How do I get my son to self feed?

Q: My son just turned one and will not put food in his mouth. I had tried puffs, cheerios, and mum mums and he will put them in my mouth but not his own. What should I do?

A: I think you might have to get a bit creative! I wonder if it would help if you encouraged your son to really play with his food. For instance, try putting some yogurt or applesauce on the tray of his highchair and show him how to swirl it around with his hands. Better yet, show him how to do it with your own hands. One-year-olds naturally put their hands in their mouths, and when your son tastes applesauce or yogurt on his fingers, he might get the idea that he can feed himself!

It also sounds as if your son might be counting on you and other adults to feed him. You might want to try sitting him in his highchair with some finger foods at snack time. You can sit down with him at the table and eat your snack, but don’t help him eat his. In other words, don’t feed him. If your son wants his snack, he’ll have to pick it up and eat it himself. If he doesn’t eat it, simply take him out of his highchair when snack time is over, and tell him he can have his snack when he’s ready to eat it himself. This will be a little tough for you, Mom, but it probably won’t take your son more than once or twice to learn that if he wants to eat his snack, he’ll have to feed it to himself.

Answered by Dr. Rallie McAllister

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