Self feeding or baby led weaning is a milestone that is achieved with exploring the sense of touch, smell and taste.
Self fed babies are independent. They know their hunger and satiety. Myth that child eats very less when self fed. Fact is they eat to hunger when trained properly. Possiblity of craving to junks is less. These babies are not much prone for obesity in adulthood. Baby relishes the food and become foodie.
When to start??
This can be started as soon as complementary feeds are started.But perfect pincer grasp at 8-9 months favours this. Pincer grasp is baby tries to hold any object and put onto mouth. Nevertheless, babyled weaning can be incorporated since 6months
What type of food can be given???
Any food can be self fed. It depends on the age of the child to handle.Try giving healthy food.
For 6 month old, when baby is ready for complementary feed, pureed or handmashed food can be given in spoon. When offered see that baby tries to hold the spoon when you try feeding. Offer another spoon of food so that they give back the empty spoon. In that way alternatively with two spoon baby can be self fed.When finger foods are offered they try to eat on themselves.
From 8 months onwards: Baby will be having 2 meal and 2 snacks which gradually increased to 3 meals and 2 snacks by one. During this period baby are put to family food. Pincer grasp will help to hold food.
You can introduce cutlery to the child. Snacks can be finger food. Finger foods are steamed vegetables, fruits that are cut in such a fashion that baby can hold and feed themselves. Roti and dosa can also be offered as finger foods. Rice can be given as rice balls for the baby to self feed.
Tired of Mess??
It’s very common for the baby to do messy play. It’s not possible for anyone to cycle on the day one. Just like that baby does this messy play as a part of learning. To avoid food wastage and mess try offering one or 2 pieces in the plate. At this age baby tends to throw object too. So teach them patiently food is not to play. They will learn gradually. If baby is not interested in food and just do play activity Remove the food in 30 minutes. If they are hungry they will ask for or just have a good meal at snacks time.
Remember do not force feed or distract feed. Once they are done with self feeding do not feed them as it may get them over-fed or sometimes they have the thought of mom will feed, so chance of feeding themselves decrease.
Can the distract fed baby self feed??
1.All you need to do is stop distract feeding cold turkey.
2.Start with one feed be breakfast or dinner or snacks . Rest other can be fed without distraction . Follow responsive feeding.
3. Give fingerfoods. Fried food can also be tried sometimes like papad and french fries.
4.Eat along with baby. Do not coax or call for food. Let them eat on interest. Especially for babies with meal time stress try giving sometime without compulsion.
5.It is a gradual process. Can’t be built in a day.