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Any ideas on encouranging to eat with fingers?

(12 Posts)
IndiaBound Tue 04-Mar-14 20:04:42


Our DD is 10.4 mo, 8.5mo adjusted.

She tends to run about three months behind the milestones - so is just learning to sit unassisted (once you put her in the position and settle her she will maintain it whilst looking around etc. for a length of time between 20s and 3 or 4 mins).

She has been on semi-solids and now more solid food (like pasta with sauce, mashed fruit and the like) for a few months and eats a hearty three meals a day and two large bottles of milk.

However, we just can't get her interested in finger foods (although I wouldn't say we have dedicated too much time to it).

She is in a high chair with a tray about just-under-chest height and if we put a favoued toy on the tray, she will pick it up if she is interested, thrash it about, then drop it. However, if we put chunks of fruit, cereal, etc. on the tray, she may swipe at them, but nothing gets picked up.

She does pick items up at other times of the day and then gum them.

She loves her natural sweet stuff - yogurt, mashed fruits, sucking on ripe strawberries, etc.

I tried tonight holding a chunk of strawberry for her to suck on, then took her hand and had to force it into it (gently of course), moved the hand to the mouth and held it. She sucked on the fruit but the moment I let go, the fruit fell - so she was not really holding it.

So, any ideas please ....

meerschweinchen Tue 04-Mar-14 21:32:47

What about foods that are a bit firmer, so she can get a better grip? Things like strips of toast maybe? Or a large chunk of fruit? A strip of melon, mango etc? Dried apple rings are also quite good. Plenty for the baby to hold on to, and easy for them to just suck away on it, with no real danger of choking. She probably wouldn't be able to really eat it, but it's quite good for practising!

Also, do you give her a beaker of water? Picking a beaker up and drinking from it is quite good practice for her too.

But to be honest, if she's eating well, I really wouldn't worry too much. I'm sure eating with her fingers will come in time!

IndiaBound Wed 05-Mar-14 08:50:30

The apple rings sound a good idea so will try that later.

She is fed from a droid (sp?) cup during meals - she is nowhere near the stage where she could purposely pick a cup up and guide it to her mouth - although if I left it there she would pick it up and thrash it around I'm sure!

cestlavielife Wed 05-Mar-14 11:54:16

has she had a full developmental assessment for motor skills etc ?
is she getting any physio or OT input for sitting etc - I know she just on her adjusted timeline but it doesnt do any harm to get some input. it is important she develops the motor skills correctly and a few sessions of physio may really help and also give you ideas. if her core strength is poor ie she not sitting up well or properly then droppping things is inevitable. make sure her seating has been reviewed - she may need extra support .

you can also get referred to a specialist feeding advisor - ask hv or paed to refer you - they are usually very helpful and will see her for as many sessions as needed and give you tips . OT can also give advice on feeding in terms of sitting, support, cups etc.

keep a food diary for a week previously.

has her vision been properly checked?

minipie Wed 05-Mar-14 12:21:58

DD was 6 weeks prem.

I can't remember exactly what finger foods she was eating at your DD's age, but I can tell you it's only been quite recently that she has been able to handle slippery things like fruit (and she is now 16 mo).

Breadsticks were the first thing she could hold and munch on, followed by sticks of hardish cheese (emmental is quite low in salt and perfect texture as it doesn't crumble). Rice cakes came soon after. So maybe try those?

In general I have noticed that DD's fine motor skills and hand eye coordination have been slower than her gross motor skills - yours may be the same.

IndiaBound Wed 05-Mar-14 19:06:33

cest... - yes she is under physio assistance (which undoubtedly helped with her being able to sit from the exercises) and today saw an OT for the first time who stated she had developed equal to a "6 to 7 month old" and quite chirpily said "we will get there!" and has arranged a home visit.

We actually put apple rings out for her today and when we came back in the room she had one in her mouth - almost brought us to tears (of joy!).

Of course, she has refused to touch one since but we've seen it happen so it can only be practice, etc. I guess / hope!

Any other suggestions - I find this place so reassuring (pity it is not called mumsanddadsnet ;-)

minipie Wed 05-Mar-14 19:12:51

Well there you go then... at 6-7 months most babies wouldn't be able to grasp fruit either and would just thwack at it.

As long as she is making progress, that's the main thing. The apple rings sound great. Do try breadsticks (the waitrose love life ones are very low in salt)!

Frontdoorstep Wed 05-Mar-14 21:28:33

Perhaps not the politest idea, but ok in your own home, how about if you also ate with your fingers for a while, you know if she sees you picking food up she might be encouraged to try too.

IndiaBound Tue 11-Mar-14 14:59:56

OK, now she has the hang of it we have another problem ... so I'm turning once again to you excellent mums.

We found that if we are in the room, she is far more interested in being fed and looking at us - smiling as we point out the finger food but not going for it.

By accident, we left the room once and when we came back she had some apple in her mouth.

Today we tried her on toast and jam and sure enough, once we hid behind the door she picked it up and started gumming it.

Then the problem - suddenly she starts choking. We were straight there, held her upside down and a little slap had a gummed piece of bread on the floor ... and DD laughing her head off (she loves being upside down).

So, we need to keep her eating more and more herself, will probably need to be out of sight for sometime, but don't want her gumming off pieces she can choke on.

Is it just a case of staying with larger lumps of offerings or some other tactic?

minipie Tue 11-Mar-14 16:30:11

I have found that DD is better at exploring new foods if I am not hovering over her. So I go off and do some tidying at the other side of the kitchen, not really paying attention to what she is doing but still there. Would that work for you? You are still close enough to see any choking.

Apple I have found DD still chokes on at 16 months... she now eats it grated.

Are you sure it was choking not just gagging it up? Gagging is normal and part of learning what they can and can't manage. Choking ie unable to breathe is obviously not ok though!

IndiaBound Wed 12-Mar-14 09:00:27

Maybe it was gagging actually - hence the laughter.

minipie Wed 12-Mar-14 09:49:55

Gagging is still very scary, can understand why you turned her upside down!

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