When your baby starts self-feeding

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When your baby starts self-feeding

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Babies are ready for self-feeding between nine and eleven months when all of a sudden, they refuse the spoon. That's your first big clue that they are ready to feed themselves. For the new parent, they are usually taken back. It seems too early for the baby to be self-feeding. When they are refusing the spoon, go ahead and take the food that you have on the spoon, let's say it's pureed butternut squash. Instead of giving them the puree, give them three small pieces and put them at the front of the tray. Let the baby reach for, grasp the food, and bring it to his mouth. This is a normal developmental window that the baby is going through. While your baby is trying to self-feed, because they are not real experts at it when they first get started, you can still slip a spoonful of the purees into their mouths. That doesn't last very long. Once your baby is really refusing, do not force them. Don't bring toys to the table. Don't turn on the television to distract them. That's called automatic feeding. You want to engage the child by using the foods that you want them to eat and learn to self-feed on their own.

View Cynthia Epps, MS, IBCLC's video on When your baby starts self-feeding...

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Cynthia Epps, MS, IBCLC

Infant Feeding Specialist

Cynthia Epps, MS, IBCLC holds a master’s degree in nutritional biochemistry and is a board certified lactation consultant in private practice in Los Angeles, California. She specializes in home and internet consults for new mother/infant couples from birth through two years of age. She covers early breastfeeding questions such as learning to trust the breast, establishing a good milk supply, sore nipples, colic and reflux; as well as “back to work” protocols for the working mother and “transitioning to solids” at six months per the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization guidelines, plus food wars and gentle weaning guidelines for the older infant. In addition, she has written for LA Family Magazine and Mothering Magazine, and leads infant feeding workshops throughout the community. With the wisdom of motherhood still largely negated or ignored, she specializes in combining ancient matriarchal traditions with modern science to help the new mother transition into the time-honored role of nurturing her baby with body and breast. She continues to pursue the goal of redefining the human infant feeding norm as breastfeeding or breastmilk for all children.

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