Getting your baby accustomed to eating solid foods can be a bit of a challenge, not to mention a bit of a mess! It's almost as if the sound of a food jar opening immediately sets off a signal in a baby's brain that pureed chicken is on its way to the high chair, which makes him/her instinctively push the spoon out of the way so that the mashed chicken winds up in mom's hair.
Not that you can blame junior for refusing to eat something that really isn't meant to be in the form of mush. Have you ever smelled a jar of that stuff? Gross!
A new study suggests that spoon feeding may make your child overeat, and in turn, wind up overweight. The idea basically suggests that babies who are spoon fed aren't able to stop eating when they're full as easily as those who feed themselves. It kind of makes sense, but still may be a little too far-fetched for some moms to digest. No pun intended. But forget the spoon and whether it is good or bad, because there are actually a few more practical reasons why introducing finger foods and letting your baby feed himself is a huge win.
This may sound like something that happened so long ago you can hardly remember what it feels like, but there is that little thing called "taking time to get things done." If your baby is busy and preoccupied with munching on a cracker or picking up Cheerios, it buys you a good extra 15-minutes or so to clean up the kitchen, throw in a load of laundry, or call your best friend to brag about the fact that junior is feeding himself. As a mom, you've gotta take every extra second of hands-free time you can get. It's priceless.
Remember that load of laundry that you just threw in while the baby was enjoying lunch? Yeah, if he's feeding himself, then you'll have a whole lot less laundry to do. Imagine not having to deal with getting those bright orange carrot stains out of every bib you own. How great would that be? Less laundry also means using less electricity, so you're actually being a bit greener by giving your kid finger foods. Total plus.
Perhaps the best reason to go ahead and let your little one try his hand at feeding himself is so that he learns a little independence early on. The more he realizes he doesn't need you to do everything for him, the better. It'll boost his confidence and let him know that it's ok to try new things and make his own decisions. That is, until he enters the teen years.
How old was your baby when you introduced solid foods?
Image via LizMarie_AK/Flickr