A New Mum’s Guide To Baby Self-Feeding

Switching from a milk-only diet to solids is a major milestone for your baby. Rather than spoon-feeding, many parents believe in letting babies learn how to self-feed which considering you are here, you might agree as well. Babies master crucial developmental skills through the self-feeding process. Here’s a basic guide on how to get started, what food to prepare, and what self-feeding essentials to get.

When Can Babies Start Eating Solids

During the first few months after delivery, the only food your baby needs is breast milk or formula milk. By the 4th to 6th month, most babies would be able to take some solid food to complement milk. Aside from age, there are few other ways to determine whether your baby is ready for solid food.

First of all, observe if your baby is able to sit independently without your support, and hold his or her head in an upright and straight position. You can also check whether your baby is constantly chewing on things such as teethers or toys, or even his or her own hands. Furthermore, if your baby shows interest in trying food while watching you eat, it is most likely a sign to start solids as well.

It is important to introduce your baby to solid food at the right time. If you start too early, your baby might choke, and this may negatively impact how he or she feels about eating in the future. Likewise, starting too late might cause delayed eating skills. If you have any doubts about your baby’s readiness to eat, be sure to approach your pediatrician.

How Self-Feed Benefits Baby

Allowing your baby to self-feed will benefit him or her in many ways. Here are some of these benefits:

 

  1. Develops Coordination Skills
    Your baby gets to learn important motor skills and train muscles in the process of self-feeding. Simple self-feed movements like scooping food with hands or eating with spoon and fork actually help babies to develop coordination skills.


  2. Promotes Sensory Stimulation
    Playing with toys isn’t the only way to stimulate your baby’s senses. When babies touch, feel or even squish food, it encourages sensory stimulation through the different texture and taste of food.

  3. Encourages Independence
    Self-feeding helps babies learn to be more independent through the process of putting food into their mouths with their hands, as well as using tableware such as spoons, forks, and cups. Although these may seem like easy actions, they actually teach your baby to decide on how much to scoop, how long to chew, and whether they are full on their own.

Best Baby Foods To Introduce Self-Feed

Baby foods are commonly categorized into three different stages based on their texture, taste and digestibility. To ensure your baby smoothly transitions from milk to solids, feed your baby with milk before giving them little bites of food when you first start.

As this is a general guideline, your baby may enter the different stages of food according to their own pace. You should talk to your pediatrician for professional guidance on whether your baby is ready to advance to a particular stage.

Stage 1: Age 4 to 6 Months

The consistency of food in this stage should be thin and watery, you can mix purees with breastmilk or formula to create a runny consistency. It is recommended for stage 1 food to only have one ingredient, and is finely-pureed without any chunks. Some examples include pureed sweet potatoes, pureed carrots, and pureed apples.

Stage 2: Age 7 to 8 Months

When your little one is already experienced with solid food, you can start preparing your purees in a slightly thicker texture and using more than one ingredient. This is also when your baby is introduced to more complex flavours. Discover your baby’s favourite puree flavours with combinations like banana and avocado, cauliflower and spinach, green peas and mushrooms, just to name a few.

Stage 3: Age 9 to 12 Months

As your baby enters stage 3, you may prepare puree with thicker texture compared to stage 2, and even include small chunks of food that are easy to chew. For instance, well-cooked and diced vegetables and meat. Once your baby passes the 12th month, you may gradually let him or her have the same food that your family is having.

Self-Feeding Essentials

Now that you have a better idea on when to let your baby start self-feeding, let’s get down to the list of self-feeding essentials to prepare:

  • Baby High Chair
    Once your baby learns how to self-feed, adding a high chair in your kitchen allows your baby to join family meal time together. When choosing a high chair, find one that is stable, comfortable, easy-to-clean, and adjustable.

  • Non-Spill Bowls & Plates
    Your baby is going to spend a big part of the self-feeding journey having fun with touching, squeezing, mashing and tasting food. And having non-spill bowls and plates will be super helpful for you to minimize the mess. Look for tableware with suction pads at the bottom, and the ones that are made of safe and durable material like silicone.

  • Baby Spoon & Fork
    Normal silverware may be too heavy or sharp for your baby. Getting baby spoons and forks that are light and easy for your baby to hold will encourage your baby to self-feed. Do make sure your baby’s cutlery is free from harmful chemicals like BPA and Phthalate.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, baby self-feeding is all about helping your baby to build a healthy relationship with food for the long run. And with the right self-feeding tools, your baby will be more motivated to learn. Among all the babies online shopping websites in Singapore, MumChecked rewards you with exclusive gift cards and discounts as you review or shop for baby products. Find the best baby self-feeding tools by reading the reviews of other moms.

Lastly, learn to embrace the mess, and watch how your baby grows along his or her exploration of food!

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