Getting Savvy About Self-Feeding

Find out when is the right time to let your little one eat on her own.
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Q: When should I start letting my 9-month-old daughter feed herself?

In the months before giving your baby a spoon, let her begin feeding herself some soft finger foods, such as a piece of roll or pieces of soft fruit, so she can get the feel of picking up food and directing it to her mouth, says Dr. Dreyer. But don't expect your baby to truly be able to feed herself once you give her a spoon.

Self-feeding is a slow process. It can take months before a baby eats a significant amount on her own. In fact, by 15 months, only about 50% of children spill less than half the food they attempt to get into their mouths, says Dr. Dreyer.

He advises parents to be patient: "By age 2, kids will be able to do most of the feeding themselves," he says.

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All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Copyright © 2002. Reprinted with permission from the February 2002 issue of Child Magazine.

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