07 December 2009

Self Feeding Gets Messier

We've resolved to accept the mess. Or at least deal with it. Which usually means one of us is left to clean the table and floor while the other dunks the boy in the tub.

Sheridan has great aim. When he wants to put the spoon in his mouth, he does it well. But, part of learning to self feed means starting by exploring and playing with the food.

So, we let him explore. Which means he grabs a fist full of food and squishes it, throws it on the floor, wipes it in his hair, smears it all over the table, throws the spoon(s) on the floor, or all of the above.

But, through this play and exploration, he's learning to independently use the spoon, scoop the food, and bring it to his mouth.

We really try to encourage him to do this as much as possible, but it's not something we can do at every meal very single day. Why you ask?

Case in point... this morning's breakfast:

Porridge + Blueberries = Yummy

Blueberries + White Shirt = Mommy's Poor Planning (and a tough load of laundry)

Notice... he does a nice job of carefully placing the spoon in the bowl so he can scoop...

Of course, he needs to take a step back for a moment to assess his masterpiece hard work...

Then, of course, there's the ceremonial throwing of the spoon...

This is where spoons go to die...

He always looks so proud of himself...

And I'll admit... I'm proud of him, too. He's actually doing really well with spoon and fork feeding.

But, alas, not every breakfast can be this way. So it will take some time. But he's making great progress!

I do have one question for anybody out there who might have suggestions...

Sheridan doesn't eat from his fingers/hands. In other words, no matter what food I put in front of him (cut up fruit, cereal Os, crackers, even his porridge), he won't pick it up with his fingers/hands and put it in his mouth. He will pick it up and tear everything to tiny crumbs, or sweep everything off the table, or pick each piece up one by one, look at it, and then throw it onto the ground. Every once in a great while I notice that he's got a cereal O in his mouth, but he really won't eat out of his own hands/fingers. But he will feed me. He just won't put it in his own mouth.

I've heard that this is often how it starts, but it's been going on for some time now. Any ideas for how I can encourage him to eat with his hands? We always put items out on the table with every meal. Any other suggestions?

I'm sure one day I'll complain that he only wants to eat with his hands and won't use his fork... but right now we're having the exact opposite issue.


  1. Joaquin would put every toy in his mouth but never food so we had the same problem. He also would just throw his finger food on the ground whenever we put stuff in front of him to eat. Then we realized when we offered food to him on the floor or from the floor (I know gross and unsanitary but oh well!) he would put it in his mouth....so now he eats finger foods and we've been able to MOSTLY transition back to the chair but he still prefers to have a picnic on the floor. We haven't even attempted spoon feeding because I'm just not able to keep up with the mess....one of the down sides to having a household full of kids. Take advantage of the time you have with Sheridan alone to work on these things :)!!!

  2. Thanks, Jen! Sheridan does the same exact thing... he'll put anything BUT food in his mouth. It's so nice to know others have tackeled this issue!!! Thanks for the tip. I'm looking forward to a picnic with Sheridan :)

  3. Hahaha - love the spoon graveyard!