Many parents wonder when to start teaching their child to eat independently. And how to get down to it? Let’s check it out!
Feeding the child is a problem for many parents. While at the beginning a baby eats mainly breast milk or modified milk, after 6 months, when it’s time to expand the diet – there are often problems
Nothing by force
It should be remembered that until the first year of life the basis of a child’s nutrition is milk – regardless of whether it is breastfed or fed with modified milk. If the toddler is developing properly, gaining weight and there is nothing worrying, there is no reason to expand the diet earlier. Unless, for some reason, the doctor advises otherwise
At the beginning of expanding the diet there is no reason to expect that the child will immediately start eating new foods willingly. He may spit them out, throw them on the ground or clench his mouth, not allowing himself to put anything in his mouth. That’s why it’s important not to force your baby, but only to let him try new things and encourage him to explore new tastes
BLW – is it for everyone?
BLW, or “Baby Led Weaning,” is about your baby eating independently and choosing different foods. This method is based primarily on trusting the child, which in a way “manages” its own diet expansion. Then, for example, you should cook vegetables for the child and put them on a plate. The toddler takes pieces of food into his hands and then into his mouth. BLW, contrary to parents’ fears, is not dangerous, and brings a lot of benefits – it gives the pleasure of independent eating, develops fine motor skills, allows to develop the sense of touch and taste, teaches control of appetite and chewing. Of course, this method is associated with a lot of mess. Many parents are afraid that the child may choke, eating independently. However, it should be noted that this can also happen during spoon feeding. Therefore, it is always a good idea for adults to know how to react and what to do – there are numerous courses to choose from, including free ones available online
How can I teach my child to eat with a spoon?
Once your child has mastered eating with his hands, the time has come to use a spoon. There is no predetermined age when this should happen. It’s worth observing your child. A good method is the so-called “2-spoon feeding”. It consists in feeding the baby with one spoon but giving him the other. The bowl with food stands in front of the toddler. It is very probable that the offspring will want to imitate its parents and will start to dip it in the soup on its own- just like mom or dad does it
It’s worth making sure that the mush served is not too thin. It will then be much easier for the child to use the spoon
Invest in the right cutlery
If we want to teach the child to eat on its own, we should invest in cutlery suitable for the little gourmet. They should be safe and comfortable to use. Usually, such accessories are made of thick plastic. They are smaller than traditional cutlery. Of course, they cannot be sharp. The spoon is especially important, or more precisely, its depth. It is worth testing several to see which one will appeal most to the child
Comfortable position for eating
When we want to teach a child to eat meals on his own, we must take care of the place where he will do it. Usually, a standard dining chair and table are not suitable – the child will not be able to reach the plate with the meal, and may fall off the chair. The best solution is a special feeding chair with a tray, on which you can put or attach a bowl or a plate with food
Are you teaching independent eating? Do not make these mistakes
It turns out that many parents make a lot of mistakes because of which children do not want to eat on their own. The basic one is lack of patience. Remember that toddlers do not have the sense of time, besides they cannot yet manoeuvre a spoon or a fork well. Therefore you shouldn’t rush the child, because it may only discourage it. You should also prepare yourself for mess – it’s natural. You shouldn’t complain because of that – it may embarrass the child. Do not criticize your child. You should calmly show him how to eat properly. There is no rule as to how long the learning process will take – for some children a few days will be enough, for others it will take several months. Each child will master the art of independent eating in its own time
Main photo: Gabriel Crismariu, source: unsplash.com