my 12 month old will not pick up food and feed himself. is anyone else having/had this problem?

[deleted account] ( 5 moms have responded )

my doc recently freaked me out implying that i was not doing my job as a mother because my son, who JUST turned 1, was still taking bottles and not eating very much table foods. i of course felt horrible and started making him eat more table foods and stopped giving him bottles. however, i did this for 2 days and it just didn't feel natural to me. i was in tears because my son was having a hard time and was not his usual happy self. so i decided to research it and after reading post after post (both professional and mom-to-mom) i found that my son is not behind at all as far as his eating habbits. i have decided that i am going to set a goal of no bottles in a month, slowly weaning him. i am also trying to get him on mostly table foods within the next month or so. but my problem is that HE WILL NOT PICK UP FOOD AND PUT IT IN HIS MOUTH. he will eat table foods so long as i put it in his mouth for him, however he makes a "what the heck" facial expression most of the time. i know he has a well developed pincer grasp because he picks up pretty much every non-food item with his thumb and fingers. he also picks up his food and "studies" it, but then he just throws it on the floor. i just can't get him to put it in his mouth for the life of me! i would really appriciate any advise.. is/ has anyone else going/gone thru this with their child? am i doing something wrong?


Barbilee - posted on 09/17/2009




Janelle, first get a new doctor. Tell him first that you find him hurtful and disrespctful then report him.
Then breathe. Kids do what they want, when they want at the rate that they want. You can not rush it. It is much like that butterfly story:

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it had and it could go no further.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.

You want your son to fly, yes?

Family Wellness Coach

[deleted account]

Sounds like your doctor was pretty rude. Yes, a lot of babies are eating mostly solids at 12 months, but milk/formula is better for them anyway. I do agree that you need to get him interested in feeding himself though. Gradually cut down on the bottles - maybe even try a sippy cup for formula instead. Offer him solid foods throughout the day. My son turned one on the 11th. Some of his favorite finger foods are steamed broccoli, fresh blueberries, raisins, cubes of cheese, and waffles. Yes, some of the food just gets played with and squished, but that is normal. Don't let your doctor get you upset (and consider finding a new one), you're doing just fine!

This conversation has been closed to further comments


View replies by

Zinzi - posted on 05/20/2013




Hi there!

I am a mother of a 1yr6months baby who always pick up things on the floor and put in her mouth. This its been happening for a while and she is not stopping and i'm worried.

Thais - posted on 09/17/2009




My eldest daughter didn't feed herself until she was 18 months. She's now 2 and a half and to date, I still have to feed her now and then so she eats! My youngest daughter is turning 1 in 2 weeks and feed her at every meal time. There is nothing wrong with that!

Try giving him a spoon while you are feeding him so he can help himself if he wants to. My youngest used to play with the spoon at first but eventually she help herself to the food on the plate and put it on her mouth.

Also you can try putting finger foods on a plate and leave it near him. He should eventually pick it up and play or even eat it. Don't worry if he plays with the food and makes a mess, he has to get used to the different textures.

I hope this helps and good luck. And remember, only you know your child and you're doing what is best for him don't listen to anyone that is telling you otherwise!

Kylie - posted on 09/17/2009




No your not doing anything wrong! But.... why no more bottles they need milk until they are atleast two years old?

Keep trying he will eventually understand and feed himself maybe try something like an arrowroot biscuit which is easy to hold and nice to eat.

My little girl is 18mths old and still has milk atleast four times a day she also eats food by herself - usually most of it gets thrown or squished, i always sit with her and feed her with a spoon as well. Goodluck and as long as he is happy healthy and putting on weight you have nothing to worry about and always trust your instincts as you know your baby best.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms