14 Month Old Not Self-feeding

Updated on January 24, 2010
A.S. asks from Addison, TX
7 answers

My son is now 14 months old. He does not self-feed. Everytime I give him finger foods: cheerio's, crackers or a cookie, he just plays with his food and never atempts to put it in his mouth. He will drink out of a sippy cup, but only if I hold it up for him and place it in his mouth. He didn't hold his bottle either. Has anyone else experienced this with a young toddler? Any advise on how to overcome it? I'm concerned :-(

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So What Happened?

"Thank you" to eveyone for the wonderful tips and advice. I'm looking forward to trying all these things until we get there. Your great advice is appreciated!!!

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

You are not alone. My daughter wouldn't hold her own bottle until she was almost 12 months old. On a couple of occasions, I would put the bottle in front of her and leave the room for 10 minutes, but no, she wouldn't try it herself.

I liked the advice from Mary about helping him see he can do it himself. I did hold my daughter's hands on the bottle for several weeks before she started doing it herself, and it was a fight as she mentioned.

As for all things, your patience is key. He'll get it.



answers from Dallas on

For the limnited information you shared, it does not appear you have any reason to worry. The bigger deal you make about it (especially in front of him), the more likely he is to resist. Just relax and let him develop on his own time line.



answers from Dallas on

Sometimes it just takes them a little while to realize that they can control their eating. I mean, they spend the first year being fed by someone, so sometimes it can take awhile for them to figure out that those funny looking cheerios actually taste pretty yummy:) Just keep offering and make sure to do it at every meal. Cut up his lunch, dinner, snacks and let him feed himself everytime. Put a piece in his mouth so he can understand what you have put in front of him can go in his mouth and then just leave him alone. Same with the sippy cup. They haven't had these objects tied into their meals yet, so it just takes them a little bit to figure out the new routine. He will get the hang of it soon.



answers from Abilene on

I'm sorry I can't help with the food. But, as for the sippy cup, my daughter (now 19 mo) did the same thing...never would hold a sippy cup with a spout (or a bottle). I knew she knew how to drink from a straw so I got some Munchkin straw cups and she took to it right away. Sometimes it's just finding the "right" cup...which is whatever your child will drink from!

Now that she's older, I started giving her the spout cups, just to give her variety and she can drink from them just fine.



answers from Eau Claire on

My son naturally loved to play with his food, too. I just fed him the finger foods myself for a while, wondering the entire time why he wasn't doing it himself, until my mom suggested I show him that he could pick it up himself. So I started carefully putting a cheerio between his finger, showing him that he could hold it. I actually had to move his fingers and hold them around the cheerio, guide it to his mouth, and then release his fingers. It took some patience, but once it connected in his brain he was feeding himself just fine.

Same with his sippy cup; I had to put his hands around it and hold them there, and help him tip the cup up so he could take a drink. He didn't like me holding his hands still at first, and fought it, but once he figured out he could take a drink by himself he never looked back.

Kids don't know these things naturally; some figure it out on their own (my nephew), and some need to be shown and taught (my son).

Just make sure you are slow, patient, and keep a smile on your face and a sweet tone to your voice (as he is sure to get frustrated a time or two), and don't expect it to happen the first time.

If nothing happens after a month, then go to the doctor– not on a "something is wrong with my son" trip, but to ask some questions and get some answers. But try this first. It worked for my boy. :-)

God bless!



answers from Charlotte on

I haven't actually experienced this. Both my sons feed themselves but keep offering food to him, even the messy ones. Maybe when you feed him, stop feeding him for a few minutes and leave some of the food on his tray, he may get tired of waiting for you to give him more food and decide to try it himself. You can also put his food on his tray and encourage him to pick it up, or demonstrate what he should be doing by picking it up off his tray and placing it in his mouth for him. Try offering him his favorite foods or shredded cheese, Happy Baby puffs, diced veggies/fruit, small pieces of pasta, anything he likes but cut it into small pieces so he doesn't choke. If it continues you may want to see a feeding specialist or a speech pathologist (they know a great deal about the mouth and tongue and can help teach a child to eat or overcome any diversions they have might have to different textures of food). Be patient. He will get it eventually. Good luck.



answers from Pittsburgh on

He'll get it eventually. Let him "play" with it for a while then finish up the job.

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