Eating is the most basic form of responsibility that is introduced to children. So possible, teach the baby to bribe his own food earlier. Of course we have to look at age and stage child’s brain development. Actually, since the age of 18 months, generally children can be taught responsibility. At this time children begin to experience individual development and have social expectations. The development is when the child can take and put food in his own mouth, when the child can choose the shape and taste he wants to eat, or when the baby can drink with a glass with a handle and return it again without slamming it. Teach children to be able to eat on their own, of course, they must be patient and flexible, because it usually requires repeated lessons.
Here are some things parents need to pay attention to so that babies can eat by themselves
- Wash baby’s hands with soap and all eating utensils must be washed clean, safe, and comfortable to introduce.
- Look for eating equipment made of plastic (food grade), with rounded edges and not sharp so as not to injure the baby.
- Make sure the baby feels safe and comfortable in the dining chair. If we choose to use a high chair, use a seat belt to prevent it from falling. Dining chairs away from walls, safe from carpets, tables, or other equipment that can be reached by his hands.
- Equip the baby with a saliva container, tissue, or cloth, and cover the feeding area with a plastic base.
- Let them experiment on their own with their food. This is also good for the development of the baby’s left and right brain.
- Don’t be afraid and disturbed, at first, the floor and walls will be a little dirty, because in the early days the baby learns to eat, his hands play with plates and toys, turn them over and throw them on the floor or wall. Be patient and teach gradually how to eat right.
- Give the baby a little baby food in his bowl and a spoon to play with. If not skilled, let him use his hands.
- We continue to feed the food that has been prepared according to the portion while the children learn to eat on their own.
- Do not provide hard-textured foods that are hard to chew and cause to be swallowed whole or have a stuffy throat.
- Pay attention not to let the baby choke or put the wrong food in the eyes or nose, open the mouth because the hand coordination is not good. Immediately wipe his face and hands to avoid getting food into his eyes or nose.
- For babies who like to chew and swallow, never keep stuffing food into their mouths. Check his mouth, if it is too full, remove it with our clean hands and try to swallow the food.
- Give them some healthy menu choices that are of course tailored to the nutritional requirements and nutrients needed by the baby
- Don’t force the baby too much. Sometimes parents force their child to eat when the baby is not hungry.
- Do not give sweet snacks, crispy and spicy chips, because these foods are filling and have almost no nutritional value.
- Do not give too much juice or milk to the baby before eating too full will make the baby refuse the main food.
- Let the baby continue to eat alone until the food portion is eaten