It has been amazing watching a baby who truly is in tune with their hunger and fullness cues eat a meal. By allowing a child to self-feed, they are in control of what and how much they eat. This allows them to stay fully attuned to their hunger and fullness cues and avoids the parent basing their intake on external forces. For example, basing the feeding from the size of the jar, or how much they think the baby should eat, which can result in them getting more or less food than what they actually need.
Sometimes, she eats way more than I expect, and other times way less than I expect. Sometimes she will eat everything on her plate, and other times she will just lick the avocado off her bread. I follow Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding, and I don’t worry about the differences in appetite. The division of responsibility is essentially a method where the parents are in charge of what, when and where foods are offered, and the child is in charge of how much and what they eat.
My daughter always surprises me, and it’s a real example of how appetite fluctuates for everybody, and also that one meal will not make or break your health. Sometimes our bodies need more or less food, and there is no reason to beat yourself up if you happen to be feeling hungrier one day compared to the next. The same idea stands when you have pizza for lunch, you know that you will not become nutrient deficient. Health is achieved as an average of what you eat over time, not just one meal!