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Healthy You

Spoon-Fed to Self-Serve: When to Transition Your Baby

Thursday, May 17, 2012 8:07 AM

The first year of your baby’s life will involve various dietary changes. For the first three to four months, your infant will only need breast milk or formula.

As your baby begins to hold his head up, is teething and shows interest in food (at around four to six months), you can start to introduce pureed foods and cereals (iron-fortified) into their diet.

This transition may be messy at first. Over time your baby will become more independent (and interested!) in feeding himself/herself. When do you know it is a good time to hand the spoon over?
Sharon Robinson, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, provides some tips on how you can transition your child from being spoon-fed to beginning to eat on their own:

  • Encourage your baby to hold, touch and sample food on his own.
  • Let your baby help you put the spoon into his mouth during feedings. Once he is comfortable on his own, let him do it by himself.
  • Offer your baby finger foods. You can then gradually transition to a spoon.
  • Plan to eat your meal at the same time as your baby. This will reinforce correct behaviors and encourage independence.
  • Be patient and don’t rush your baby. At first more food may end up on the ground than in your baby’s mouth. Over time your baby will learn how to eat properly with making such a mess.

When did your kids start eating solid foods? How old were they when they began feeding themselves? What were some of their favorite foods?