When to Start and Why It's Important
We’re biased, but we think the best 8 month milestone is seeing your little one feed herself! That’s called self feeding with fingers and spoons. Regardless if you chose BLW or puree to get started with solids, now is when things collide. This article is for every parent! Let’s go.
When should we start to encourage self feeding?
When you start to encourage your baby to self feed varies if you chose to start solids the traditional pureed route, or went with baby led weaning. However, most infants are ready for finger foods by 8 months old either way. At this point, they’re able to start feeding themselves with a spoon, too. This is messy – but they need the practice! They’ll get the hang of it around a year and a half.
How can you support your child to develop this 8 month milestone?
Tip 1: It’s OK to play and explore
First, remember this is new stuff. Let your little one play with their food and utensils. Infants use all of their senses to learn, so while it may look like a big messy playtime to us, they’re figuring everything out in their own way! This is why this 8 month milestone is extra cool, self feeding is much more than just eating.
Tip 2: Don’t take over
Be present and encouraging, but allow your child to advance as their ready.
Tip 3: Your kid leads the way
Allow your child to choose how much and how fast to eat. This might mean mealtimes for your family will need some restructuring to allow your baby time to explore and experiment with self-feeding.
This also means, you must respect your kid’s food choices and hesitation with new foods. This is unfamiliar territory – maybe they love puree peas, but seeing peas on the plate might make them stop and proceed with caution. Don’t push!
Tip 4: Be calm
Next, remember that all kids are different and will learn at their own pace. Don’t worry if your child isn’t quickly and tidily clearing their plate at each meal.
Tip 5: Remember your role
Last one, let’s review your role. As a parent, your role in this stage of development is to
- provide a variety of healthy foods for baby to eat,
- be present for safety and encouragement
- role model a positive relationship with food and eating
- give your child space to learn and grow