My son insisted on feeding himself almost from the get go, lil did my husband and I know our tot was on to something. Former midwife and breastfeeding consultant, Gill Rapley, tells parents to encourage their children to eat by themselves. She is quick to point out the positive affects of doing so. A recent Guardian article said:
Not only, she says, will it help develop hand-eye coordination, allow babies to join in with family meals and make feeding battles less likely, but it's also the best way to ensure they grow up enjoying good food, and may protect them against eating disorders in later life.
If you're interested in learning the steps toward independent eating,
- Start weaning at six months
- Sit your baby upright for meals
- Offer, rather than push, food
- Eat with your child
- Expect a mess
- Don't get emotional
- Don't cut food up too small
- Treat mealtimes as playtimes
- Don't give food to hungry babies
- Watch your language
To learn more about the process, check out Rapley's book, Baby-led Weaning: Helping your baby to love good food.