The Self Eating Baby!!!!
I am a very neat person (if I say so myself) and the idea of a mess, especially on the dining table, irks me.
My first baby showed signs of eating by himself by the time he was 8-9 months old (signs of motor skills developing). He would try to reach out for the food that was across him. Or the moment I made him sit on the high chair, and his food was ready, he wanted to grab it by his hands.
I was very particular on the cleanliness and thinking that he will make a big mess. I started feeding him myself and did not encourage him much unless it was something that I gave him myself on a fork, eg: watermelon, grapes, which he would put it in his mouth.
After some time I realized that he stopped taking anything by himself and he waited for me to feed him. Ohh!! that was a big mistake, he took quite some time to start eating on his own. I can say he was 3.5 years when I had to put in that extra time and effort to teach him again between other chores as I already had a second baby when my older one was 2 years old.
The age gap of two years between my kids was difficult in the beginning but then I got used to it. For the second one, I learned from my mistake and made sure I didn't stop him from eating on his own and I just ignored the mess and this way my younger son learned to eat by himself at 1 year and 2 months. Now at 1.5 months, he seems to be ready to start using the spoon which I will encourage him to use, no matter the mess!
Its easier to clean the mess than waiting for long times feeding your kids.