1 Year Old Self Feeding

Updated on September 28, 2006
M.F. asks from Omaha, NE
9 answers

This is a two part question: How much generally does a 1 year old eat at a sitting (ie # of jars of food)
Should I be letting him at every feeding try to feed himself? Just put a bowl in front of him and let him go at it? Or just with some foods? I'm afraid he'd wear most of it and wouldn't get enough food at feedings.

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answers from Great Falls on

What worked for me, was letting my son try eating bite sized food after the main meal. I still fed him out of the jar of baby food but put a little bit in another bowl. Let him have his own spoon. That way you can keep better track of what he eats and how much. Usually, when the food starts winding up all over his face or on the floor, they're done and just playing.

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answers from Eugene on

At one year old I let my babies self feed. I, however, wasn't using jarred foods. If they eat anything soft like that I would do the spoon feeding. The things that I would let my one year old self feed were cut up chunks of different soft/firm foods that were easy to mash with gums and tiny teeth. Things like banana, cooked carrots, ripe pears, cooked beets (pretty messy but good), scrambled eggs, peas and beans (with the outer husk removed), baked tofu, very small tender pieces of meat and so many other things I can't think of right now. Basically anything that is firm enough to cut into pieces and be picked up but soft enough for baby to deal with. I would put a bib on (I like the kind with a t-shirt style neck band) put them in the high chair (ideally on an easy to clean surface) and let them have at it.
W. Jones
Breastfeeding Educator

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answers from Portland on

It varies greatly on what a 1yo can eat. As far as self-feeding, I would suggest you always let him try so that he gets the hang of it. But, you should guide his hand as much as possible and also give him lots of finger foods. Make sure his meals are on a schedule so that if he misses some food during meal time, he has the snack to eat something like crackers or whatever.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Hi M.,

My name is H. B. and I work with the WIC program. I like alot of the advice the first mom gave you. Some other things to keep in mind. Your 1 year old should be drinking whole cow's milk. No more than 20 oz./day. I also would include 4-8 oz. juice into the childs daily diet. 100% juice is needed to help iron obsorb into the body. I would encourage weaning from the bottle as soon as possible. Right now the bottle is a feeding tool, in the next few months its going to become a security issue just like the thumb, pacifier, blankie etc. I would offer the child a chioce. A cup of milk or bottle of water, a cup of juice or bottle of water. Or you could try instead of an 8 oz. bottle drop the size down to 6 oz. then in another weeek offer 4oz. then try water only. The ideal time to wean is 11-15 months. So nothing has to happen over night.

Food pyramid and serving sizes.

dairy group.... Recommended servings 3-4
serving sizes.... 4 oz. milk, 1/4 cup yogurt, pudding, custard ect.

protein group..... Recommended daily servings 2-3
serving sizes.... 1 oz, or about the size of a small box of wooden matches. Some professionals do not like to recommend penutbutter at this age because of the choking risk and allergy risk. If neither of these issues concern yourself than most children like peanutbutter, eggs, cottage cheese, tofu...ect. these are a little easier to chew.

fruits/veggies...... Recommended daily servings....3-6 servings... Serving sizes.... fresh fruit about 1 tablespoon times thier age. 4 oz. juice may count as 1 serving of fruit or veggie but after that its just empty calories. They will not benefit from additional calories because the vitamins needed from juice are obtained in 1- 4oz glass.

Breads/cereals...... Recommended daily servings......6-11
Serving sizes...... 2-4 animal crackers, dry cereal 1/4 cup,
noodles,rice and cooked cereals 1/4 cup.

Our job as a parent is to offer food 5-6 times a day. We encourage breakfast, two hours later a snack, 2 hours later lunch, 2 hours later a snack, 2 hours later dinner and maybe even 1 more snack before bed. By putting the food infront of them, we are doing our job. The childrens job is to decide if we like it, how much will I eat and when I will eat. If we offer food 5-6 times a day, it gives them the oppertunity to eat smaller amounts just more often. PLease remember that almost nobody eats a perfect diet everyday. So ask your pediatrician about a daily vitamin. When viewing diet, please try to remember that there are days we eat more and days we eat less. Our children will do the same thing. So look at how well your child has eaten in a week vs day to day. There should never be any forbidden foods! This would also include junk food, soda, koolaid ect. If we never allow those foods, then when they get them at another persons house, they will over indulge. Everything in moderation. Moderation is 1-2 times a week. This makes it a treat vs forbidden/bad food.

If you child is having a bad day and not eating well, then maybe he/she is filling up on liquid calories. So offer water between meals or as a chioce at meal time. You may even offer the liquids after the meals to decrease filling up on them.

A cheap shower curtain under the high chair is a quick cheap cleanup method. I would encourage you to let your child touch its food at eat meal/snack but do not depend on them to eat enough without your help. When an infant/child touches thier food, they are less likely to gag or choke. The fingers will make the child aware of the texture before it hits the mouth.

Enjoy this age!!!!! It does not last long enough. Trust your instinks, We know our children the best.

H. B.

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answers from Omaha on

Sit with your child if your trying to teach him to eat his food. Most kids wear there food anyhow. but The way I taught my almost 2 yr old I had her feeding her self nearly before 1 yrs old she was pretty smart she enjoyed it
Play with the spoon and fork til she figures it out and sometime I show her how it works and How to feed her self it took just alittle bit of time but if ur concern about not getting enough food well Sit by ur son and watch him eat basically and make sure he knows how to feed his self if he dont just teach him it will help. and it will take time. and He will know when he gets full my daughter when she gets full she gives me her plate when shes in her highchair so I go grab it and Take care of it for her and she like to stand up in the highchair that means she wants to be cleaned up and Out of the highchair so she can run around once again

well I hope your son is doing good..

Ty take care



answers from Casper on

When my little girl was one, I helped her eat a bit then let her eat on her own. Kinda trade off so that you know your child is getting enough, but they can feel like they are learning how to eat (or play) by themselves.



answers from Phoenix on


When my son was one. I would feed him most of his food and then leave alittle bit for him to feed to himself. I never had any problems doing it this way. He did get very messy but he learned how to feed himself very well. Also if you do snacks let him eat those on his own too. Good luck i'm sure he will catch on fast.



answers from Omaha on

Well, I stopped giving Jack jar food around 10 months and let him eat whatever we were eating. For part of his meal we would put food on a utensil (either baby spoon or fork, whichever was appropriate) and let him feed himself and the other part of the meal we just let him feed himself with his hands. I don't measure how much food he eats, I just let him eat until he starts to play more than eat, then I know he's full. The only things I still feed him are yougurt and oatmeal (I put them on a spoon and hand him the spoon, and then towards the end I feed him myself). And honestly half the time now I use a regular spoon. My advice would be don't just hand 100% of the feeding off to him (unless it's finger foods) because it is messy, but you should shoot for maybe 50% of the meal feeding himself. It takes longer and is messy, there's no way around that. But really it's notlong before they figure it out. I found mashed potatoes to be a good food to start self-feeding practice, as long as they aren't too runny, since the tend to stick in one clump, which helps to cut down on mess. At least if stiff mashed potates get flung, they don't stain and don't really splatter! I hope this helps!




answers from Omaha on

my daughter loves those gerber graduate meal things they have usually a pasta with alittle bit ofmeat and a serving of vegies she usually ate one for lunch and one for dinner. then she would eat oatmeal and a fruit for breakfast and snacks of crackers and fruit. or something like that. she loved them though! it does start to not be enough when they want to eat more. so we have ventured into the chef boyardee type things and she can eat a whole container and some vegies or fruit. she particularly likes raviolis and lasagne good luck!