Self-Feeding is Incredibly Messy
By this age, most children are weaning from the breast or bottle (or maybe not!) and transitioning to three regular meals a day of solid food. Tune into your child’s cues and follow his lead – and if he isn’t catching on at first, be patient!
Don’t compare your child to other children. There is a quote that states “comparison is the thief of joy,” and it really is. All children develop at an individual pace, and your toddler will eventually learn to use a fork and drink from a cup.
Offer a variety of foods and allow your child to experiment with tastes and textures. This is a great time to start having fun at mealtimes by making faces on pancakes with fresh fruit or cutting shapes into grilled cheese. Making food fun will encourage your child to try new things… although, if your toddler throws the heart-shaped sandwiches to the floor after you spent forever making them, you might have to take some deep breaths.
Self-feeding is incredibly messy. Encourage your child to practice using a spoon and consider putting a plastic mat on the floor beneath her high chair until she gets the hang of it. The mess is well worth the increase in independence and improvement in hand-eye coordination!
Scary Mommy Tip: Silicone bibs with a pocket at the bottom will catch some of the mess and make for a much easier clean-up after meals. You can even toss them in the dishwasher!