a spoon or bowl. We just plop it all on his tray and let him go to town...which he does! It is very very messy (every single meal), but it is what he wants and the only way he will eat, so I let him do it. He also goes crazy if we try to put a bib on him, so we just let him get food everywhere and clean it all up after. We figure it is a phase that he will grow out of. We can hope, right? :)

Danielle - posted on 11/22/2010

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i find with my son that if i give him his own spoon and own bowl with bit of food in that he will happily play with food in his bowl while i feed him. also it less messy if you make your own baby food as some shop food can be runny

Holly - posted on 11/22/2010

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Get a dog who likes table food, put a cheap plastic table cloth under the high chair and let him do it. :) My guy turned one on the 15th and he eats anything I eat. For lunch we had tuna patties and mac and cheese. The dog got more of it than he did (we have a child friendly chihuahua purchased specifically to clean up after the kids eat and be their companion pet). BUT the baby's tummy (unless you have been forcefeeding after the baby is full).. is the size of his fist :) that means they don't NEED a lot to eat :) Nurse after a meal to "top them off" and let baby feed himself :) No dog?? Pick the table cloth up after each meal, empty over a trashcan :) Repeat :)

Now is a great time to introduce your child to new foods (at or even before one).. my son started solids at 8 months old and due to the time consuming and pretty yucky nature of it we skipped baby food. He ate whatever I ate in smaller bites :) He now has 4 whole teeth and about 6-8 teeth in different progressions of coming in and eats steak, ribs, chicken, etc. Whatever goes on the table is good for him. If you are just starting this make sure whatever baby gets has a "handle".. plenty to eat above the fist as most babies don't realize there is food in the fist :) They eat down to the fist and whatever was inside the fist gets dropped so they can move on :) Cute, frustrating but part of learning :) As baby is learning to self feed use thicker more baby friendly foods. We use mac and cheese, thick mashed potatoes (that can easily stay on a spoon or fingers).. that type of stuff. When your child is telling you "Hey, I want to do this" it is going to be nothing BUT a fight if you don't comply. Child will start grabbing at bowl/spoon making a huge mess or will just refuse to eat. Let the little guy grow up :) It's on and up to a new milestone :) Hard I know!! LOL :)

Brianna - posted on 11/21/2010

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i feed my daughter lots of finger foods. such as meat pieces, carrots, pea, cheese,ect so i think she gets it out of her system so that when i feed her some spoon fed stuff she doesnt fight me cuz it like one spoon full from me, one piece of food she feeds herself ect

Cari - posted on 11/20/2010

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Bless! Mine is showing some independence too. We are letting him roll with it, it makes a mess of the floor but TBH I am always sweeping/mopping the floor anyway so it's not much worse. I tend to make more than he eats usually, which has turned out for the best because now I can top up his plate with the extras lol. I also bought a PVC tablecloth (on the cheap) that I could lay on the floor under his high chair to catch the food. The idea is that the tablecloth is always clean so you can pick the food back up and give it to him. Wash the tablecloth like you would the highchair tray and there should be no difference really. I don't remember to use mine, but thought I'd give the idea in case it helps :) They'll get the hang of it soon. My gf has an 18 mo old and he's so good at eating. Won't be long and feeding them will be a thing of the past *sniff*

Amber - posted on 11/19/2010

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My daughter won't be one for a few more days but for about the past 3 weeks to a month has been doing the same thing, she started actually dipping the spoon in about a week ago. But I normally will keep her baby food or whatever she's eating to myself and give her like a graham cracker or something easy she can feed her self if she gets impatient.

Mel - posted on 11/19/2010

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With Jadzia I spoon in the first couple of spoons and then I give her the spoon .She loves being able to feed herself and she also takes off some of the spoon with her fingers and with her cereal she even sticks her hands in the bowl .The trough bibs are great and aome food still ends up on the tray and bit on her .I'll have to be on the lookout for the sunction cup bowls in Australia ..

Katherine - posted on 11/18/2010

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my little girl turned one 2 weeks ago and i am having exactly the same problem. i put the spoon up to her mouth and she tries to grab it and mormally food then just flies everywhere! feeding time is a very messy time in our household at the moment!

Jennifer - posted on 11/18/2010

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Cynthia, i swear my son feeds me more than he feeds himself! its so cute! ♥

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My son does the same thing. LOL He turned 1 on Nov 4th and is a very independent bugger. What I usually have to do is give him a spoon while I feel him and we take turns. He gets a spoonful from me and then he spoons himself. hehehe He also just started feeding me too! Do dang cute, especially when he giggles like a fool because he thinks it's hilarious. Cheeky bugger. lol

Dawn - posted on 11/18/2010

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Is anyone still feeding their 1 year olds baby food still. I am a first time mom and I am scared that if I give him adult food that he will choke on it. He doesn't have all his teeth in yet? help..

Sarah - posted on 11/17/2010

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Scarlett goes through phases of refusing the spoon, She is great at self feeding finger foods but won't feed herself meat. It used to drive me crazy but now I just give her mostly finger foods. Having her own spoon worked for a while but now if she sees my spoon she hits it away and clamps her mouth. She understands how to put her spoon in the bowl but then tends to play with it more than eat it. SO she gets finger foods during the day and a really thick porridge or something for her to practice spoon feeding herself for dinner so i can strip her and into the bath after!

I am hoping she will learn the self spoon/fork feeding before i stop bf as currently it is my nutrition safety net!

[deleted account]

which suction cups actually stick?!
My babies tend to be doing more finger feeding when not teething. We are in a teething period righ now so I give them a chunky puree and put brwn rice puffs for them to finger feed so I can get the puree into them and keep them happy. also give other finger stuff but for getting down to business and getting the main meal portions into them this works. and yes, spoons to hold, etc.
but REALLY want to know which suction bowls stick!!!

Diann - posted on 11/15/2010

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My son turns 1 on the 30th. He has figured out how to get the bowls that suction off the high chair tray. So now I just hold it. I give him a spoon to play with and I use another spoon or fork to feed him. Also I try to give him alot of finger foods like chicken tenders and and stuff like that so he can pick it up by himself. As for the mess I have a German Shepherd that doesn't seem to mind helping me clean it!!!

Rebecca - posted on 11/13/2010

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I use the bowl sometimes but at meals I just put his food on his tray no plates or bowls and give him a fork or spoon. He has become a great eater that way!!! The mess doesn't bother me because if he i wearing a bip you just have to wash his face and hands and then throw the tray in the sink. Its better for him to learn how to feed himself now and not when he is 2 :)

Jennifer - posted on 11/12/2010

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i do what gretchen does, and it works very well! we also just cut down on purees, and things that require a spoon and mostly stick with things he can pick up and eat. whats really cute is that if i give him a spoon to play with while he's eating finger foods, he will pick up a bit of food, set it on the spoon and put the spoon in his mouth. its less messy compared to letting him spoon feed himself purees, but he's still getting practice with coordination.

Gretchen - posted on 11/12/2010

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My son does the same thing, We usually compromise. He gets a spoon and so do I. I help him put food on his spoon then he puts a bite in his mouth. Then while he is trying to re-load I sneak a bite in with my spoon. That way he eats more/faster and thinks he is doing it. Also if I want to get something done, I just prepare more for his lunch and then keep putting more on his plate. sure it is a mess, but it allows me to get other things done, he feels like he is so big doing it himself and only takes a minute to clean up. I just make sure it is something that is easy to pick up.

Beverley - posted on 11/12/2010

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Ha ha! Why didn't I think of the suction bowls! Don't you find as a mum looking after a baby 24hrs and always on the go, sometimes its the simplest and most common sense things that you need reminding of!

Thanks!

Megan - posted on 11/11/2010

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Yes- the suction cup bowls are good. You can always strip him down to a diaper and that way you don't have to worry about the mess on his clothes. This is how they learn to feed themselves though, so if not now, then later!

Maria - posted on 11/11/2010

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oh and another thing, i use the bowls that suction down to the table or highchair that way he wont toss it and make a bigger mess. :) good luck!

Maria - posted on 11/11/2010

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My son will be one the 24th and im having the same problem! if i try to feed him he will clench up his mouth and turn his head. i definately agree with you, it is very messy and time consuming but i guess he is ready to learn to be more independent and feed himself. what ive started to do is put one of those bibs that "catch" the food and hope everything lands in there. ill let him sit there and eat while im eating and if he isnt finished ill bring his highchair to the kitchen and wash dishes or straghten up until he is done. as for the concern about him not getting enough to eat, its part of the learning process. he wont starve himself, just offer him more nutritional snacks inbetween meals incase you are really worried. :) our nov. babies are growing up!!

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