When baby are 8 months, she starts knowing the semi solid food and when she is 1 year old, baby is expected to eat with the family menu. Carol Hans R.D., Ph.D., the extension nutritionist from Iowa State University, the 1 and 2 years old are interested to drink with glass, can feel whether the foods are delicious or not, can refuse foods that they don’t like and like holding and playing with their foods. Try to feed her with spoon and it seems that she wants to eat but still she needs help. By seeing that pattern, it means that this is the right time to teach her feed without your help.
You can teach your baby to feed without your help since she is capable to sit and her muscles are strong enough to hold. Give finger foods that have soft texture. Cut them into pieces so that she can easily hand them like fruits or boiled vegetables. And when your children can hold food utensils, start training her to hold her spoons to feed the foods. Training children to feed means you give a meaningful lesson about brain, eyes, hands, and mouth coordination.
Actually, it is not easy to train children to feed by herself. There are so many troubles that you face. This can disturb your desire to train baby feeding by themselves. Some troubles that you face are:
- The foods are in disarray. Seeing the foods that mess up, sometimes makes parents reluctant to train baby feeding without your help because this make you busy to change her clothes and you have to clean up your room. In contrast if you feed her, your home is still clean, your children can finish their foods, and the clothes of your children are still clean.
Parents feel worry of the food supplement. When she eats alone, your children will hold and stir up the foods. It makes mostly foods are thrown away so your babies only feed in smaller portion. Again, it makes parents reluctant to feed the children again.
- Parents influenced by other people. People’s comment sometimes can disturb the process of training. Some of them will say, “How could you let your children to feed alone. It is not the right time. If they are older they can eat alone.” Hearing this, parents will not be consistent and postpone their wants to train children eating by themselves.
Training baby feeding by herself is not easy and fast process. It needs consistency and patience. These are some steps that can you use to train your baby feeding by herself:
- Step by step. Start training them when she can hold things. It is started by giving finger foods, and then she tries to use spoons. Hold the spoon with you children, and then take the food, finally feed the food into her mouth. You keep doing that until your children can feed by themselves.
- Give interesting and variant foods so that it can attract your children. Choose foods that are easy to be chewed and digested by children.
- Involve your children when you prepare foods. Ask your children to “cook” in the kitchen and choose their favorite food utensils by themselves.
- Create a regular food schedule so that children will usually eat on time.
- Make baby usual to sit on the chair with plates in front of them so that she can concentrate and she does not leave their foods and run away.
- Give the good example with the right way of eating, balance food composition, and teach baby to finish her foods.
- Give foods in the proper portion. So your children are not frustrated if they can’t finish their foods.
- Ask baby to start eating by praying. She will learn to praise God who has given them food and also she learns to appreciate foods that are served.
- Make the feeding activity fun. You can tell her the story of rabbit who likes eating carrot.
- Give compliment as her effort to feed without your help. If the foods are mess up and your home become dirty. Just regard it as the payment for her independent.
Training baby to feed by herself needs consistency and patience. Ignore all temptation and work together with the family member so that baby can be independent.