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My 11 month daughter has been late in starting to eat. She not only eats sporadically, but often insists on taking the spoon and feeding herself (sometimes after banging it on the table, splattering food everywhere). I think it's neat she wants to do things herself, but do I need to start insisting that mommy needs to feed her sometimes?
My pediatrician and MIL are horrified that I don't use 'discipline' and think she'll never learn to eat from a spoon 'correctly'.
I know I shouldn't listen to their comments, but it seems as if I'm the only person I know who's had this issue.

Does anyone have any stories/advice to share?
 

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What "discipline" do they think you should use on a 11 mo trying out some new independence and self help skills???!?!?!?!

She's not going to learn how to "use a spoon properly" at her age anyway, given the fine motor skills of a child that young. But it's great that she wants to learn on her own anyway! The "proper" way will come as she gets older. She'll make sure of that - otherwise the food won't get to her mouth the right way!
 

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My dd started eating solids at 6 months. By 7 months she had enough of mommy feeding her and wanted to feed herself. Since then she has been eating foods that she can pick up. Mackinsie is only a month older than yours and she still doesn't eat with a spoon. When she picks up a spoon she sticks the wrong end in her mouth. I figure that when she is ready she will learn how to eat with a spoon the right way. Right now she is happy and content on feeding herself. I wouldn't worry about her not eating yet. I haven't seen many children that age eat with a spoon correctly.

Katie
 

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I'm plain lazy and impatient. When both of my dd's started solids, it was on soft, finger food-type foods that they could feed themselves. I give them kid-safe forks and spoons and let them go crazy. Sure, it's a mess but my 16-mo old can feed herself perfectly well now. I really hate the time and energy it takes to spoon-feed a baby! Aren't I horrible?! I say just start with the soft stuff they can do themselves: avacados, steamed/mashed fruits and veggies...

Jesse
 

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My kay is an independent one..
she would not eat baby or purred foods.. the first foods she ate where at 10 months old.. when she could have things that she could pick up & feed herself
I also gave her spoons & forks & let her practice

she was eatting good off them by 15 or 16 months
she learned how to do it "correctly" by watching us eat

I never have feed her.. cept BF'ing

I dont understand what discipline you woul use in this situation either.. but its not one Id want any part of..
 

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Discipline for an 11 month old learning to use utensils? Um, my first thought here is... HUH?
Who of us hasn't had the pleasures of scraping spagetti from the kitchen wall?
:

But seriously, I just switched to finger foods at this stage. Gave DS opps to play with the utensils and waited. By 14 months, he could use a fork well but didn't always choose too. By 18 months the spoon came into play. No worries. I worried a lot at the time about ALL THIS KIND OF STUFF. And the one thing I know for sure is if I had the opportunity to go back and do it again knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have spent nearly the energy worrying about all those things that "happen in the child's own time." DS is 3 1/2 and I'm finally trusting this for real. What a relief! I can hardly see why enforcing "discipline" can teach a child to use utensils well, among many other things. What a strange viewpoint...

The comments by your MIL and pede are their opinion only and frankly, if they are offering more than comments (as in unwanted advice, etc. ) you have every right to stand up and remind them that it's not appropriate for them to be doing so without having been asked. That said, I'm a rather non-confrontational person myself. I prefer the route of just following my own instincts, and letting my own confidence in that prevail. What I've found is that family members trust me more than I realize, and sometimes just wanted to know the whys and wherefores of my decisions. Once I explained to them nicely, they usually said something like, "Hm. Never thought of it that way." DS is a great kid so they haven't once inch of room to argue.

So hang in there mom! You're doing just fine. Your DD is normal and healthy and dipping her feet in the pool of independence! Indeed, it gets trickier (and at times, more messy), but it's also beautiful!
 

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There is no harm in having two spoons. One for her and one for you, you trade them out as she sees fit. LOL

Let her learn.

Give her finger foods.

As long as she is not playing the watch me drop the spoon and you pick it up game then let things go. When she starts playing that game take it as a signal she is done. That does not mean she won't want more 15 minutes after you clean up but tossing utensils, foods, or plates does need some limits. (There is a difference in curious pouring on a tray and playing that becoming a distructo, you can find other outlets for her to do this exploration).

Oh, one more thing let her eat in the nude just diapered. It is easier to clean her off.
 

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Oh my, you must be joking, a pediatrician who thinks you should discipline an 11 month old to make her eat "properly." Okay, I know you aren't joking, but it's so unfortunate! It's like these doctors get through medical school without ever reading a book on child development.

My feeling is, as long as I can deal with the mess, he can play with the utensils and the food. When it feels like he's trying to get a rise out of me (something he's really only just started to do
) by which I mean to test a limit, then I set a limit. If he is trying to feed himself with the spoon and it's messy, that's why we have a drop cloth under the high chair. If he's intentionally using the spoon as a catapult to fling yogurt all over the dining room--we don't have to tolerate that, we can switch to another food or stop eating if he's not hungry anymore.

It is so much fun to watch them gain these skills at their own pace.

Okay, wait a second! Is the doctor telling you to feed the baby so that she will eat more food? Is it a weight-gain issue? I just realized that might be it. If so, I will tell you our secret. We let him pick up food to eat AND we fed him with a spoon at the same time. That way, he was entertained and distracted while we got the food into him. But, as soon as he began to gain skill and interest in self feeding, we stopped with the spoon feeding games.
 

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Oh, please. Have you ever met anyone who couldn't eat with a spoon?

But, what I do is, when he holds the spoon and unsucessfully tries to feed himself, I have a second spoon that I secretly use to scoop food in his mouth. He thinks he is feeding himself, but it is really his superfast and sneaky mom.
 
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