Home PregnancyBabies Self-Feeding: The Complete Guide for Babies and Toddlers

Self-Feeding: The Complete Guide for Babies and Toddlers

by Tatiana Plesco
Self Feeding

Self-feeding is the stage where the baby can feed by himself. It marks a significant milestone in a Mom because it shows a progressive improvement from being a toddler to a young person.
The effect of being a stationary baby starts to fade away as adulthood sets in. It shows that the child is becoming independent, and as he progresses, he can do other things that mark more significant milestones in his or her life.
A Baby must be taught to self-feed, and there are several steps that a guardian or a mom should follow for a successful transition from a toddler who is always being fed to a self-feeding little one.

Here are the most crucial steps:

First of all, it is such a relief to see your child self-feed, especially if you are a working mom who gets to the house tired and you long for the independence of the baby.

Self-feeding is thus done in three ways;

  1. Eating with a spoon.
  2. Using a fork.
  3. Using the fingers to feed.

Self Feeding baby with spoon

How to train Using the fingers

Usually, kids start pulling anything around them to eat at the age of 8 months. At this stage, as a mom, you can place some food on the tray within reach of the child. Mostly He will grab with the whole hand and put all of it in the mouth. This is only a stage, but the Mom needs to try and assist the baby in holding the food with the fingers.
Eventually, they outgrow this method, and you will find that they will eat as comfortably on their own using the fingers as time goes on.
The child should be encouraged to eat because it often forms the foundation towards independence of self-feeding.

How to teach your baby to use a spoon to self-feed.

At the age of one, the baby should be able to hold a spoon in as much as they will hold it and poor 75% of the contents of the food. You should allow them to mess as much as they want. Do not shout at him because this will scare away the new skill he is about to learn.
The best way to teach the baby is to allow him to have his spoon and also hold yours. Once you feed him once, it will enable him to take the initiative of putting the best sip in the mouth by himself. Do not worry even when the food falls on the floor. With time, he will adjust but has to learn through the messy way.
When you keep helping him to put food in the mouth, eventually, he will be able to put it by himself without falling any particles. Once you are comfortable that they can put the food in the mouth, now give him the independence of giving him a bowl.
He might get excited and even overturn it with food but keep repeating this and letting him know that it is his food and should eat it. Fetch the food from the bowl by holding his hand and practice it together.
In a short while, he will be in a position to understand how to fetch himself and put it in the mouth alone.

 How to teach your toddler to use a fork

Once the baby can hold the spoon and self-feed by himself, this is a good time then to introduce him to using the fork. The best time to train if at the age of 15 months because they can be able to understand what you are telling them to do.
The first foods that you should introduce are soft foods like chicken nuggets. When food is ready, place the fork on the plate. Allow the child to pick it and pick the food from the plate by themselves. If they are not in a position, assist them to select, and do this repeatedly until they are confident enough that they can pick by themselves.

teach your toddler to use a fork

Do not train using softwoods that will slip from the fork to avoid frustrating the baby who may eventually refuse to use the fork. As you repeat this process, not only to them but let them also watch you eating with a fork, to emulate what you are doing. This will be an unforgettable event that you expect them to have fun using the fork.


Teaching a baby to self-feed needs a lot of patience, but it will eventually save you the hassles of feeding them every day. Therefore it’s essential to encourage them in every milestone they make to ensure that they grow.

If you realize, for instance, the child feels terrible when he messes while feeding himself, remove the dirty bib immediately and try as much as possible to maintain a clean environment.

Therefore practice consistency, practice together, and remain calm even when you feel offended when the baby is getting messy. They will soon outgrow.

Read more healthy baby information.

Updated on 4/9/2020

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