- Your baby’s more developed body and head control help with self-feeding and hand-to-mouth coordination.
- Sensory signals let your baby know that foods come in different colors, shapes, tastes and smells.
- Eating alongside your baby while he feeds himself encourages him to eat, too.
Your Crawler’s improving motor skills are letting him become a more independent baby and a more independent eater! Now that his posture is more stable, he can sit upright without using his hands for balance, leaving his hands free to feed himself.
Early on, your baby may begin improving his ability to drink from a cup and handle a spoon.
You can introduce finely chopped food and small pieces of soft food, like half of a scrambled egg. As he develops as a Crawler, he may be able to spoon-feed with some help, and eat a variety of textures.
Eating food with fingers may seem easy, but there are a lot of steps in the process that your baby will need to learn:
- Finger control helps him to pick up developmentally appropriate foods.
- Hand-eye coordination helps him bring his hands to his mouth.
- How to release food from his hands into his mouth.
- Taking appropriate-sized bites to fit his small mouth.
- Beginning to chew in a rotary pattern, which involves circular jaw movements, where the tongue simultaneously moves food from side to side within the mouth.
Adapting to new foods
All his senses are in gear to respond to the new textures, flavors and smells that are coming his way everyday.
As he gets older, your baby becomes more vocal to let you know what he wants. He’s deciding how much he’ll eat while you decide what healthy foods to offer.
Moving food from the center of his mouth to the jawline for mashing is real eating progress!
More tips for successful eating
- Show him how to chew: Face him while you’re eating, so he can watch your mouth move.
- Make feeding a group effort: You take a bite, then he takes a bite.
- Only offer soft foods: Try half a mashed banana, ¼ cup of diced vegetables or fruits that are extremely soft and no larger than ¼ inch in any direction, mashed cooked peas or mashed beans.
- Sit down and join him: Make his mealtime your mealtime.
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