Feeding themselves - when does it get less messy?!

DD has given up on purees so I suppose now could be classed as BLW, she's 8.5 months and has always done well with finger foods and is such an independant thing she doesn't like being spoonfed.
So, my question is now that she's completely feeding herself, when does it get less messy? When does more food get consumed rather than fall onto her chair?! Just want to make sure she's still getting the nutrition she needs really.
Thanks x


  • Great question, I'll be watching out for the replies xx
  • according to the blw book, "all babies need to learn how to feed themselves at some point, and that will involve some mess. it's just that, with blw, the mess comes earlier than it would otherwise. the good news is that the messy period, for a lot of babies, is quite short; because the baby has the chance to practise feeding herself so often, she quickly gets used to it. there are lots of ways to prepare for the mess and anyway, spoon feeding can be pretty messy too". baby led weaning. gill rapely. page 42.

    the skills you are teaching the baby, even with the mess, will be good for her. also, would she be less likely to have issues with food if she is allowed to try everything her own way and see food not as a punishment or a battle area is it can be for some parents? just dont get a new carpet for a while

  • We did BLW from the start, although Peter learned to feed himself with a preloaded spoon fairly quickly for whatever reason. As far as the mess is concerned, I would say it was after about a year that I began to get the sense that most of the food ended up in his tummy rather than on the floor or table. Milk will form their primary source of nutrition to that point anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much. Let her have fun, even if the endless cleaning up that follows doesn't feel like much fun. It does get easier and it is so rewarding to see them feeding themselves with relish.
  • oh bless you - i used to be so house proud - now i just hoover twice a day and about top buy a carpet cleaner - i agree with calleigh we are teaching our children a healthy attitude to food which is worth every bit of crushed pea and porridge soaked walls! ps has your cot bumper arrived - i htink it is fab and wished you had posted about 2 months ago! x
  • We have moved over to just self feeding as Beth will not tolerate me feeding her at all. It's been about 2 weeks of no purees and she is already doing amazingly well. Soooooo messy but she is eating lots. She amazed me today by eating all of her mashed potato with her hands. She's still a bit fussy about what she will and won't eat but once she finds something she likes she hoovers it up.

    I've asked OH to make sure he grabs all the free London papers he can and I am going to just cover the floor with these at every meal so I can just pick the whole lot up after as the mammoth clean up after every meal is driving me crazy!

  • Thanks ladies; i'm just a bit concerned she's not eating anywhere near the amount she would do if it was a pur????e, she used to really love them and I do all kinds of varieties but she's just soooo fed up of being spoon fed but doesn't yet understand how to use the spoon in the bowl lol!!
    I'm sure this hot weather doesn't help as she doesn't like to eat as much when it's hot.

    Baby B lol I've been doing the same but it seems to even get in evert little part of her highchair! Yuck!! Then I feel like I have to give her a shake down when she's finished before putting her on the floor :lol: !!
    I'm sure, like with anything, it'll get better. It does make things easier from my point of view not having to feed her, just need new finger food ideas now lol!!!

    Summer - yeah they're fab!!!! Thanks to Baby B's recommendation!!
  • I put along sleeved bib on Luke and then used a roll up bib with a food catcher thing at the bottom, not much mess then on the floor just a few bits!

  • I was concerned when I started BLW with Dylan that he was eating far far less, the mess was massive and more ended up on the floor than in his mouth BUT he was happy enough and took what he needed rather than what I thought he needed. His weight didn't drop he continued developing normally and he does eat more during a growth spurt.

    As for him getting the hang of it, it took about 2 weeks before more food went into his mouth than on the floor. Now there are meals where he makes barely no mess at all, especially if its somethinhg he loves :lol:

    Trust in Ava, she will eat what she needs there clever these babies image

  • Rebecca - yep do those lol, there still seems soooo much mess!!! I'm sure I need shares in Dettol :lol:

    dylansmummy - thanks huni, hopefully won't have too long to wait then before she eats more then. She's soooo active then I know she'll need the calories to burn off too but I'll keep perservering with new things every day too - it's lots of fun and she seems to be really enjoying feeding herself, picking up things and trying them. Hopefully I won't even notice the mess in another week hahaha!! xx
  • Haha its when the mess becomes deliberate it gets more fun! Dylan has started feeding the dog, he dangles his hands or bowl off his highchair to get his attention im constantly saying no :lol:

    Oh and cornflakes stuck to the floor are really hard to get off!!!!! But I think he makes less mess eating with his hands than I would, I certainly couldn't eat cornflakes, yogurt, weetabix and porridge with my hands but he seems to manage it. I wish he'd figure out loading a spoon but that seems to be taking longer although I always give him one and he plays with it just doesnt use it!

    You will probably find one day you will give her something and it will just disappear and you will be suprised. Give Dylan mash potato and he's like a human garbage bin! She will be getting enough calories hun I promise she would be crying in hunger and no where near as active otherwise, if you are worried try offering her more milk as its still supposed to be there main source of nutrition but it sounds like she's doing brilliantly!

    Best bit i've found is going out for meals as you can pull off vegetables and other bits from your meal and eat as a family. Means you can enjoy a warm meal and you eat as a family which is the nicest thing ever. Then I just clear up the mess he's left on the floor!

    Enjoy xxxx
  • Hahaha bet your dog looks forward to Dylan's feed times now then :lol:

    Yea that's the thing, it'll be so much nicer when we go out as a family for her to eat what we're having. She did love her purees mind but think she prefers the independance of doing it herself, don't blame her!
    I'm going to put lots of newspaper down today lol, I've already hoovered once so another couple of times won't harm hahaha!!!
    Thanks Hun, hope you & Dylan are doing good xx
  • Ha ha - I know the feeling hun! I've just swapped my expensive Chicco highchair for a cheap Ikea jobbie because its so much easier to clean and there are less "hidey holes" for food to get stuck.

    I know what you mean about eating less ... but H is still on 4 bottles a day and putting on the same amount of weight so I'm trying not to worry about it too much. Some days I'll get him out of his highchair and pretty much his whole dinner will be in his seat - other times there will be nothing and I keep looking to find where he has hidden it all when really he has eaten it ... !
  • Hahaha!!! Oooo the Ikea highchair sounds good which one is it? Might have to get a new one I think as I'm sick of taking the cover & straps off to wash!! Ick.

    Bless him, I was hoping it was just because she doesn't have any teeth as to why she doesn't consume as much but H has a few now doesn't he so it can't be that?! Well it's not really affecting her sleep
    anyway which I'm sure if she was hungry I'd be the 1st to know about it :lol: xx
  • Ditto on the Ikea highchair. I had a Graco and got the Ikea one a couple of weeks ago and it's fab. It's the Antilop one. Super easy to wipe clean and Beth seems much happier in it.

    I know it's hard but try not to worry too much about the less food thing. I reckon pureed food looks like more than it actually is anyway (I know if I puree just one carrot it makes a surprising number of icecubes!) so she might not be eating much less than before. Beth seems like she is eating less but then she's still sleeping through so fingers crossed.

  • Wow that highchair looks fab, such a practical design - wish I'd have seen it before I splashed out on my M&P one hahaha!!! Oooo might get it though, looks so easy to clean!

    She polished off the meatballs I made for her tonight, I was very impressed! I made them with grated courgette & onion with some mixed herbs in. Then did her some mini pasta shells (all I had in pasta wise) and she did really well with them too, her pincer grip is fab!
    I laid down lots of newspaper to so was easy to clean up - just gave her a shake over the paper which she found hilarious!! x
  • Awww clever Ava, I knew it wouldn't take her long image

    Toby does indeed love Dylans meal times, he lays and just waits as he knows Dylan is only too happy to share without him getting a telling off for begging :lol: im just glad hubby takes him running or id have a fat dog!!!!

    Im glad shes getting the hang of it hun it must put your mind at rest xxxx
  • Yeah I felt very proud of her tonight bless her. I'm taking her out for lunch on Friday so I'm excited that she can have something she can feed herself - frees mummy up to eat my lunch (which makes a change :lol:!!!)
  • You can actually eat it warm image it was a strange concept for me after 6 months of luke warm/cold food :lol:

    I just use napkins to pick up the bits on the floor etc at the end

    Enjoy xxx
  • Warm food?! What's that?!! :lol:
    Do you just give Dylan bits of yours or order him something just for him? xx
  • I just break off from what I order, which means I find choosing harder as I want him to have something healthy but different too. (sandwiches always a good bet if you do struggle) Plus I find childrens meals are huge, not that healthy or inventive!! I take a plate too, just as the little munchkin always picks his up and chews the underneath and although he can lift ceramic plates I dont trust him not to drop/ throw it :lol:

    Only other issue ive found is a lot of restaurants highchairs dont have a tray attached but I just pull him up to the table and he's been fine with his plate on table with mine. But its really good fun, we've eaten in italian restaurants, cafes, nandos subways and not had any issues only problem ive ever had is some old ladies giving me filthy looks in m&s as I think they thought he was too young to b eating himself/ eating lumps and was making a mess so I should spoon feed him but he was enjoying his tomato or i'd of thrown it at them and told them to cheer up :lol:
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