At what age would you expect a spoon-fed baby to entirely/mainly feed itself?

(23 Posts)

I think that the DoH guidelines are some finger foods from 7 mo, but wondering realistically what age you would expect a baby to be feeding itself if you started with purees etc.

I am arguing with my mum wink

MummyDragon Wed 05-Aug-09 21:10:30

Do you mean 1) using a spoon competently or 2) opening mouth and swallowing when you put purees in 3) picking up finger foods and having a go by themselves?

If 1) - at least 14 months but could be up to age 3!!

If 2) - anything from 4 months onwards, depends on when you start giving them purees and I have no idea what age is recommended for starting weaning these days (for my DS it was 17 weeks, for my DD it was 6 months minimum)

If 3) - probably about 6+ months - possibly sooner but it does require a degree of coordination so I'd say that it would be unreasonable to expect anything before 6 months, and certainly not worry before about 10 months ...

As with everything baby-related, the advice/trends for weaning can vary hugely even over the space of a couple of years. It can be very confusing!

navyeyelasH Wed 05-Aug-09 21:11:16

what do you mean by feeding self? Getting food onto utensil and into mouth?

KristinaM Wed 05-Aug-09 21:13:21

i think most babies of 7-8 months should be able to get lots of purree on their hands and rub it into their hair

and a small amount into their mouths

not sure about the spoon bit though....

MrsMerryHenry Wed 05-Aug-09 21:13:21

Do you mean feeding self an entire meal? I'd say maybe 3.6 - 4 years if my DS (2.8) and his friends are anything to go by...

BlameItOnTheBogey Wed 05-Aug-09 21:15:48

I think it depends on how much you let them experiment and how much they have to get on with it. DS is at nursery and they encourage them to try and feed themselves from a very young age. He was competently using a spoon by 12 months. Is 14 months now and won't let me help him. But I don't think he'd be like that if he was at home with me. At nursery, it's the quickest way of him getting food and he's too impatient to wait.

Thanks for the answers Good questions - they've made me realise how little I know about weaning! I suppose I mean when would you dispense with the spoon-feeding. I'm assuming you start with smooth purees, then mashed stuff, then increasingly lumpy stuff until they're eating normal food (?). Do you keep on feeding them at this stage or are they feeding themselves? Or have I got the whole thing wrong?

stitchtime Wed 05-Aug-09 21:49:27

My twelve year old doesnt manage it. grin i've even thought of tiying him to a chair, whilst i force vegetables down his throat. grin

EyeballsintheSky Wed 05-Aug-09 21:50:33

TBH I don't think it's something you can plan. At some point your dc will get stroppy with you holding the spoon and try to grab it. At that point hand it over and retreat to a safe distance

DD was using her spoon by 11 months and now, at 18 months she mostly eats all meals herself. But I have no idea if that's early, late or in betweeny.

DD is 8 months and is mostly self fed, but we are doing BLW. I give her a loaded spoon for eg yoghurt (god, the mess!!!), but she will no longer tolerate being spoon fed and just flaps her arms and hits the spoon if I try (even messier shock)

stitchtime I've been asked by two women in the past three days whether you can get adult-sized pelican bibs for their OHs grin

Basically, DD is 10 mo, BLWed, and my mum hates it. She hates everything about it - the fact you can't really tell how much she's eaten (despite the fact that she was ebf before BLWing, so we had no idea how much she'd had - and the fact she's huuuge), the amount of stuff left in her bib (we've started home composting again wink), the fact that DD puked up some banana in front of her about two days in (my mum is puke-phobic). To be fair, DD does seem to be a particularly messy eater (but does it really matter?).

My mum thinks we could have avoided all these things if I had just been sensible and gone the puree-feeding route. I keep saying that even if we had done that then she would be having finger foods by now and would presumably feed herself at some point. Last night mum said that when DD goes to stay with her, she would spoon-feed her. Bearing in mind that there are no sleepovers planned imminently (she's still waking a few times a night and bfing), so I would expect this to be at the age of hmm 2-3 years old, I was wondering how necessary/likely/enthusiastically received this was going to be!

gingertoo Wed 05-Aug-09 22:04:28

DS1 and 2 both went down the puree/mashed/lumpy/chopped route for weaning but DS3 would not take anything from a spoon - hated the idea - so weaning was finger foods all the way with him!

I always gave him a spoon and fork and would 'load them up' with food and leave them on the side of his bowl. He soon started picking up the spoon and putting it in his mouth and eventually began scooping up his own food with the spoon / stabbing things with a fork. He's now just turned two and completely self feeds (in a messy haphazard sort of way!)

So I agree with eyeballs, it's not really something you can plan too much - they are all different and all learn things in different ways.
My advice would be to eat with your little one as often as you can - they soon start to copy you (which isn't always a good thing when you've got older dcs around for them to copy, but that's another story....) and want to use cutlery etc.

Did BLW with DS, he was eating weetabix with a spoon by himself when I went back to work, so must have been around 11 months. It took forever though, and he often resorted to using his hands.

DD is 7 months (also BLW) and is eating tiny amounts of 'finger foods' and will grab a loaded spoon from me and post it into her mouth (unless it's weetabix...). I don't try and feed her in any way as I know she's getting most of what she needs from milk atm and will be eating more food in a couple of months.

littledee Wed 05-Aug-09 22:06:39

My dd (14mths) won't even hold her bedtime bottle, let alone a spoon - just does a shriek when I don't shovel the good stuff in quickly enough!! She eats the "slops" we leave in front of her on her high chair - bits of fruit, lambs liver (can't get enough) and fish fingers. We even leave bits of mashed potato and other veg. But spoon? No hope!! We have visions of her when she gets her 1st legal drink of ringing her dad to come down and hold the glass for her....wink

stitchtime Wed 05-Aug-09 22:28:28

i did the puree thing with my first two, but dd wouldnt consider it. she just flat out refused the purees. i persevered for a week, then gave up, and handed her the hunk of cheese, and the white of a hardboiled egg, the crust of toast, etc etc. she was not yet seven months old. at 8.5 months, she was eating biryani and seekh kebabs. i remember this, because it was a t a party, and the mother of an 8 month old was looking at me in horror whilst she spooned a jar of purree into her dc's mouth.
listen to your mom politely. she is after all your mom. dont get into any arguments with her. just dont do the sleepovers until your dd is older. and tbh, even if your mom does decied to spoonfeed her for one meal, it wont harm your dd, but it will harm your relationship withyour mom if you have a huge bustup over it.

Thanks stitch It isn't a serious argument by any means and we're not going to fall about it She does try hard not to interfere/criticise/etc but can't help herself sometimes and I quite understand. I don't think spoon-feeding DD would hurt her (I don't think she's let it happen, either, unless the entire meal consisted of ice cream), I just wanted to know how deluded my mum is grin

stitchtime Wed 05-Aug-09 22:53:23

MummyDragon Thu 06-Aug-09 09:20:07

Hi Dita,

Love the comment about your deluded mum! smile It's nice that she's involved with your DD though.

In a few months' time you will look back at this conversation and wonder why you were bothered about it at all, as fortunately the weaning process doesn't last too long. By the time your DD is about 14 months old she will be eating everything you eat (well, as long as she's not a fussy little so-and-so like my DC!!) - you may still have to chop/puree certain things, but it will all be soooo much easier.

I am NOT a huge fan of weaning, and would pay thousands of £££s to have someone else do it for me if I ever had a 3rd DC! smile

Basically, just be aware of choking hazards; otherwise, wean your child in whatever way you think is best, and all will be fine.

grin Just to clarify, this is really an argument that is just going on in my head - I mainly just smile and nod, but would like the satisfaction of the MN jury telling me that I'm right and purees are just as, if not more than, troublesome as BLW.

[This is very similar to the argument which DH and I have about who is the most tired, which is never allowed actually to happen because it's clearly me, so I just head it off at the pass whilst feeling smug about the fact it's me and I don't even need to argue about it. Though I do occasionally have the urge to start an AIBU about it so that I know MN agrees with me too. It is me though.]

Jas Thu 06-Aug-09 17:30:28

Are you a bit tired then, Dita?

DD1 was weaned with purees etc, and was entirely self feeding by 14 months (partly because dd2 was born then and she didn't want to wait for me).

By 2 she was also spoon feeding her sister!

MiniMarmite Thu 06-Aug-09 21:31:21

Dita,
(note, haven't read all posts in thread, sorry)

I went the puree route and I think you are right (in terms of eventually having finger food). For us it went like this:
- puree to start (started a bit early so say 6 weeks of this)
- a bit lumpy with some finger foods at around 7 months
- whole peas in food and lots of finger food around 8 months, stopped all blending.
Since 9 months some meals have been entirely finger food and others mixed spoon and finger feeding.

Having said that I do know a lot of people who still give much less finger food and still blend things.

Jas I am tiredest. It does not need to be discussed, it just is wink (My first pregnancy symptom was getting up twice a night to pee - that's 18 months without a full night's sleep!) Love the baby-feeding toddler!

Thanks MiniMarmite

Horton Wed 12-Aug-09 09:57:06

I'd be astonished if a BLW 2-3 year old would submit to being fed with a spoon! My DD started of on purées (I had never heard of BLW) but she only had them for a few weeks as one day she just stopped letting me put a spoon in her mouth. So I started giving her finger foods and she much preferred it. She will occasionally let me load a spoon or fork for her but certainly not put it in her mouth. She's nearly three now so that's nearly two and a half years that she hasn't let anyone else feed her for...

I don't think you need to argue about it because by the time your DD stays with your mum, she will be feeding herself pretty competently anyway.

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