I Can Do It Myself

My toddler is in that independent stage where he doesn’t want my help when it comes to feeding. We are far beyond Cheerios and other simple finger foods, my son fully expects to eat what he sees on our plates. I have to admit, it is so much easier now that he eats regular foods. It’s also fun to watch him try something new and say “yum”. This weekend he hit a milestone, he successfully started using a fork. He doesn’t poke the food himself (he allows me to perform this step), but he is very steady with putting the fork into his mouth all on his own.

I have tried introducing small plastic bowls with a couple of pieces of food inside; however, it all ends up on the floor. I’m thinking of purchasing kid friendly dishes with suction cups to see if that helps. I typically just put bite size food pieces on his high chair tray and let him pick it up with his fingers (which he thoroughly enjoys), but I know we’re getting to the point where he really should try to be like the rest of civilization and use plates and utensils.

Check Out My New ForkI thought having an indoor dog would help with all the messes my little guy makes at meal time but man, was I wrong. Perhaps in her old age she is losing her sense of smell or something, I shouldn’t have to point out where the food is. She likes to camp out underneath my son’s high chair when he is eating and prefers catching the food as it falls instead of eating the crumbs off the floor. Unfortunately, she has been hit in the face a few times with a flying sippy cup, but it never seems to deter her from trying to catch a morsel!

I am open to advice from all those parents who have been here before. Are some plates, bowls and/or utensils better than others? I’m also struggling with finding a sippy cup that doesn’t leak! I have tried a huge assortment and they all leak! My son prefers the ones with straws and likes to flick the milk all over the place.

What I have learned about self feeding is this:

  • Let the child eat in his or her diaper! There is less clean up this way. If you are brave enough to let your child wear clothing, OxiClean Baby stain remover is a great product for making stains disappear.
  • Not sure if my son is trying to save a snack for later in the day, but he likes to rub food in his hair.
  • I am not opposed to giving a morning bath if necessary! Our pool is just as effective if the Florida weather is cooperating.
  • Offer a variety of foods. Like us, baby may not be in the mood for a certain food.
  • Indoor dogs help with meal time clean-up but do NOT let that be the reason you get a dog. They also create huge messes!!
  • Keep the vacuum cleaner close by! Even if you have a dog, there will still be crumbs leftover.
  • Despite the mess, let baby have fun! Stop the urge to wipe baby’s hands every time there is food on them. A child needs to explore and this is how they learn.
  • Recognize when baby is finished. My son starts to wipe his tray with his hands and smear food everywhere (this is my cue to step in and start the clean up process).

I haven’t been brave enough to let him try oatmeal or yogurt on his own yet (and to be honest, I am not looking forward to it either). Bananas are bad enough!

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