Hand feeding is gently placing food, whether chunky or pureed, in a child’s mouth. In many areas of China, children are routinely hand fed chunky solid foods until they are school age. A child can feed himself, but an adult hand feeds to ensure proper nutrition and to keep total control over what the child eats. Hand feeding strengthens the parent and baby connection. The interaction creates more eye contact, engagement, and boosts trust.
The concept of hand feeding is worth a look as a loving gesture to promote healthy eating. In many parts of the world, we encourage independence with eating. At check ups, one of a pediatrician's main questions is, “Can your child use a spoon and feed himself independently?” Toddlers, especially, will often wait until we give them what they want or basically select out what they desire from their plate. Even though America has an abundance of families who can provide plenty of food to our children, this fortunate fact can work against us from a nutritional and vitamin standpoint. We have so many choices, and those children who are wired to enjoy certain food groups and reject others will do so because they know there is a variety of food available.
Are you interested in hand feeding? It's easy with a few suggestions.
Wondering about food selection? Easy-to-read, healthy feeding guidelines are available from www.choosemyplate.gov.