Nate has always wanted to play with his utensils at feeding time. Between twelve and thirteen months that desire to play with the utensils turned into a desire to use them to feed himself. So I've been following his lead, and letting him practice using a spoon. After much trial and error, I think I've developed a decent method for letting him practice without causing too much mess and aggravation. Here are my five steps:
(1) Cover yourself from head to toe with a giant smock or body condom to prevent stains. Okay, I'm kidding. There's no way to completely avoid a mess. But I can usually get away with minimal food in my hair without resorting to drastic measures.
(2) Use two spoons and two bowls - one for each of you.
(3) Put a small amount of food (applesauce, yogurt or whatever you are using) in a bowl that you can easily hold in one hand. (Or use a suction bowl. Read my review of some here.) Since I'm a righty, I hold this bowl with him left hand.
(4) Let your baby practice dipping his spoon in the small amount in this bowl. Meanwhile have the rest of the food in another bowl on the table.
(5) Shovel the food into his mouth from the main bowl on the table with your dominant hand while you continue to let him practice with the food in the bowl in your non-dominant hand.
How did your children learn to feed themselves? Any tips to offer?