Can Babies Feed Themselves?

YES. Babies can feed themselves.

A majority of babies 6 months and older possess the skills for self-feeding. This includes being able to sit up unsupported, bring food to the mouth and swallow.

Cues that your baby is ready to self-feed:

  • Bringing food and other items (like toys) to their mouth.
  • Reaching for bowls, spoons, & other utensils.
  • Reaching/grabbing food from others’ plates.
  • Resisting feeding help.

Babies following a baby-led approach to mealtime were more likely to have better appetite control by 18-24 months.
When babies use their hands to eat and play it has a positive effect on hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, general motor development, and also encourages exploration, learning, and creative expression.

The food itself can be grabbable pieces, or slightly mashed. The name of the game is to let them explore and eat hands-first.

American Academy of Pediatrics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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