“Woah! Your baby already knows how to use chopsticks?!”
“How do you train your baby to feed themselves?”
I always got asked when I was eating outside with my babies especially when they were so young like 1 and a half year old.
But I always answered the same, “I didn’t train them at all. I just follow Baby-Led-Weaning. I put the food in front of them, and they will feed themselves.”
In contrast, people don’t see the messiness that I have been through by letting my babies to feed themselves once they started solid food (around 6 months old).
Even though it is not an easy choice for moms especially moms who can’t stand mess, the results that we get is so much more satisfying when you see the floor under table is getting cleaner and cleaner after each meal.
Reason 1: Proactive Child
By letting the child to feed themselves, meaning they need to use their hands to pick up the food and put into their mouth. For a young baby to do this, it takes a very big willingness to move their hands in order to feed their tummy.
Babies learn that they need to do something if they want to fill their stomach. Besides, it gives more fun for the babies as they get to choose and taste every single food on the plate. Especially when they are new to food, they touch, hold and taste.
Reason 2: Hands-Eyes Coordination
For an adult, it may seem easy to just pick up food and put it into our mouth. However, for a baby, his muscles are still developing. Hence, it is a huge exercise for them to pick up the food using their little tiny fingers and able to hold and put it into their mouth.
Baby Led Weaning allows this exercise happen three times a day, babies know how to use their fingers and control the hand muscles. You can try to feed them food in smaller size like green peas, blueberries for them to practise to use their tiny fingers to grasp. By doing this, their finger skills are going to improve as well as hands-eyes coordination.
Reason 3: Not Picky On Food
This is the biggest reason why I let them feed themselves. From the beginning of starting baby led weaning, I prepared different kinds of vegetables and fruits for my baby. They included broccoli, carrot, avocado, green leaves vegetables, banana, apples, grapes, guava etc. All these provide different colors and textures for the baby to experiment.
My baby was very excited about the variety of the food. She would see what’s on the plate, then slowly used her hands to pick one or two and tried. She never seems to be picky on food and she loves vegetables so much that sometimes I couldn’t believe it was true!
Reason 4: Moms Can Eat At The Same Time
The final reason is for the moms! Yay! I can honestly tell you that you may not enjoy your food as you see how your baby eats. Yet, as time goes by, you will realize how independent your baby is when she is eating. She doesn’t need you to spoon feed her, or even better, eventually they will request to use spoon or fork by themselves! How amazing isn’t it?
Moms and dads can enjoy eating although sometimes they still have some requests. But overall, it is beneficial for both baby and parents.
In conclusion, whether you want to spoon feed your baby or let them eat by themselves, you are still the best mom to your baby. You have the choice on how to parent your kids and believe in your instinct to tell you what to do.