Feeding Themselves

When your baby is about 7 to 9 months old, you may notice that everything he finds seems to go straight into his mouth. This is a good sign that he is ready to try to feed himself. Good choices to start with are “finger foods” that dissolve easily – like baby crackers, dry adult cereal, plain cookies, and small pieces of bread or sliced cheese. Give him a spoon to practice with. Let him “help” with his spoon, while you feed him with another.

Seven to 9 months is also a good time to let him try a few sips from a cup – with your help of course. A two-handled plastic “sippy” cup works best until your baby is about 10 to 12 months old.

Expect and prepare for a mess! For now, eating is playtime and a time for learning. Manners come much later. A lot of his food and drink will end up on him or the floor. Big bibs are helpful. Also, try to plan these meals around bath time.

Keep in mind that letting him feed himself doesn’t mean leaving him alone or unattended. He may feed himself too fast or too much and choke or gag. Other children may feed him what they are eating. Pets can also decide to help themselves to his food. So keep an eye on your little one while he eats.

More About Starting Your Baby on Solids Foods

When should I offer solid foods and what should those foods be?
Is Your Baby Ready to Try Solid Foods?
Changes in Bowel Movements
Feeding Himself
Shopping For Baby’s Food
Your Baby’s Menu
Food Supplements
Food Allergy or Food Intolerance?
Preventing Poisoning and Choking

Feeding Tips for Month 6

Baby foods you can buy from the grocery store can
be used with confidence. Commercially prepared
baby foods:
• are checked and labeled for their nutritional value
• do not have added salt, sugar, honey, fat,
coloring, or additives
• are inspected for contaminants
• are supplemented with the vitamins and
minerals babies need

If you make your own baby food:
• avoid adding extra salt or sugar, or using artificial sweetener
• do not use honey as a sweetner until your baby is a year old; honey can cause botulism
• keep your hands clean and use only clean cooking utensils
• mash foods with a fork or use a blender or food processor; use juice, formula or bottled water for thinning
• keep nutrients in foods by baking, steaming, or microwaving rather than boiling; cook fruits before you peel them
• wash fruits and vegetables well

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