Skip to Content

AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Hello, it's me again. I am a first time mom and have many questions. I have a 2-year-old girl who was born blind and who is otherwise doing great is several areas developmentally, but, I can't for the life of me get her to feed herself. She still drinks a bottle (which I know isn't a good thing), and I've never been able to get her to hold that either. When it comes to a sippy cup, or a juice box, she has no problem giving it to herself. She still can't pinch things with her index finger and thumb and I know that this is a big factor as to why she won't feed herself, but it truly just seems that she doesn't want to. I feel that she likes that I feed her, and she won't even try if I try to encourage her to do it herself. What am I doing wrong? Is there anything that I can do to encourage her to feed herself? As a parent I want her to be as independent as possible as soon as possible like all parents, but at this point I don't know how to solve this problem. Please help!

There are currently 22 replies

Sort Replies Oldest to Newest

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

hi, I am 18 with a daughter named Jasmine who is now 10 months. She also has a teacher from early development that comes and works with her along with a therapist. We are working on getting her to crawl and feed her self but have not been lucky in either. She was diagnosed with DOP which has to do with the brain and to the extent of her vision we are not sure but think that she has some. It is very hard being so young having her and even harder with all the complications so finding this I am pretty thrilled because it does give me some insight and more guidelines to where other babies with blindness are.

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Monday, June 7, 2010
LAKE IS FEEDING HIMSELF!!!!!!! Although he is not successful 100% of the time he is increasingly so. It is becoming more automatic. This boy has amazing determination at such a young age, then again, it is food. I'm soooo very proud and it has only taken 3 weeks to teach him how to feed himself. Way to go Lake. mommy loves you

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

I have a 13 month old son who has a global delay of 6-9 months. He began OT, PT, SPCH, and vision therapy at 10 months of age and is making progress. As you all mention, my son did not sit up until 9 months and even this was with assistance. He had to be set up and then he could maintain position but did not actually get into sitting position on his own until 12 months. He is just now "hitching" which is baby "steps" for crawling. This too is with assistence. We put him in crawling position and push his knees forward then he advances with his hands. As far as feeding himself, he's trying. We do not have a diagnosis but a "possible" diagnosis of cortical vision impairment which is not eye damage but brain damage due to lack of oxygen at birth. With CVI, my son can only see in periferal field not central. HOwever this can change from day to day, hour to hour depending on his mood (tired, stress, etc.) He does not hold bottle, or sippy cup. When he tries to feed himself his food often ends up in his eye, over his shoulder, or on the floor. It's as if he doesn't know where his mouth is and why would he if he's only seeing fragmented pictures of his surroundings and people in them. At any rate, one neurologist told me he needs to be programmed. I've also read that blind children are orally defensive as well as tactile. They don't know what they're touching or what's coming at their face so they don't like hands or face touched. I find if I speak to my son like "mommy's going to touch your hand" or, "mommy's going to put cheerio in Lake's hand", or "mommy help Lake" he is slowly but surely more willing to allow me to touch him. With much practice/programming, Lake is now trying to feed himself. He still misses often but is finding success. He too experiences trouble with pincher grasp or opening hand when food is in palm of hand but he gets dry food to his mouth 40% of the time. You have to teach him EVERYTHING because, I believe, he cannot see you modeling it. What is so obvious to us through our observations is absent for our special children. But then their other senses are stronger than ours, ie, hearing and smell.
It is very comforting and informative reading this blog as I see my Lake is experiencing similar difficulties to your children who are blind. It's making the CVI diagnosis more and more probable even though mri does not confirm it. thank you all and hope my experiences are helpful to someone. : )

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

hi i have a five month old who was born blind .. we still dont know what is wrong with him there is mystery white in both of his eyes , we are off to wills eye center for answers but i jus wanted to post that oliver can hold his own bottle and drink for a few moments at a time and can sit up pretty well with a little support and can bring his teething ball right up to his mouth .. i wonder if when he gets older he might have problems like some of these other posts ..

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

I find this website to be really inspiring. I'm taking Developmental Psych and have to write a research paper about my child being born blind. I've spent the last month gathering info for this assignment and I have to admit, it's been an eye opener. I'm 25, and mom to a 2 yr old son. My son is able to see so I don't have any experience with a blind child. I feel this is a great paper to write about, to see life in a different perspective. I love the positivity coming from you moms with blind babies. I wish you all the best!!!

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

hi i have 3 year old blind little girl she is such a sweet think you just want to wrap her up in cotton wool. i have a problem of getting her to hold a spoon and help to feed her self im sure if i didnt feed her she would starve herself she never asks for food only skips she is really bright otherwise and was hoping someone would have some ideas many thanks sue

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

My name is Samantha and I am doing a report about blindness in babies and how they live everyday life...If you could give me some info. on how you child has developed with it or some causes of blindness that would be great. MY e-mail is

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves..AIKO name is John, and my daughter has Bi-Lateral Optic Nerve Aplasia. I saw that you wrote that your great-granddaughter has no optic nerves. I live in Pa, but work in central NJ. I would love to correspond w/ you. My e-mail is
Thanks and God Bless!

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry I haven't responded or posted in such a long time. Since I started school, my schedule has just been extremely hectic. I want to thank everyone who has posted because any bit of information helps tremendously. My little girl still doesn't feed herself, but I've decided to put her in private physical, occupational, and speech therapy to help with her delays. She's still involved in ECI and gets numerous services there, but she'll be going to school in March and I just feel that she hasn't made the progress that I want her to make. Her teachers and I both feel that she just needs more help because its apparent that what we're doing isn't working. We should be starting private therapy as soon as possible, so I'll be letting everyone know how it goes. Patience does go a long way, but I also feel that a little action doesn't hurt either. So, I hope the therapy works and I promise to keep everyone posted!

Cindy and Jassy

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Hi, my baby is 16 months old and I am trying to teach her how to feed herself. As with most things when trying to teach a blind child it seems to take a lot of time and patience. I have bought a plate that sticks onto her high chair tray, which she loves putting her hands into but getting it into her mouth from there is proving a little bit difficult. It usually ends up on the floor which most children whether blind or not seem to go through apparently. When I gave her a spoon for the first time she put it straight into her mouth but I think that was a fluke as it hasn't happened again. I guess we will just keep trying and eventually she will get the hang of it.

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

hi,iam new to your site.ialso have a granddaughter who is blind.after reading some of your notes everything you have talked about i've seen my grandaughter go through the same.katelyn is 4 now and very smart does very well in school and the joy of may life.i am going to give my daughter-in-law this web site.i think she can answer alot of question or at lest share some of her thoughts and experiense with you. mamaw p

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Hello I have been too busy to check this board lately but i am glad to read your messages.i have a 2 1/2 year old great grandaughter who is the joy of our life.She was born with out optic nerves and the Doctors say she is blind. I watch her every week from Monday to Thursday Because her parents go to college in PA. They are both 21 years old too. WE have ECI and VI come to my house once a week.Our baby will not feed herself either she will pick up dry items like toast or cheerios She hates wet foods. Lately we play a game scoop the mashed potatoes or oats. and she is making progress.She never crawled but started walking when she was 11 months now she runs. She has an outstanding vocabulary because she listens very well She also does not sleep well at night so we get up with her and sleep when she doesWe are trying to potty train her also.She also loves to sing and gives me the chills she does it so well she mimics the singers so good. She also will be going to preschool when she is 3.We are concerned but want the best for her. Our doctor wants her to have surgery to make her eyes look straight {FOR COSMETIC REASONS ONLY] She has nystagmus too {her eyes roll} We live in new jersey and would love to continue e-mail with you. Good Luck with your baby it sounds as though you are doing everything correct with her.

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves


Are you Ok, no messages, let me know everything is alright!

Helen and Fred xxx

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Hi Cindy,

Sorry for not replying in the last couple of days. We have had a day in hospital having tests done on Fred. It turns out that me and my husband have both carried a genetic malfunction that has given Fred his eye condition. We had a 1 in 42000 chance of this happening and it did!!!

Any way the tests will tell us what the chances of us having any more children with this condition are, (his condition is also linked heavily with autism) so we can decide whether to risk another natural pregnancy or favour IVF with a donor.

Any way.....I am 31, so not as sweet as you, but still a first time Mum.

When Fred was born, I was overjoyed. The pregnancy occurred quickly, I had a perfect pregnancy with no sickness, nothing, just got fat! I had the labour from heaven, so quick, no pain relief and a boy as a result, which I secretly wanted.

It just seems to me that things went so well, something had to go wrong at some stage and it did. But I also believe that God looked at us and our abilities and decided that a blind little boy would have the best start in life in our family and that was why we had him.

I often look at Fred when he is playing and even when he is throwing a tantrum, and think that if I could change the Fred I know for a Fred with eyesight, I wouldn't. My little boy is so special, even when he is a horror, that if he had eyesight he wouldn't be the same baby.

I find that wine is also a good way of getting through!!!!!! (Joke!!) Only the odd glass, but luckily for me, I have been having 12 hours at night since he was 8 week old.

It is so nice to chat, and I do hope that other people will find our endless chit chat strengthening.

PS - I wasn't terribly religious before this happened to me, but I do now find some strength in my faith and have also discovered the power of prayer. I say a prayer every night for fred and other families of children with any kind of disability. My friends and family also pray. Strangely, since prayer has started happening, things have happened that give us the strength to accept.

I will say a prayer you both tonight.

Helen and Fred (who has an ear infection today)

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Hey Helen (and Fred!),'s almost like you hit it right on the nose! You said it perfectly, that when I want my daughter to be disabled, she is, and when I don't want her to be, she's not. I think it's just something that we're going to do naturally as parents. In reality, everything will turn out ok. It's just sometimes, waiting is extrememly difficult. I really just needed some support and for someone to let me know that I'm not the only one going through this which is why I'm glad that I'm talking to you. Thank you for that by the way!

And I truly don't feel like you were being harsh at all. I know that my daughter is being lazy, and I actually tell her that all the time! Our children are blessings and that is one thing that I know for sure:)

I too also wish that we were closer to each other so that we could chat in person. (Coffee is my life saver by the way because Jasmine doesn't sleep through the night!) So having coffee would together would be nice. I hope that chatting this way is okay with you though. You're the only other parent that I've talked to with a blind child so it comforts me when I talk to you.

By the way, I've been wanting to know how old you are since you said that you were also a young mom. I've just been extremely curious since you wrote in the first time. I hope you don't mind that I'm being so nosy.

I hope to hear from you soon! God Bless!

Cindy and Jassy:)

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Hi Cindy,

Just thought that my response may have sounded a bit harsh... my point is that I find that when it suits me, my son has a disability, and when it doesn't suit me, he doesn't.

Our kids are normal kids with a "normal" expectational level of development...their only problem is that as normal children, they can;t see too well.

They will still develop eventually. Fred has a visual impairment teacher who comes in once a month to monitor his progress and this guy tells me that it will all happen by school age regardless and the best thing that I can do is to stop trying to make things happen before Fred is ready, just so I can show the world his ability is not affected.

Does this make sense???

Wish you were a bit closer so we could have coffee!!!

All the best

Fred and his Mum xx

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Hi again Cindy,

I guess you are right, they will all do it soon enough. As one of the most uptight Mums I know, I am beginning to realise the importance of letting them do things when tbey are ready. For example, only in the last 2 weeks, did Fred start eating lumpy food, whereas my Health Visitor told me that there was somthing a miss as he didn't readily accept lumpy foods at 8 months. She was wrong, he just wasn't ready.
I get depressed sometimes wondering, but I am starting to believe that things will only happen when good and ready.

Your daughter may be blind, but she could also just be damn lazy!! But as you already know there is a problem an d so are you trying to account for this in some way??

I know I do.

Glod Bless

Helen and Fed ( and a sloppy kiss form him)

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

P.S. And one more thing, about Fred not crawling but wanting to walk, he may just be more adventurous than my daughter. All kids have their own unique personalities, and I feel that my daughter would be walking if she would lose her fear. She can walk by herself with a little push toy, but I know that she doesn't have enough balance or confidence to quite let go yet. She also doesn't have a problem holding my hand and walking with me. So maybe your son can see something, or maybe he's a tough little guy who's not afraid of the challenge. Either way, keep hoping and praying and know that God is with you and your son always.

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Well hello Helen (and Fred!),

That's wonderful to hear that your son is wanting to feed himself. I have tried to wait until my daughter, Jasmine, is starving but for some reason she would rather throw a horrible fit than try to feed herself. Jasmine does like to feel her food sometimes when she's in the mood. She doesn't always attempt to put the food in her mouth, but she will just mash the food in her hands and check it out for a little bit which is where the problem is. Sometimes she really freaks out when I try to make her touch or grab her food when she doesn't want to. So again, I think I'm just going to play the waiting game and see how it goes.

Now about her sitting and daughter's doctors have told me that she 100% blind; that she sees pitch black. I on the other hand have hope that she can at least see some shadows or something..anything at all, but I'm not sure. I have a lot of hope, in other words, but I also know that my daughter is extremely smart therefore she will succeed either way. Jasmine and I have been extremely blessed and fortunate enough to have had a ton of help in her development. She is in a program called ECI (Early Childhood Intervention), where there are teachers that come every week to help her in the different areas that she is struggling in. As of now she has an occupational therapist, VI teacher, orientation and mobility teacher, a speech teacher, and a nutritionist. All of her teachers have been working with her since the age of 3 months. So really her crawling and sitting came with a lot of practice and repetition, and a ton of persistence from her teachers and I. Soon, when she's 3 years old, she will be put in a program which will allow her to go to school. That is really freaking me out because I don't want my little girl to leave me! Anyway, I hope some of this information helps you. And again, I'm not sure if you have any of these resources but if you do and you haven't gotten them, please do it as soon as possible. It will help in every aspect you can imagine. Thanks again for writing me.

God Bless You,
Cindy and Jassy

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Hi again Cindy,

Fred is still not wanting to feed himself with a spoon, but has shown some interest in putting his hands in his meal, which creates one hell of a mess, but at least he is having a go.

I noticed the other day, he was really ready for a drink and so I passed him his cup and he used it himself. I have also had some success with putting bits of food in his hand and letting him put it in his mouth. The secret with both of these successes was that he was either very thirsty or hungry.

Have you tried waiting until your daughter is desperate?

It is interesting what you say about your daughters development - my son didn't sit up until 9 months and has never crawled, but he is attempting his first few steps, almost always resulting in a nasty head bang, but he is having a go. Does this mean he can see something? Do you know if you daughter can see atall? What is her level of vision?

Nice to have a friend at last who knows what this is like.

God bless you both,

Helen and Fred

Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

Thanks for responding Helen. Well she has something called ROP. They are not sure what caused it, but they know that her retinas are abnormal. I was an extremely depressed teen and didn't grasp the concept of what it was to become a mother. I know its my fault and I blame myself for making many bad choices, but I feel that God knew what he was doing when he sent her to me. It's because of my daughter that I am happy with my life and with myself. She is my purpose in life..I know that now. I'm going to be 21 soon, so yes you can say that I am a very young mom with a lot on my shoulders and I am just getting stronger. I know that my daughter will succeed in life with our love and support. I also feel that if she wanted to feed herself that she would, but she just doesn't want to. For instance, she can hold her sippy cup but won't hold her bottle. She is 2 years old and is still drinking a bottle! It's ludacris, but I know that it comforts her. I know that things will happen in her own time because that's how everything has happened so far. Now as for your son, as you told me, don't worry about it. My daughter didn't start crawling until she was 15 months old. She couldn't sit up on her own until she was about 9 months, so I know that your son will be fine. I am currently working on my daughter's speech and her being able to walk on her own. (She can walk with a push toy.) And about your son falling behind, look at it this way, what is the right time to learn a certain milestone? What is "normal" anyway? I don't believe in normal...I believe in unique. He may "fall behind" and he may not, but my advice is, don't worry. He will get things at his own pace and will still be just as wonderful whenever he does learn something new. I was just wondering if someone knew how I could encourage my daughter to want to feed herself because I know she is capable. Thank you again for responding. I am from Texas. It's amazing how far apart we are and how much we have in common. Feel free to ask me any questions that you may have and I'll be sure to help you in any way that I can.


Re:Blind Babies Feeding Themselves

I am also a first time mum, bringing up a 13month old boy who was also born blind.
He shows no interest in feeding himself at all, never grabs the spoon, never attempts to hold his bottle or juice cup, and I feel he is falling back as all his contemporaries are having a good go.

I have come to the conclusion that he will do it when he is good and ready, I mean, you don't see many blind adults still being spoon fed do you?
I have accepted that when he is old enough to understand what we are telling him, he will pick it up. Your baby cannot see you so cannot copy you and that is my problem too.

Relax, if your baby is advancing in all other areas OK, let her do it in her own time.

Out of interest, what caused your baby's blindness?? My son has a condition called Retinitis pigmentosa (early onset). I am replying to you from the UK as I have yet to find another parent with a blind child so young and it is great to know there are other Mums out there battling like me.

May the force be with you,

Let me know when you manage self feeding,


Log in to Post a Reply