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Thread: 11 month old doesn't self-feed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Posts
    4

    Question 11 month old doesn't self-feed

    So here's the sitch: I started my EBF son on purée solids at 6 months. He cried and gagged severely and resisted, so I took things gently at his pace, and around 8 months he got the hang of it. Since then he has been happily eating purée fruits and veggies and he LOVES yogurt. Around 7 or 8 months I also started putting little finger foods in front of him. Peas, cheerios, pieces of bread, etc. He only ever plays with it. At his 9 month appt, the Ped said he was a little concerned that he wasn't self-feeding yet. He said to be a bit more proactive about encouraging it, and if he still wasn't self-feeding at a year, we would get an occupational therapist. I should note that he doesn't put anything in his mouth - the oral impulse to explore the mouth that most babies have? He doesn't seem to have it. The Ped thinks there might be an oral sensitivity issue, or a motor skills issue, or maybe both.

    Anyway, 2 month later we haven't made much progress. After a 3 week concerted effort, he now feeds himself Graham crackers, but that was a month ago, and he hasn't expanded that ability to anything else. He is still happy to eat his purée food only.

    Apart from the chance that there might be oral sensitivity or motor skill issues (which we'll deal with if they are the case, I'm not going to freak out about it) the main thing I am concerned with is his nutrition. He started crawling a couple of weeks ago, and he is a very rambunctious boy, so breastfeeding is becoming a huge challenge as he doesn't want to be still to eat unless he is really hungry!! And I know as he passes his first birthday, he will gradually have nutritional needs beyond breastmilk. I am very willing to let him develop at his own pace, and I know I can't compare him to other babies and expect him to be someone he is not. But I also want to be sure I am giving him the nutrition he needs.

    I am looking to hear from someone who has experienced this. I read through this forum and didn't find anyone with quite this situation, and I don't know anyone personally who's baby didn't self-feed by this point. I only recently learned about BLS, but how would that work on a baby who doesn't put anything (except Graham crackers!) in his own mouth?! Looking for a little encouragement. Thanks!!
    Everything changed on 9.14.2010!

    I became the EBFing, cloth-diapering, co-sleeping mama to a little Bird.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19,883

    Default Re: 11 month old doesn't self-feed

    I remember talking to a friend of mine whose baby was around a year, and she was frustrated for reasons similar to yours: her baby wanted to be spoon-fed and refused to feed himself. She got really, really tired of spoon-feeding, especially because it was just so time-consuming. I have also seen a fair number of moms here whose babies refuse "chunky" textured foods, and prefer purees long past the time when people expect a baby to have graduated to table foods.

    I think that if your baby will put Graham crackers in his mouth, he is getting the idea that he can feed himself. But maybe he's not that motivated to do it, since he can rely on you to give him plenty of food by spoon? Maybe it would make sense to start handing him the spoon, and seeing if he will maneuver it into his own mouth? If he associates food with spoon, then maybe that's a more logical step for him, as far as self-feeding is concerned.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: 11 month old doesn't self-feed

    Hi There!
    I came across your thread when researching this same issue and just registered here so I could respond! My son, almost 11 months is EBF and also will not self-feed. I think the only difference is that he does eat solids (blueberries, other fruit, beans, etc...) and loves them but will only eat it when I put in into his mouth. I feel like we have tried everything in terms of getting him to use his hand to put food in his mouth... different shapes of food, sizes, textures... also we have ignored, encouraged as well as tried to help him get his hand to his mouth (he is not a fan of that one at all) and no luck. We saw the Ped again on Monday and she is baffled and said she has literally never seen this before so I was so happy to read your post and know we're not alone!! He is on point with all his motor skills, etc (he's not crawling but is a big boy and they don't seem concerned about this at all) He also never put anything else in his mouth (no paci, no bottle, no toys... only his thumb!) He will drink from a straw cup or regular cup but doesn't hold it... I wish I had answers but wanted to let you know you are not alone and we can keep in touch if you want.. We are going to see a developmental ped next week to try to figure it out.. could be a personality thing too but just want to cover all bases! Hang in there + keep in touch!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    4,160

    Default Re: 11 month old doesn't self-feed

    I have a lot of experience with this. Both of my children have been engaged in eating therapy, first one was with an OT and the second one was with a SLP. Neither of my children put things in their mouth.... ever. They both totally skipped the 'oral' stage for infants.

    These children develop very differently, and I can tell you the amount of frustration I have felt regarding having them developmentally on target with solid food is very high.

    You are doing the right thing with purees. Continue them and also add in different kinds of them. If yogurt is a favorite change up the brands and flavors as well. Greek yogurt is a good one to try - very high protein content. Graham crackers are the natural next progression. That is because they are what is called a 'meltable' because they require very little chewing and sort of dissolve in their mouth. You can do puffs (there are all sorts of brands and flavors). Cheerios are a lot harder and require chewing. I would either skip them for now or cut in half and soak in milk or bm or juice first to soften. Saline crackers are somewhat meltable as well. No bread for now, that is very very difficult for them to chew.

    And I would recommend if your pedi will give you a referral for OT to go ahead and take it up. You might find your child is dealing with tactile issues in other areas as well, or it could be confined to just the oral sensitivity. The OT will have tons and TONS of information for you and will be able to lead you step by step on how to get your child back on track developmentally with solid food.

    My kids are running around so I can't type much on here. But both have had tremendous success with feeding therapy, my first only had about 2 months of it and he was fine. My second... well that took a lot longer but now they both eat meat, fish, fruit, veg, pretty much whatever I am looking and they are ages 4.5 and 1 (close to 2 though).

    GOOD LUCK! PM me with questions too.
    Lisa

    Mommy to
    Logan 5-23-07
    Colby 12-14-09

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    4,160

    Default Re: 11 month old doesn't self-feed

    One more thing, does your child ever gag when food touches his lips? That is red flag for oral sensitivity problems. Mine could literally just look at food or have it close to his lips and he would spew ALL over. Hehe...

    But, this is only a minor technicality. :P

    Also try those Baby Mum Mums. Then you can even spread a very light coat of peanut butter or jelly or cream cheese after plain ones are taken well.

    And there are those food puree bags, my second child lived on those and he drank them right out of the bags like a straw. Apple sauce as well in the apple sauce aisle at grocery store. Having them drink them is self feeding instead of having to spoon it to them.

    Also yes allow baby to feed self with spoon. MESSY but good practice.

    You can also try pudding- chocolate and vanilla. Put a small blob of each on tray and encourage messy play with it and see if you can get any fingers licked.
    Last edited by @llli*green.momma; September 15th, 2011 at 07:24 AM.
    Lisa

    Mommy to
    Logan 5-23-07
    Colby 12-14-09

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