Expert Talk: 4 Simple Ways To Encourage Your 10-month-old To Self-feed

Esmé Gelder
·4-min read

Your little one is more likely to turn into an experienced eater by the time he is almost one-year. He can now sit comfortably in the high chair and will be using his hands a lot more. He has perhaps even mastered what is called the pincer grasp and can now can hold small items between his fingers and thumb. It’s surely an exciting and freeing time for your bub.

But with these newly-developed skills also come the tantrums, in particular: refusal to eat by himself. You may notice him rejecting food and/or even throwing it on the floor.

This can be a very challenging stage, but it is still an important one. As parents, you’ll have to encourage your baby to feed himself with his fingers or with a spoon. Yes, it is understandable that your little one won’t always eat much, but doing so by himself is great way to teach him to be more independent–a skill that’ll serve him in the future too.

So here are my suggestions on how to begin.

4 Golden Rules To Encourage Your Baby To Self-feed

1. Self-feed using cutlery

how to teach baby to feed himself with spoon
how to teach baby to feed himself with spoon

Image source: iStock

When you start encouraging your toddler to feed by himself, one of the best ways is to use sticky foods like oatmeal or mashed potato.

  • These types of foods cling to the spoon making it easier for the baby to get a mouthful, before it all slides off. Alternatively, filling the spoon and then offering it to the baby is another way to start the process.

  • Try to relax, as his sense of achievement of feeding himself will outweigh his inconvenience of taking food off the board or wall.

  • If you are concerned that he is not eating much, try using two spoons. You can give him one to hold, and he can use the other to scoop out the food from the bowl.

  • When you are trying to teach your baby to get familiar with the cutlery – the chunkier and clunkier, the better. Even if your baby doesn’t want to feed himself, he will love to chew the spoons.

  • Try experimenting with the size of the cutlery. While some parents prefer to use a long spoon to feed the baby, a shorter one with an angled head will make it easier for him to do it by himself.

Just remember to use child-friendly bowls–one with a sucker at the bottom that will stick to the high chair and can make it easy for the baby to get at his food, without having to chase the dish around. This is also a great idea to prevent him from throwing of the bowl if and when he gets annoyed and bored!

2. Finger foods for self-feeding

Image source: iStock

Now that your baby has more teeth, finger foods can really come in handy at this point. He also has better reflex skills, which means that is time to start introducing to a wider variety of flavours and textures.

  • Crunchy foods like breadsticks, toast, rice cakes, and cereals are ideal food at this stage.

  • You can also try cucumber sticks, meatballs, cooked pasta, and even fish fingers.

As your baby gets better at feeding himself, you may be able to introduce him to a daily finger food meal.

3. Using a cup

how to teach baby to feed himself with spoon
how to teach baby to feed himself with spoon

Image source: iStock

Many experts recommend removing your baby from bottles at around 12 months. This is to avoid damaging his teeth. So at this stage it’s a great idea to make sure you teach your baby to use a cup to drink water or milk.

There are a lot of options to choose from with baby-friendly features. You may need to try different kinds before you find one that your baby can drink from easily.

4. Good role modelling

Finally, the best way to encourage your little one to feed himself, is by having a meal together as a family. This way, he can have a chance to see others using cutlery, and this may in effect, encourage him to be like Mummy, Daddy, or his siblings.


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