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Q&A:
How can I get my 1-year-old to feed himself?

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Question


My baby will be a year old in a few weeks and still will not eat by himself. He has absolutely no interest in even trying finger foods. He just throws everything on the floor. I show him how to pick it up and eat it; I stop his hand and say, "Don't throw. We eat the carrots, apples, whatever," but he throws and just cries until I feed him from the spoon. Should he be eating by himself by now? If so, what can I do to encourage / help him? Will my continuing to feed him pose any eating problems down the road?

Answer

It sounds like you are in a losing food battle with your son, so the first thing I would recommend is changing tactics. Go for greater stealth. Give him a few small bits of food on his tray and look away. Let him try it on his own, at his own pace. More than two or three bits will predictably end up on the floor. Pieces of canned fruit, cereal bits, or banana chunks are nearly universal favorites. You'll still need to feed a child this age with a spoon for most of the meal; this isn't an either / or. If he is very hungry at first, feed him a bit to take the edge off his hunger. Then give him a chance to do more himself. Give him his own spoon to let him know he's part of the process, but don't expect much agility for another six months. Another tactic: Sit him at the adult table in a highchair and give him some of what everyone else is eating, such as two or three pieces of pasta. Continue your own conversation and eating, making him feel a part of things but not the focus of attention. Give him a few more bits if he finishes what you give. Try these strategies for a few times as it will take him time to figure out what's up. If he throws food, say "All done" and put him down. The next scheduled snack or meal will be his next opportunity to eat. He won't starve himself and he will learn important parts of civilized eating. One important observation: If he can't use his hands to get things to his mouth in play or in any eating setting, has trouble swallowing, or gags frequently, bring him to his health care provider for a thorough checkup on development.

 
 
 
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Member comments


no your baby doesnt have age to feed it self yet i have a 1 year old daughter who wants to but still..

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