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17mth old will not feed himself

(7 Posts)
Housewren Sat 13-Apr-13 15:29:38

My son is about 17 months old and still will not feed himself, he has never put a cracker in his mouth without me putting it in his hand and basically making him do it. Sometimes he lets you do this, sometimes he resists so I don't force him. He has never been one to put things in his mouth, only chews his fingers when his teeth are bothering him very occasionally he will suck the side of a box or toy but he never puts anything small in his mouth.
Has anyone else encountered this or any advice would be most appreciated.

jenduck Sat 13-Apr-13 15:50:41

My DS2 was exactly like this! He never put any toys in his mouth (which was great as I knew he wouldn't swallow random things!) & didn't feed himself for ages. It was a pain as, at an age when other babies would happily have a rusk for a snack or a sandwich for lunch, I was having to come up with lunches that I could spoon-feed him - scrambled eggs, ratatouille etc

He eventually started self-feeding at around 18 months & now, at 24 months, he will finger-feed himself absolutely anything & spoon-feed things that cling to the spoon (mashed potato, yoghurt etc) by himself & other stuff with help loading the spoon. He can also spear some food with a fork & feed it to himself.

He mostly just started doing it by himself, but with spoon-feeding I did put the spoon in his hand, put my hand over his then guide him. With finger foods, at first I would put the food into his hands then he would eat it, but then he just graduated onto doing it all himself.

FWIW, DS2 is a very laidback child & has been on the late side doing pretty much everything, so I think it's just his nature, I wonder if your DC is similar?

Goldmandra Sat 13-Apr-13 16:29:16

I have looked after a little one who did this.

I talked it through with other Early Years professionals and realised that I needed to build very slowly on what he would do.

I started by feeding him with a spoon but gently putting his hand onto mine as I moved the spoon to his mouth. After a week or so I started to hesitate a little before the spoon reached his mouth and he began to push a little with his hand to move the spoon towards his mouth.

I built on this by getting him to do more and more moving the spoon towards his mouth over a period of weeks and then I started to put his hand on the spoon rather than my hand.

I did the same with finger food, putting his hand on mine and hesitating a little right by his mouth. Once he was pushing my hand to get the food in, I started not quite getting every bit of food completely into his mouth. I didn't do this with every piece of food, maybe two or three per meal. At first he would try to use his lips to manoeuvre the food right in but after a while he started to use his hand.

Once he was doing this I started to hand food or the loaded spoon to him to put in his mouth.

With an enormous amount of time and patience, in the end we made it to the point where he would pick up the food and feed himself and, once he started, he never looked back smile

Housewren Sat 13-Apr-13 19:28:09

my son is on the late side of reaching the development milestones, some things he is delayed in, like not standing or walking, not waving or pointing
I have been doing the hand over hand for about 2 months and he resists as much as he lets me, if i try to get him to take more control he lets go of the spoon, or picks it up from the bowl and drops it on the floor, we ayve 4 different types of spoons, none make a difference to his independence, if I hold a cracker in my hand he either pulls my hand towards his mouth and takes it or leans over and takes it directly from my hand.
It is nice to hear we are not alone in this and I shall just keep plodding on, we are having a very stubborn whinning day today

jenduck Sat 13-Apr-13 19:46:42

If it reassures you, DS2 seemed to have a developmental spurt around 17.5-18 months when he suddenly started waving, walking & self-feeding all at once (still not a great pointer or talker but communicates very well!) Sometimes I think they just take time to master things & can be a little stubborn smile

MariahHairy Sat 13-Apr-13 20:27:06

Tbh, if he is not standing, walking, pointing, waving or self feeding at 17month then I would be concerned. Have you talked to GP and/or HV?

any other concerns? speech and understanding of language ok?

Housewren Sun 14-Apr-13 03:00:35

Thanks Jen it is reassuring, he started giving me toys to play with him, or takes my hand and shows me how to play with certain toys, he has been emptying baskets for a few months now but recently started putting things in, he puts things like small balls into cups etc, he will sit alone contentley and look at books or just play with this toys for ages. He examines everything from all angles and likes to drop things and watch where they went.

Mariah, We live in the USA atm, moving home in just over a week so we have not had much support, our doctor was awful, not helpful and failed to diagnose reflux, allergies, torticollis and flat head, i visited family in england when he was 6mths and had all these diagnosed when we saw a hv. so I rely on advice from other parents. He says a few words clearly but has a vast range or sounds, he definitely makes himself understood with gestures, he can be quite stubborn too he says and shakes his head for no and says a form of yes appropriately, when he wants too. He can use one finger to push food that is falling out of his mouth back in. He can use a straw sippy cup on his own, he can pick it up from the floor and manipulate it round to use correctly.
His comprehension seems very good, even if he ignores what I am asking, he sometimes just smiles and carries on!
His memory is very good and his problem solving skills seem to be fine.
He is a very affectionate loving boy and likes playing with other familiar people.
I am seeing a hv as soon as I can once we are home to have a proper assessment.

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