By: Melanie Edwards
When babies begin to self-feed, whether with finger foods or learning to eat with a spoon, it can be a very messy time! Babies drop their spoons (constantly) or purposely throw them down. Babies miss their mouth and accidentally get food all over themselves, the chair, and the floor. It’s natural, of course; learning to eat on your own can be tough! It’s also tough on our floors and particularly difficult when you have carpet. As parents, how can we let our babies go through this phase of learning to self-feed, and yet keep our floors clean?
Our dining area is carpeted. Even worse, it’s that cream-color carpet. I have nightmares about baby boy eating spaghetti on his own. But, I realize that I have to let him try because otherwise he’ll never learn to eat by himself. This means I have to let him try all kinds of food, not just finger foods.
We began with him trying to eat simple finger foods that wouldn’t make too much of a mess: cheese, crackers, cut-up chicken, and other foods that he could easily pick up with his fingers or a fork. The problem was that whenever we fed him rice, spaghetti, soup, or other more messy foods, he also wanted to dig into the bowl.
Realizing that we couldn’t avoid the issue much longer and that it was good and necessary for him to try to feed himself the messier foods, we had to figure something out. My husband found a no-longer-in-use plastic office floor mat at his job that they let him bring home. We put the floor mat underneath one of our dining chairs and that is our baby boy’s designated chair. The floor mat covers a wide area, which is perfect.
Baby boy can now eat finger foods or with a spoon without us having to worry so much. When food now falls on the floor, we simply wipe it up! Our carpet is clean and baby boy is happy feeling more like a big boy eating by himself.