Friday, April 13, 2007

to feed or not?

Well, of course, I mean we need to feed our babies :)

But, I am curious about fellow moms' thoughts and experiences with teaching self-feeding to their wee ones.

To set things up a bit, my wee one started feeding herself at 8 months. About 6th month, we introduced cereal mixed with mom's milk, maybe stage 1 foods and such. Around 7th month we started finger foods like zweiback toast, barley biscuit, fruit puffs and such around snack time, the kind that melt in the mouth with a touch of saliva. She still hadn't gotten any teeth around then, and my mum and mum-in-law assured me that her jaws are made for mashing, even if she has no teeth. But, just to make sure nothing gets caught in the throat and such, her lunches and dinners would be put through a food mill, with some texture - not fully mushy... and was easy as I was making her foods at home.

Then, we started putting the meal in a bowl on her tray in her high chair, feed her a couple of spoons, and leave the spoon handy to see if she felt like feeding herself... at 9 months, she would reach for the spoon from my hands and try to take it to her mouth.

It was very interesting to see her reach for the food and try to take it to her mouth. It was funny as well, of course, as her motor skills weren't all that developed, so she was not quite well co-ordinated :)

But, her pediatrician assured me she is more than ready to handle all that self-feeding and that it is good for her, developmentally.

Boy, was it messy, but, it was also fun. Only when she was sick, or exhausted, she expected me to feed her.

On the other hand, my littlest nephew refuses to sit in high-chair, he is 1½ years old, doesn't show much interest in feeding himself, and his mom runs behind him and tries to feed him. She has always fed him. She says she didn't really try to encourage him to eat on his own as it got too messy...

So, dear moms, what are your thoughts on teaching your babies to self-feed:
What age did they start eating on their own?
What sort of foods got them started?
Did you prefer to feed them yourself?
If so, did you prefer to seat them in high-chair or just walk/crawl around with them and feed them on the go?
Did nursing interfere with getting them to self-feed solid foods?
At what age did you establish regular meal times?
Did you let them graze every two hours in small portions?
When did you start giving store-bought foods for your baby?
When did they start eating pretty much what you eat - no special baby foods, just regular home food?

17 comments:

Sandeepa said...

Sheela, Enabled the comments. Did you want it disbaled ? Don't think so

Shall come back with my views later

Asha said...

Hi Sheela,you are doing a great job already girl,you don't need any advice!:))

I breastfed my kids until they are 11 mnts old!!I gave them soilds like baby cereals when they were about 4mnts.Although we had high chair,I carried them and fed them to avoid the mess!;D
Snacks and finger foods were eaten on the high chair.kids are amazing,they feed themselves as much as they need and not more!We tend to overfeed when we do it ourselves!:)
Enjoy your baby.

gayathre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gayathre said...

Hi Sheela,
i agree with Ashaji.we tend to overfeed kids but they eat correct amounts if they feed themselves.My daughter started eating by herself when she was abt 1 and a half.we make it a point to feed her on busy days because of the mess and to save time.on weekends,we try to make her eat by herself.i first started with tiffin like idli,dosa,etc and later she started eating rice,upma by spoon.it was really after going to daycare,that she wanted to sit on a chair by the table and eat,like the other kids there.i guess we must not pressurize them and with a little patience,they will do just fine.

swapna said...

Hi sheela
My daughter eats breakfast by herself.(any type of break fast either it is a dosa or upma..)But when comes to the rice she don't want to eat by herself.i have to motivate her to eat.but not bad.she eats by herself sometimes and she want me to feed her sometimes.
She is of 3 now.She is not going to any school or daycare now.Actually i think kids, when once they go to school they will learn automatically to eat by themselves.There is no need to worry about it.
I started her giving the homemade food only from the beginning.(i mean once she is start to eat the rice and all.)I used to feed her the break fast (idli)In a small amount in the morning.And at 12 she used to take her dinner (boiled dal,rasam and curd in small small amounts.)When she is 2and half i have started the regular food that we take.but with less spiciness.Now she takes whatever we eat.(ofcourse not that much spicy...)She is fine in her health conditions also.

From the beginning i used to feed her to make her sit in my lap and once she started to sit by her own i used to make her sit bu my side and feed.I believe that it is not good for the kids to move around while eating.

swapna said...

Hi sheela
My daughter eats breakfast by herself.(any type of break fast either it is a dosa or upma..)But when comes to the rice she don't want to eat by herself.i have to motivate her to eat.but not bad.she eats by herself sometimes and she want me to feed her sometimes.
She is of 3 now.She is not going to any school or daycare now.Actually i think kids, when once they go to school they will learn automatically to eat by themselves.There is no need to worry about it.
I started her giving the homemade food only from the beginning.(i mean once she is start to eat the rice and all.)I used to feed her the break fast (idli)In a small amount in the morning.And at 12 she used to take her dinner (boiled dal,rasam and curd in small small amounts.)When she is 2and half i have started the regular food that we take.but with less spiciness.Now she takes whatever we eat.(ofcourse not that much spicy...)She is fine in her health conditions also.

From the beginning i used to feed her to make her sit in my lap and once she started to sit by her own i used to make her sit bu my side and feed.I believe that it is not good for the kids to move around while eating.

Dee said...

Hi Sheela,
I used to feed Chintu initially when he was around 4 months to 8 months. Then I started placing him on the high chair and he would eat with both his hands and also the spoon (amazing sight to watch) :). Now that he is getting older and has opinions of his own (!), he prefers sitting on my lap by the table and eat of his plate. I feed him intermittently as I am afraid he might not eat enough (I think its a mom thing to think kids never eat enough, as Asha said).
But one thing I have noticed is that the efforts to make him eat has drastically reduced since he has started feeding himself. I used to spend a looottt of energy trying to feed him before this.
-Dee

Sheela said...

sandeepa, thanks! sorry, i was too groggy to notice that comment was not enabled...

Kay said...

Wow! reading all these comments make me wonder what I'll be up against, in a few months. :)

dd (almost 7 mo) has just been started on solids and is breastfeeding too. So, don't have any advice on original topic.

Kay said...

Sheela, dd is also reaching for the spoon when I'm feeding her solids... so maybe this is a clue to me, that I should give her the opportunity to feed herself?? (well, not right now...but maybe in a few months)

Sandeepa said...

What age did they start eating on their own?

Finger Foods started pretty early but since our regular food is always rice with some gravy-ish stuff its hard to let her eat and then clean the mess.
But now she eats even rice and the gravyy-ish thing on her own, but I feed off and on, mostly to move things fast and some days I enjoy the feeding ritual

What sort of foods got them started?

Mostly Finger Foods, biscuits, cheese, cut up fruit, small pieces of paratha/roti, macaroni

Did you prefer to feed them yourself?

Yes the main meals

If so, did you prefer to seat them in high-chair or just walk/crawl around with them and feed them on the go?
No. High Chair is best. In summer once in awhile we would sit on the deck

Did nursing interfere with getting them to self-feed solid foods?

I wasn't able to nurse that long, nursed till 6 months

At what age did you establish regular meal times?

As soon as she started on the veggies, rice etc. after 7 months

Did you let them graze every two hours in small portions?
Sometimes to keep her occupied

When did you start giving store-bought foods for your baby?

I used Gerber early on too specially the Organic Fruit

When did they start eating pretty much what you eat - no special baby foods, just regular home food?

Soon after Gerber I started her on dal-chawal with veggies etc., then after a year gradually light fish or chicken in Indian style gravy specially made for her with some cinnamon, cardamom etc. thrown in.

Even now she can eat our food but I prefer to make a separete dish for her which has several veggies in the gravy. The gravy I prepare like a Indian stew with ginger, and garam masala but no chilli

Latha said...

It's so silly i can't remember when exactly my little one started to eat by himself... perhaps it was very gradual:) well, I breast-fed him until he was a little over 1 but in the meanwhile he started on fruit, veg purees from 8th month. i think by 10 month he started handling the spoon and loved to throw the food all over the place. but one good thing i still appreciate about ourselves (mean my husband n me) is getting him started on a high chair. they do learn to fix this routine of eating and just concentrate on that task. i feel that helps them with eating to their liking and limit.

but now since he's 2 over a month the trouble of saying 'no' has begun. nevertheless he still likes to eat whatever we eat and tho' it's still messy he likes to eat by himself. i do get irritated at times about cleaning but when i think calmly i know it's silly and that i shldn't discourage him. so coz of my baby i have learnt to cook more balanced meals and share my lunch (dinner is always earlier for him) with him.

i love this blog...

Prema Sundar said...

Hi sheela ,
I breast fed my daughter upto 1 year.i started the finger foods at 5 th month . I started to give rice at 7th month. Then slowly I added dal and veggies too. After one year I started to give her what we cook for us. I mixed very little of spicy gravies with rice and added ghee to it. Now she eats all the indian foods we cook at home. But the only problem with her is she wont eat by herself.. I have to feed her all the time. I feel bad abt not encouraging her in the early stages as i really enjoyed feeding her and she eats very less if she eats on her own.I Iam doing all I can to make her eat on her own now ..

Praba said...

Hi Sheela -

First kid: b/fed for nine months. started her on organic cereals, and jar foods (veggies/fruit) uptil 8 months, and transitioned her to regular foods.

yes high chair until 2-2.5 yrs...then started dodging...had to be after her with the bowl feeding..started getting better after she started school...Not big on plain milk...I give her chocolate milk, or plain milk on cereal...She is 5, and overall a healthy eater but not big on desi foods as much as I would like her to be - eats parppu chaadham and other dry veggies cooked the tamil way but no kootu etc. and gravy like curries...dont know when she will eat those....

With my 9 month old infant: I still b/feed, and will do so until at least her first bday...started her on organic cereals at 6 months...she is on a high-chair since 8 months...Since I didnt pump or no formula, I was at a loss as to what to mix cereal with, although water is fine...but, i mixed cereals with mushhed bananas and water....apple sauce (organic store bought)....I told myself, I am not doing the "pureed veggie/fruit" - no storebought or homemade...I was pretty sure cereals are enough for 2 whole months...since she turned 8 months, i am giving her dhal, and rice...now veggies in finger food form - soft and i mush it a little...not like puree but individual pieces mushed...she is fine...i did diced carrots, beets, green beans..She eats only apple sauce and regular bananas, and thats good enough for me until she is a year or so...veggies - slowly will give her other kind...

(I AM PRETTY CLEAR my baby doesnt need butter-nut squash and sweet potato puree...) i don't eat them in the first place...funny - i did all of these with my first one when she was an infant for a couple of months thinking I am sinning if I don't give her these foods early - the different colors and all, and that was it - after that none of these vegetables came into our house...not that there's anything wrong with these veggies - really - i think it's too much of a hype! I used to think if I don't stage 1 with my kid, she is not going to know how to eat stage 2...and so on and so forth...

here's my take on jar foods: is baby food industry a billion dollar market ...need to research that...completely driven by corporate profit motives...

Praba said...

Asha -

Apologize for not leaving comments...Lovely, lovely recipes!!!

What pretty flowers...

on a completely diff note:
I was reading the lacrosse case ruling in NYTimes - I just thought about you while reading the article because it was in NC..:-)
Are you in durham county?

ok, have to go to aroma to get the recipe for "malai maar ke"...i have had it 3 times at least...i need to by-heart it...:-):-)


thanks a ton! have a great weekend..

praba

Praba said...

Hi Sheela -

First kid: b/fed for nine months. started her on organic cereals, and jar foods (veggies/fruit) uptil 8 months, and transitioned her to regular foods.

yes high chair until 2-2.5 yrs...then started dodging...had to be after her with the bowl feeding..started getting better after she started school...Not big on plain milk...I give her chocolate milk, or plain milk on cereal...She is 5, and overall a healthy eater but not big on desi foods as much as I would like her to be - eats parppu chaadham and other dry veggies cooked the tamil way but no kootu etc. and gravy like curries...dont know when she will eat those....

With my 9 month old infant: I still b/feed, and will do so until at least her first bday...started her on organic cereals at 6 months...she is on a high-chair since 8 months...Since I didnt pump or no formula, I was at a loss as to what to mix cereal with, although water is fine...but, i mixed cereals with mushhed bananas and water....apple sauce (organic store bought)....I told myself, I am not doing the "pureed veggie/fruit" - no storebought or homemade...I was pretty sure cereals are enough for 2 whole months...since she turned 8 months, i am giving her dhal, and rice...now veggies in finger food form - soft and i mush it a little...not like puree but individual pieces mushed...she is fine...i did diced carrots, beets, green beans..She eats only apple sauce and regular bananas, and thats good enough for me until she is a year or so...veggies - slowly will give her other kind...

(I AM PRETTY CLEAR my baby doesnt need butter-nut squash and sweet potato puree...) i don't eat them in the first place...funny - i did all of these with my first one when she was an infant for a couple of months thinking I am sinning if I don't give her these foods early - the different colors and all, and that was it - after that none of these vegetables came into our house...not that there's anything wrong with these veggies - really - i think it's too much of a hype! I used to think if I don't stage 1 with my kid, she is not going to know how to eat stage 2...and so on and so forth...

here's my take on jar foods: is baby food industry a billion dollar market ...need to research that...completely driven by corporate profit motives...

Archana said...

Thanks to Kay for informing me on this site! I am mom to 11 month old twins and they have been trying table foods or solids since they were about 4.5 months olds. I spoon fed them initially when they were really young but gave them spoons to play with at the same time. When they turned about 7 months I started doing basic finger foods like banana, teething biscuits, mashed vegggies like carrots/peas, puffs, things that they could melt easily. In the last 2 to 3 months they are very independent and eat most things by themselves and dont let me feed much unless they are in a hurry! I have to hand them over spoons of food to eat. Its extremely messy and tedious but I think eventually it will be good as I dont have to run behind them to eat. I even recently posted on my blog on this.. check it out:
http://www.bhat.net/2007/04/eating-noshing-slurping-spitting.html

We are currently doing three meals at the table (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in their booster seats and some snacks as well. By the time they are 12 months I plan to give them tiny snacks in the booster seats as well. I will pretty much be tied to the house at the rate I am going but I would like my kids to learn to eat by themselves now so that I can fight other battles later.

With twins, its all about efficiencies at times. :)

Thanks again kay for inviting me here. I will keep dropping in from time to time.

Archana