6 Tips to Help Your Baby Self-Feed

After a while of feeding your baby, you long for the chance to enjoy your own meals again. Feeding your child is a wonderful experience, but it does get old. You can tell your baby is ready to feed herself because she’ll try to do it without your help. She’ll go at the spoon before you’ve come to her and she’ll dig her hands into her plate. Once this happens, give your child all the opportunity you can to self-feed by using these tips.

1. Give baby a chance!

Every journey begins with the first step. Don’t insist on feeding your baby because you think she can’t do it. Give her a chance to try. Sure, she’ll be terrible at it and make a mess the first few times, but she’ll get better. If she’s interested in feeding herself, leave her to it. Her enthusiasm will help her get through the tough parts. If you feed her forever, eventually she’ll lose interesting in doing it herself.

2. Offer finger foods first.

Don’t worry about utensils right away. First, help baby master the art of moving food from her bowl to her mouth. Cheerios are a good start, so is finely chopped fruit and cheese. Just avoid anything that can make her choke. Remember: she’s new at chewing and swallowing solids too. Soups and stews aren’t very practical for self-feeding.

3. Help with pincer grasp.

The finger-to-thumb method of picking things up is the hardest part for most kids. You can help your child learn the pincer by place a single item of food in the bowl at a time. This lets her isolate what she wants rather than trying to grab it all. If she struggles with this, hold the item in your hand in the pincer to demonstrate.

4. Use the right bowl.

You’ll need to pick out the right kind of bowl so your baby is more inclined to feed herself. Some bowls have suction cups on the bottom so it sticks firmly to the high chair or table. This lets your baby concentrate on scooping out the food without using the other hand to steady the bowl. You’ll also want a child-sized spoon so she isn’t using something clumsy.

5. Give it time.

Self-feeding won’t happen overnight. It may take a few meals before your child even learns what you want him to do. She will inevitably play with her food; let her. Don’t forget that she’s very new at all of this and has to explore and experiment in her own way. Also, don’t try to force self-feeding when you’re in a rush. If you have somewhere to be, feed your baby yourself. A stressed mom or dad doesn’t make a great teacher.

6. Eat right alongside baby.

Your baby takes most of her cues from her parents. If her parents do something, she’ll want to do it too. At dinner time, set your plates down right next to baby and eat as a family. When she seems her favorite people feeding themselves, she’ll want part of the action.

Written by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventor of the Zipadee-Zip

The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.

When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.

Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!

To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!

For more information, visit sleepingbaby.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Sleeping Baby? Send your topic idea to pr@sleepingbaby.com.

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