At what age should I stop spoon feeding my son??

Allison - posted on 11/16/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My son is 13 month sold and is intolerant to alot of foods(not allergic) so I am limited in what I can feed him. I still mix iron rich cereal with pureed jars and spoon feed him most meals. He also eats most snacks and half his meals with finger food he can do, but the mess of him feeding himself with a spoon is too much to think about as I am pregnant again now. Although, when the new baby arrives when he is 18 months, I don't want to have to feed him anymore. Should I just deal with the mess of him doing it all himself or could it be bad for him?? I assume he can gain those same motor skills when playing but maybe not??

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Schyla - posted on 11/16/2010

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find less messy foods he can tolerate and let him do it himself. the mess is a part of the process Both of my kids just ate finger food till they were around 2 and could use a spoon or fork. Let them have a set in the tub (use the child safe ones) and they can play with and practice those skills in a place where the mess is ok. (you dont have to use food) we gave our kids tooth brushes to play with as well so they could practice the skills even when there wasn't anything on the spoon or fork or tooth brush. there are finger food out there that aren't quite as messy. Personally I'm a HUGE fan of Chunky soups I drain the broth off and just give them the chunky parts cut up really small, the veggies and meat are all really soft and if you drain the broth off they aren't as messy. (plus they cost about as much for a can you can feed them three or four times from as a toddler meal that you can only feed them from once. We also did a lot of french toast for breakfast and tried to keep our meals some kind of variation of what the kids were eating. (they have chicken nuggets we have baked chicken and rice) look around see what you can find you'll probably be surprised at what your little one can do for himself.

Stifler's - posted on 11/16/2010

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Yeah I'd say feed him most of it first then let him go for it with the last few spoonfuls so there won't be as much mess as an entire bowl.

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Let him have the spoon and he'll figure it out. Yes, it will be messy for a while (and yes, it will still be messy after the new one comes - my youngest two are 16 months apart), but if you feed in the kitchen (or over a hard floor) the cleanup is easier. I recommend stocking up on nice washcloths that you can get damp and give to your son when he's done eating. Show him how to wash his hands and face with the rag and when he's done you can finish up the cleanup with a few quick swipes. :)

Good luck and congrats on the new baby! :)

Amanda - posted on 12/12/2010

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There really isn't a "right" age to let them start feeding themselves. The mess is going to happen regardless. I am a clean freak and had to sit back and cringe as all 4 of my kids started feeding themselves and make messes. That's just how they learn. My youngest will be 2 next month, and she feeds herself without making too big of a mess. She's been feeding herself since she was about 16mnths old. She was ready and wanted to be like a big kid since all her sisters and brother were eating with big kid fork and spoons. Just let him try it and see how it goes. The messes will taper off the more he does it. He'll eventually learn to put it up to his mouth, and pick up what falls. Good luck!

[deleted account]

I let gabby hold the spoon in her hand, i put the bowl in front of her, and i feed her. Sometimes she spoons bites now, before she just played in it. She would bite her spoon and use it to help her chew, she got the basic idea of it, shes a year and she feeds herself a lot of food. the chunky kind she grabs and eats herself.

[deleted account]

I think maybe this is something u dont want to do cuz ur prego but baby is going to be messy! u got to let him try and practice he's never feed himself with a spoon before and even tho he will play its different practice makes perfect. I agree with Ashlea that even into the toddler years they will be messy and even at age six when drinkin from a open cup they will be messy. I would say u just have to be patient and just let it be and be prepared for a lot of messes Mom!

Ashlea - posted on 12/12/2010

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My daughter is almost 2..will be in 2 months and I still spoon feed her certain foods. Stuff like this is your discretion to decide when you want to quit spoon feeding your child. My daughter eats everything with her fingers and makes just as big of mess doing that as she does with a spoon or fork. I also still feed her certain baby foods because she won't eat a lot of raw fruits or vegetables..and I have given her the option to eat them..she just doesn't like them. But, she will still eat the baby food form. Just give your child foods that they will eat and let them explore with plastic baby spoons and forks and they will eventually get the hang of it.

[deleted account]

yes, let him go! i did it with my daughter and now shes almost 17 months and shes very good at using a fork and a spoon. when she was about a year, she decided she was independent and didnt want me to feed her anymore. so i just put her in her high chair and give her the food shes gonna eat, along with a fork and a spoon and i let her sit there until she's done eating. shes getting less and less messy, but always still has food all over her face when shes done. we got a mat to put under her high chair to clean up some of the mess. i just had a baby 6 weeks ago, so it really is helpful that i dont have to sit there for half an hour or so, if theres something else i have to do shes good sitting there eating until im done.

Keshia - posted on 11/16/2010

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my son is 15 months and allergic to milk so I understand its hard to feed him certain thing my son cant have like anything we do anything you cook with has milk in it so I have to buy alot of the toddler pre made meals and they are so messy I feed my son by hand too my mom is always yelling at me he will never learn to feed his self Im also pregnant with a horrible back so I dont always want to give him a bath after he eats and makes a mess so sometimes I let him like if he has some chicken or french fries that he can use his hands I let him hes starting to do alot better this morning I let him have french toast he did good but still made a mess so I had to give him a bath afterwards my son will be 20 months by the time the new one is born so im hoping he starts doing alot better

Laura - posted on 11/16/2010

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Messes happen there is nothing you can do to stop it. My 2 year old still drops food all over him and he refused to let me feed him any more at about a year. And just this morning my 4 year old knocked his cereal bowl over the table and floor. About that age my son loved those Gerber Pasta pick-ups (if he can tolerate them) and we just cut them up extra small.

September - posted on 11/16/2010

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Our son started feeding himself at 11 months, or at least that's when I started letting him practice feeding himself. He did not master it until about 15 months. I think that although it does get messy you have to let them try, so yes deal with the mess and before you know it he will be feeding himself! :)

Heather - posted on 11/16/2010

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I let my son eat most of his meals with his hands, he hasn't grasped the concept of using a fork or spoon by himself yet, so sometimes I still need to help him with foods, like yogurt or mashed potatoes. He will learn his motor skills the more he practices. =]

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