Okay self-feeders: tell me about the mess - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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we have been really slow to start solids, ds has only had few things so far, and we only do a tiny bit of food every few days, which seems to keep him satisfied for now--he was beginning to go crazy with desire before we finally started (we delayed mostly b/c of eczema & partly b/c of my own reluctance ot start), chewing at me and crying when i ate in front of him and didn't share.

anyway, books i have read say to give your 8mo the spoon, let him self-feed w/ his hands, and i've seen a lot of people around here argue that this is the *only* way to do it. i've even followed links to pictures in some of your signatures to your cutie pies *covered* in food and must admit that i am a little reluctant because of the mess! my goodness what an ordeal!

what is your 'meal' routine and how do you do cleanup--tell me about the feeding area, the clothes, the hair...do you have a bath after??? laundry is a real pain for us and i don't do it every day...but it looks like we might be changing outfits a lot?

i also have a dog with food allergies (but as it often is with dogs we don't know what his allergies are, just what they are not) who is gearing up to be *really* excited when the real eating starts and am really looking for tips on how to keep clean.
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#2 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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We did the self feeding thing, and still do sometimes, but honestly, the mess, coupled with my neurotic paranoia of DD choking, is what made me do mainly homemade purees. It is SO much cleaner. I try to be very aware of her signals that tell me she is done eating because it can be tempting to try to get them to finish, and eat "one more bite!" I believe in the merits of self feeding, but don't think that purees are all bad. We have those baby fresh ice cube trays with lids, and I make up a batch of fresh babyfood and freeze the rest- then just pop out a cube or two when I need to.

Amy, mommy to Ava, 6, Gavin, 4, Lila, 2, and Baby #4 due in early November! joy.gif
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#3 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 05:51 PM
 
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We don't often have a mess. I feed her what we eat. If we're having chicken, I'll cut some up in little pieces on her tray. She just eats them. No mess. I do the same with any meats, veggies (broccoli, califlower, avacado, potatoes etc), fruits, eggs, etc.

Some foods are messier and we just prepare for it. I have a bib that covers her clothes. If she's eating oatmeal, we take her pj top off and put the bib on and let her go at it with a spoon. At most, we have to wash off her hands and face. She has never gotten it in her hair. We do the same with other "messy" things - applesauce, yogurt, etc.

I do usually help her with blueberries because I can't stand the mess!! Those stain everything - including her fingers!!

We even gave her spaghetti the other day fully expecting a complete mess. Her hands were saucy, but she stayed really neat!!

Maybe I just got blessed with a neat baby!!!
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#4 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 05:56 PM
 
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Small amounts are key to avoiding big messes. When they are bored then be ready with a toy or something that is not so messy or let them go and play.
You can also put the food directly on the tray and then sanitize it afterwards. Then there are no dishes to throw
We give a bath after dinner anyways. I also have older kids who volunteer to clean up any messes and they think it is fun to help.
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#5 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 07:23 PM
 
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We have messes if I feed him or if he self feeds. He somehow can get food from a spoon in my hands into every crevice of his body, plus his hair. I talked to a good (babywise) friend about it, and she holds the hands of her kids while she feeds them. I don't want to do that, so I deal with the mess. If he feeds himself cheerios, I will find little pieces of cheerio inside the top back of his diaper. He can really get stuff anywhere.

So, I think, some of it is just how messy your kids are innately.

I feed him in a high chair, at the table. I strip him to a diaper and use a bib. At breakfast, I use a washcloth to get all the bits, and after supper, I put him in the bath. (he doesn't eat lunch yet)
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#6 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 07:27 PM
 
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Most food doesn't make a huge mess. For really messy food (like split pea soup!), I put an oversize t-shirt over my little guys' clothes. Take it off, wipe off his face and hands (we keep a drawer in the kitchen full of baby washcloths), wash his tray, and we're done. You can put a piece of plastic under their seat if you have carpet. Really the mess isn't hard to clean, it takes less time than sitting there feeding him every bite would. And you get time to eat in peace!
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#7 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 07:36 PM
 
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Honestly, she makes no mess at all. Feeding a baby (as I did w/ the first 3) is a PAIN! Way easier to just let them eat. She usually sits with a bowl of whatever, or walks around with it...but never makes any sort of a mess. Truely! Good luck!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#8 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 07:39 PM
 
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For us, the mess is un-f'ing- believable. It is almost the biggest nuisance in my life right now I think. A tiny bit of fruit stains her entire outfit. FRuit-swqeetened yogurt - stains the whole outfit. A hunk of rice cake....all over her, ground into my floor, up her nose, in my purse. Beans, smushed all over her, ground into her high chair. Fruit slung all over the floors, walls, house. Our eating area is carpeted (stupid apartment) and it gets yucky. She reuqires a bath after every meal.

I think this is why I have been so slow to give her solids at least 3x a day, because I HATE the mess.


I HATE THE MESS.


Whew, I needed to get that out. Thanks for starting this thread! LoL
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#9 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 09:07 PM
 
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Mine's been self-feeding since she started grabbing food off my plate at 4mos! She's 8.5 mos now, and we just let her make her mess. We put a spoon on her tray, mostly for show, as everything is finger food to her...applesauce, oatmeal, cottage cheese, etc. Sometimes she'll pick up the spoon and attempt to use it (her favorite method is holding the spoon in one hand, then picking up food with the other and putting it on the spoon before shoving it at her face. I think that might defeat the purpose. )But, this child will NOT let me feed her myself. She'll push my hand away, smack it, clamp her mouth...and then shove the food in herself. She wants to do it HER way, and she doesn't need YOUR help, thank you very much . Well, except when she drops the sippy cup to the ground.

The mess...well, she usually gets two solid meals a day, breakfast and dinner. She eats breakfast in her pjs, which 9 times out of 10 are going in the laundry that day anyway. And then I just wash her face, head, and hands with a warm washcloth. Sometimes she ends up with stuff in her hair that doesn't come out very easily, but, oh well. Really, even if she's eating a meal in her "for good" clothes, it's not such a horrid mess that I feel like I can't take her out in them or whatever most of the time.

She eats dinner before her bath, so, that works out super well right there. . And that's when we tackle anything that's made it into her hair. I figure if she gets her one bath a day, that is MORE than sufficient. We do it mostly because she LOVES bathtime, not because we feel some need for a squeaky clean child...as my husband's co-worker said, "It's not like she stopped by the gym and ran on treadmill for an hour after work." (He has three kids).

She is going through a phase of dropping food for the dog. Obviously, she's going through the dropping everything phase, anyway, and SOMEONE just figured out that Puppy LOVES when she drops food off the tray. What a neat trick! Luckily, I have a furry little vacuum cleaner that could sniff out food a mile away...no morsel left uneaten.

Um, I also let the dog clean off the tray...just put it on the floor, and then I swipe it with a sponge after the dog is done.

Honestly, I think it's been great for Katie. She has tremendous hand eye coordination now and a great pincer grip (which can be slightly hair-raising, as EVERYTHING goes in the mouth lightning-quick). She also eats ANYTHING except salmon, squash, and grapes if I let her feed herself. It's game on as far as she's concerned about new foods.
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#10 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 09:20 PM
 
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We started at around 7 months with rice cereal/homemade puree deal, which he loved. Now at 11 months, he has boith cereal/fruit or veggie and finger foods. He loves both. He usually can't deicde which to open his mouth for first- the foods he's self feeding or the food I'm offering on a spoon.
I do feel very strongly about offering him food, not sticking it in when he's not looking, tricking him into opening his mouth, etc. I see people trying to "get one last bite in" rather than watching for cues for hunger, satiety, etc. Just not our style...
And yes, it can get messy. But we have a vinyl clear mat under his chair and it cleans up fine. The benefit of him feeling his food, practicing his pincer grasp and learning to slef feed is worth the little mess at the end. Oh and the great squash/cheerios/arrowroot filled face is priceless, too!

Mama to an awesome jammin.gif 10 year old son and a sunshine-ycoolshine.gif5 year old son
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#11 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 10:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigress View Post
what is your 'meal' routine and how do you do cleanup--tell me about the feeding area, the clothes, the hair...do you have a bath after??? laundry is a real pain for us and i don't do it every day...but it looks like we might be changing outfits a lot?
With my 2nd DD, I started letting her self-feed at 5 months. She grabbed my banana and never looked back. We hardly ever fed her with a spoon (almost exclusively self-feed), and now has always loved to eat and also use utensils. we always put food right on the tray.

We have hardwood floors (and I refuse to put a rug in the dining room!) so the floors are easy to clean.

Anyway, I always take off DD's shirt if it is a messy food. She doesn't get crazy with her food anymore, but if she would ever start seriously throwing food and such, mealtime was over.

As for a bath, sometimes I'd just wash her in the sink. SHe loved that. It didn't have to be long, just enough to rinse her off. But this was not needed after every meal, just an especially sticky one.

With my 1st DD we did not do a lot of self-feeding and it was very messy. She still does not like food OR using utensils!

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#12 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 11:01 PM
 
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I think it depends on what you're feeding them. We started DD on solids at around 10 months...things like mashed potatoes, mashed veggies. We never did jarred baby food...always what we were eating just squished a bit until she had more teeth. She is far cleaner than my 6 year old DSS.

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#13 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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I think it depends on the child too.. My ds is exclusively self-feeding and he is such a mess! but thats how he likes to eat! so i don't mess with him he loves to mash his food (no matter what it is!) it loves to mash it between his fingers and he always puts alittle in his hair or down his diaper or in his ear! the other day he sneezed and some carrot came flying out of his nose!

but he is great at eatting! just likes to make a mess tooo..

I just wipe up the (tile) floor after we eat

~Jaclyn~ Mama to Lucas Wyatt born 5-3-06
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#14 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 11:36 PM
 
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A little story . . .the other day my toddler started spreading mashed potatoes all over her hands, very carefully. Then she announced "Gloves!" very proudly. (She is obsessed with gloves!) She then proceeded to rub them on her legs, again, methodically. When she was done she said, "Cream!"

It's so funny what they come up with!

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#15 of 22 Old 03-18-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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We do a mix of self-feeding and homemade purees. He seems to be getting somewhat less messy--I think he's realizing that the more he gets on his face, the less he gets in his face.

The secret appears to be either stripping him before he eats, or really big bibs with pockets. We follow each meal with a quick wash-up, and yes I sometimes have to run the washcloth through his hair, in his ears, up his nose...
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#16 of 22 Old 03-19-2007, 12:12 AM
 
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She's not a really enthusiastic eater yet, but so far we do fine with a smock bib and pushed up sleeves. Then she gets her hands and face washed, which she likes. I bought a cute oilcloth splat mat from a WAHM on Etsy, and that saves me from too much trauma with the hardwood floor.

Honestly, she makes more of a mess when my husband tries to spoon feed her. She grabs the spoon and smears. So very small portions of whatever she's going to eat, right on her high chair tray, seem to work best.
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#17 of 22 Old 03-19-2007, 01:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Swirly View Post
For us, the mess is un-f'ing- believable. It is almost the biggest nuisance in my life right now I think. A tiny bit of fruit stains her entire outfit. FRuit-swqeetened yogurt - stains the whole outfit. A hunk of rice cake....all over her, ground into my floor, up her nose, in my purse. Beans, smushed all over her, ground into her high chair. Fruit slung all over the floors, walls, house. Our eating area is carpeted (stupid apartment) and it gets yucky. She reuqires a bath after every meal.

I think this is why I have been so slow to give her solids at least 3x a day, because I HATE the mess.


I HATE THE MESS.


Whew, I needed to get that out. Thanks for starting this thread! LoL
I think my DS is kind of like that -- when I let him eat things by himself, he gets really messy
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#18 of 22 Old 03-19-2007, 10:00 AM
 
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ds is entirely self-fed, and the mess is really not too bad! As a pp said, the secret is small portions. Also, when he starts throwing things on the floor I take it as a sign that he is done. Some foods are messier than others - purees are a lot messier than soft chunks, for example. So for a while I just steered away from messier foods. Starting when he was about 11 mos, though, I have been giving him messy foods like yogurt and applesauce, and letting him self-spoonfeed - he is really great with a spoon and it's not very messy at all. Nothing a bib can't handle.

I have also found that self-feeding encourages development - his pincer grip, use of utensils, and drinking from an open cup were all ahead of schedule and I think it's at least in part due to the self-feeding.
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#19 of 22 Old 03-19-2007, 10:50 AM
 
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i'm with PP, small portions work the best. also that when the LO starts smearing, mashing, rubbing food in the face they're done. i also load the spoon with the messier foods (purees and mashes) and then just set the spoon down in reach. if he puts it in his mouth, great! if he throws the spoon, i try to feed him. and if he won't eat it, he's done.

with my ds, he rubs everything he gets into his eyes. : i use a warm cloth to wipe the face and fingers, and he gets a bath every other night.

as far as floor messes go, we save the ad circulars we get in the mail and put them under ds chair at feeding time to save the carpet.

really, though, its a lot of fun. he loves to do it himself, and will often try to feed me, as well.
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#20 of 22 Old 03-19-2007, 01:23 PM
 
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This babe is a long way away from solids, but when my first two were starting and self feeding I usually stripped them down. The highchair is vinyl covered and simple to wipe down. I tried to not feed them in clothes because I hate stains!

Carrie, mom to Johnathan (7-02), Brodie (2-04), Kate (12-06), Jordan (9-08), (4-09) & Maggie (3-10)
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#21 of 22 Old 03-19-2007, 01:54 PM
 
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I can't stand the mess either, so this is what I do: I give DS a small piece, like a bean. He picks it up and eats it. I give him another one. And so on. When he starts playing with it, throwing, ect., I know lunchtime's over. And I just have that one piece of mess to deal with. I never did purees though. I was too lazy to clean up that mess.
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#22 of 22 Old 07-18-2014, 02:21 AM
 
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My baby doesn't make a lot of mess now because I wear her a bib. I let her feed her self because I want her to learn and it's a very surprising thing to see that she is now good in using spoon.
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