Newborns, including your TSK (That Special Kid), sure seem helpless; why, all they do is cry and eat, sleep, more crying, endless pee and poop and… did I mention crying?
And then as they get older, they start other things like making eye contact, smiling, reaching… and still a fair amount of that crying thing.
Genetically speaking, TSK’s cells are so busy growing that you and other caregivers have to do a lot, from day 1, 24-7!
But, when do you start letting go and letting TSK do some things on his own? Maybe sooner than you think!
Let the Feeding Begin!
When can TSK start to use his hands to grasp things?
- Usually around 4 months of age, most TSKs can hold an object like a rattle.
- After 6 months TSK can start to pick up something small and where does it go? OF COURSE! To the mouth!
So, NOW is the time to let TSK have some easy foods, like soft bread crumbs or cheerios. Of course TSK needs to be sitting up, preferably in a high chair.
Now, it isn’t practical to finger feed entirely, since many foods are runny, but many foods can be picked up with fingers, (even cooked carrot cubes, peas, and beans, including legumes).
Infants need enough teeth to eat these things, as well. So, watch TSK carefully for choking hazards.
The Research Study
A study from Swansea University in Wales looked at infants whose families spoon-fed them versus those who were given freedom and time to finger feed.
- The babies who were spoon-fed exclusively were decidedly more over-weight than the ones who were allowed to do some finger-feeding.
And, of course that makes sense; when caregivers are in a hurry, it is easiest to just shove a few spoonful’s into the little mouth, (it’s less messy), and off we go!
But, what can that child learn from finger feeding?
All of this allows the brain to be active in the process, rather than passively opening the “Hanger” for the “Airplane” to fly inside, depositing too many cargoes of applesauce.There, of course, is the texture thing, the coordination with the chewing, and if the spoon is small enough, many babies, given time can negotiate a spoon a whole lot sooner than parents think.