How to teach your baby the art of self feeding is actually an incredibly common question amongst parents. One which many do not think of, up until the age where it begins to happen. However, this process is not as difficult as one would think if you have the necessary knowledge to implement effective teaching. This is where this article will help you shine. Teach your child these valuable life skills and help them reach their independence by reading on below now.
What Your Child Will Gain From Self Feeding
There are multiple benefits to teaching your child this practice. A child that can self feed is also a blessing in disguise to parents who will be able to enjoy their own meals during dinner time. We will take a look at a few of the key reasons of the importance of self feeding below.
Motor Neuron Development
By teaching your baby how to hold and operate a spoon, you are actually heling their motor neuron development.
This action develops their motor skills, which are incredibly needed later in their developmental stages. Fine motor skills are small muscle movements within the hands and fingers. By teaching your child to self feed, you are enabling them to develop strength and dexterity within their hands and fingers.
By teaching your child to self feed, you are essentially giving them their first little taste of independence. This is actually incredibly important during the developmental stages. By giving your child a sense of independence, you will be instilling a sense of self assurance within them.
Babies begin to develop a sense of self from about eight months onward. During this time, they begin to start seeing themselves as a separate entity, their own little being if you will. By allowing them to feed themselves, you are giving them the ability to establish their own identity through independence of you.
A Sense Of Accomplishment
One of the best things you can do for your child is celebrate small wins. And by allowing them to blunder through the art of learning to self feed, you will be giving them a sense of accomplishment. Be sure to encourage them during this time and help them along their journey.
Teaching Your Baby The Art Of Self Feeding
Teaching your baby self feeding techniques is a somewhat lengthily process. This is due to the fact that it needs to go through three key phases before they become truly independent. We will discuss all three of these below.
This is the first stage in the self feeding journey. Finger feeding is an important step to take as not only will it begin your child’s self feeding development, but it will also give them exposure to various textures. By feeling the various textures of food, you will help them develop their sense of touch.
Great foods to start finger feeding with should be soft to the touch, and are not hard in texture. Hard raw veggies and fruits such as carrot and apple are bad ideas for first finger foods. These may get stuck in your babys through, should they bite off too big a piece as such, soft foods such as mashed potatoes or an avocado wedge are real winners.
These softer foods will ensure that your baby will be able to mash up the food easily before swallowing. Furthermore, these will be easier for your little one to grasp. Remember, when finger feeding begins, your baby will first start by grabbing handfuls of everything.
Your baby’s grasp will change over time. First they begin to grab with a fist-full, shoving everything into their little mouth. But over a period, they begin to hone the process, until they reach a pincer like grip in which the index finger and thumb are used to pick foods up.
Encourage this grip by holding a piece of food for your baby, and only letting go when they use the above mentioned two fingers.
Introducing Feeding Spoons
The next step along your self feeding journey will be to teach your baby to eat with a spoon. This process can be incredibly messy, so prepare yourself for a few pumpkin smears here and there!
Once your baby is confident in finger feeding, introduce them to their first spoon. Firstly, they should be used to a spoon since you would have been feeding them with one when they began to eat solids. But now, give them their own to hold as you feed them. If they mimic your actions, encourage them to do so.
A great technique is the over hand guide. Place your hand over your baby’s and guide it into their bowl of food. Get a taste of food onto the tip of their spoon, and help them guide this into their mouth.
Practice this technique for a while before meals, then leave them to try it on their own. Watch them to ensure their spoon is facing the right way, but allow them the freedom to play with their food.
Finally, Introduce The Fork
The third step within the self feeding journey is to introduce your child to the fork. Be sure to only introduce them to this utensil once they are completely capable of using a spoon.
Use the same over hand method to help them develop their fork skills. Some children may opt to use finger feeding over forks this is natural as it is easier. Allow them to do this, but keep the fork nearby as an ever present option which you encourage them to use.
The Perfect Tableware For Self Feeding
Twistshake is one of the most child friendly feeding ranges on the South African market. This brand develops each and every focus with their main client in mind; your baby. All utensils and feeding dishes are free from BPAs, making them safe for your baby to use.
The design is also child centric, as each utensil is fitted with a grip perfect for all little hands to grasp. Be sure to check out the Twistshake range now and invest in your baby’s self feeding future!