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Feeding Baby Brother His Carrots

baby eating carrots with baby spoon

About this Video

The clip shows a milestone in the life of 6-month-old Jack and his older brother Will (5 years, 2 months). Their parents, Luci and Marty, have decided that Will can feed Jack his first strained vegetables.

Several aspects of family life are shown in this video clip: arranging family time, supporting sibling relationships, and communicating with other family members.

Arranging family time.

In many families, the adults are so busy that finding family time can be difficult. Luci and Marty have decided to make Jack’s first experience eating carrots a low-key special occasion with roles for each family member.

Will’s role during this activity is to feed Jack. Marty sits behind Jack, supporting him and keeping him from hitting the bowl of food. Occasionally, he wipes Jack’s face with the bib. Marty also talks to Will. Luci operates the camera and talks to both Will and Jack. Jack’s role is to eat—or to at least sample—the unfamiliar food.

Luci and Marty led up to this feeding by letting Will help Jack eat cereal several times. Also, the parents decided Jack can sit on the table to eat because Jack doesn’t like eating in his high chair. They prepared the bowl of carrots and the spoon for the feeding and put the bib on Jack. They also made sure Will washed his hands thoroughly.

Supporting sibling relationships.

Parents who have both a preschooler and an infant often wonder what they can do to help the children get to know each other. Babies require so much attention from parents that older siblings sometimes feel left out and resentful. A baby is likely to be quite interested in a bigger brother or sister but cannot play and communicate as older children can. The older child may have positive feelings about the baby but may not know how to interact with the little one. Luci and Marty have taken the approach of encouraging Will to talk to and help care for his brother. Will knows some of what is involved in feeding a baby, and Jack is familiar with having his brother feed him. If Jack’s first experience with eating vegetables were also Will’s first time feeding him, it might have been somewhat stressful for both boys. Instead, the brothers are well-prepared.

As Will prepares the first mouthful, Marty makes a joking comment (“How can he eat carrots without teeth?”), but Will seems absorbed in his task and does not respond. Jack seems to pay especially close attention to Will. He follows Will’s movements with his eyes, reaches for the spoon and the food bowl, and sometimes opens his mouth before the spoon reaches him.

Both parents talk to the boys during the feeding process. In particular, they interpret Jack’s actions for Will; they believe that explaining what the baby is doing can help the older child understand and accept typical infant behavior. They often call attention to the different ways that Jack communicates (“He keeps going back for more, doesn’t he?” “He’s kicking his leg, like ‘Give me more!’ ”). This helps Will understand that his little brother has opinions and feelings even though he cannot talk. When Will seems frustrated that Jack spits out the carrots, Marty assures Will that Jack likes the carrots. He and Luci explain that the baby is still figuring out what to do with the new food.

Luci speaks to Jack several times, making comments and asking him questions such as “What do you think?” “Do you want more?” She does not expect him to answer, of course, but her attention lets Jack know she’s interested in his reactions and his efforts to communicate. Her communication with Jack also serves as a model for Will. Will speaks encouragingly to Jack, much as Luci and Marty speak to both of the boys. Will sometimes uses a variation of “parent-ese”—the high pitched, slow, somewhat exaggerated way of speaking that adults often use with babies. He has probably noticed adults interacting this way with Jack and other babies.

Communicating with Other Family Members

Luci and Marty originally made this video to keep their parents and other relatives informed about life with Will and Jack. Sharing videos like this one can enhance the bond between children and those family members who are not able to participate in their everyday activities. At the beginning of the clip, Will explains to “the camera” what is about to happen. Later, Luci asks him to “tell the camera” how he thinks the feeding is going. As Jack grows older, he may want to take a similar active role in communicating with family members through videos.



Will: We’re about to give—Camera, we’re about to give Jack, my bruh—my new brother, over there, some carrots. Now show ’em, Jack!

Marty: He doesn’t have any teeth.

Luci: (to Will) All right.

Marty: How can he eat carrots without teeth?

Luci: (to Will) Now here’s … take a little scoop. He’s pretty curious already, isn’t he? Just a little bit—

Marty: Okay.

Will: (to Jack) Open … sesame!

Jack accepts the spoon, gets some food into his mouth, and pushes on it with his tongue.

Luci: And let’s see what he thinks. What does he think?

Will moves the spoon toward Jack’s mouth.

Will: Open baby, baby, open.

Jack accepts another spoonful of food.

Luci: Aww. What do you think, baby? What do you think?

Will: (says something unintelligible) If you don’t like it—

Luci: Okay, that’s good. Oh, he wants more! Do you want more?

Jack accepts food from the spoon and pushes it out of his mouth with his tongue.

Will: You’re opening, like, oh! You’re open…!

Luci: He’s not sure what to think. He’s like, “Hmm.”

Marty: (to Will) Why don’t you try and clean off the spoon there?

Jack watches Will tap the spoon.

Luci: He’s liking that noise that you’re doing.

Luci: (whispering to Will) Okay, there you go.

Jack opens his mouth as Will moves the spoon toward him.

Will: Jackie, don’t do it, don’t do it … ah, yeah! Big boy! Big boy!

Luci: He seems to like it. He keeps going back for more, doesn’t he?

Some food spills off the spoon.

Will: Uh!

Marty wipes up the spill.

Marty: Yeah, I think we’re good.

Will: Nope, got a little—

Luci: That’s okay.

Marty: On the foot.

Jack: Hmm.

Luci: That’s gonna happen. That’s just part of eating when you’re a baby. It’s just a messy process, right?

Will gives Jack another spoonful of food.

Luci: There you go.

Marty: Mmm. Yeah.

Will: Oh, is that good, baby? Oh, he’s spitting all of it out!

Luci: Yeah, he’s still trying to figure it out.

Marty: He’s not sure what to do with it. He likes it though.

Luci: Tell the camera what you think about how it’s going.

Will: I think it’s probably going a little bad here, camera.

Luci: You think so? How come?

Will: Because he’s spitting it out. I want him to eat it, not spit it.

Luci: Yeah, he’s still learning how to eat with a spoon.

Jack: Hmmm! Hmm.

Will offers Jack another spoonful of food, and Jack takes more food from the spoon.

Luci: He seems to be kicking his leg, like “Give me more!”

Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age Three & How They Were Met

This list shows how Jack’s actions in the video relate to some standards in the birth-to-three guidelines.

Self-Regulation: Foundation of Development
Attention Regulation
Children demonstrate the emerging ability to process stimuli, focus and sustain attention, and maintain engagement in accordance with social and cultural contexts.

  • Indicators for children (birth – 9 months): Focuses attention on novel objects and familiar caregiver(s)
  • Action:
    • Jack focused on a new activity as his brother attempted to feed him solids for the first time.
    • Jack continued to show interest in the feeding process while family members fed him and talked about his reactions.

Developmental Domain 1: Social & Emotional Development
Emotional Expression
Children demonstrate an awareness of and the ability to identify and express emotions.

  • Indicators for children (birth – 9 months):
    • Uses facial expressions and sounds to get needs met, e.g., cries, smiles, gazes, coos
    • Expresses emotions through sounds and gestures, e.g., squeals, laughs, claps
  • Action: Jack expressed interest in the food and the feeding process by leaning forward, watching the spoon as his brother put food on it, opening his mouth when the spoon approached his face, chewing on the spoon, and moving the food with his tongue. He also vocalized when a mouthful of food was delayed by Will’s conversation. He kicked with one leg at the end of the video.

Developmental Domain 2: Physical Development & Health
Gross Motor
Children demonstrate strength, coordination, and controlled use of large muscles.

  • Indicators for children (birth – 9 months): Begins to gain balance, e.g., sits with and without support
  • Action: Jack sat with some assistance from his father and leaned slightly forward to accept the spoon (although he also pushed the food out with his tongue).

Developmental Domain 2: Physical Development & Health
Children demonstrate the desire and ability to participate in and practice self-care routines.

  • Indicators for children (birth – 9 months): Signals to indicate needs, e.g., cries when hungry, arches back when in pain or uncomfortable, turns head to disengage from object or person
  • Action: Jack leaned toward Will and the food and opened his mouth when the spoon was near.

Developmental Domain 3: Language Development, Communication, & Literacy
Social Communication
Children demonstrate the ability to engage with and maintain communication with others.

  • Indicators for children (birth – 9 months): Uses sounds, cries, facial expressions, and body language to convey needs
  • Action: Jack often leaned forward to get the food and made sounds when food was delayed while his brother was talking. He also kicked with one leg at the end of the video.

Developmental Domain 4: Cognitive Development
Children demonstrate the ability to acquire, store, recall, and apply past experiences.

  • Indicators for children (birth – 9 months): Anticipates familiar events, e.g., reaches for bottle and brings to mouth
  • Action: Jack anticipated the arrival of the spoon and leaned forward and opened his mouth in response.

Developmental Domain 4: Cognitive Development
Safety & Well-Being
Children demonstrate the emerging ability to recognize risky situations and respond accordingly.

  • Indicators for children (birth – 9 months):
    • Actively observes and explores environment
    • Demonstrates trust in caregiver(s), e.g., reaches for adult, comforted when soothed, looks for caregiver in novel situations
  • Action: Jack intently observed what Will was doing with the spoon and the carrots. He showed comfort in the sitting position and did not struggle when his father helped him sit safely.

Approaches to Learning
Confidence & Risk-Taking
Children demonstrate a willingness to participate in new experiences and confidently engage in risktaking.

  • Indicators for children (birth – 9 months): Explores new objects with eagerness, e.g., squeals and/or squeezes a toy
  • Action: Jack did not reject the new experience of having someone feed him vegetables. He appeared to feel comfortable as his brother fed him.