Skip to content

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Feeding Your Child Using Division of Responsibility - Topic Overview

The division of responsibility is a way of feeding your child that takes the battle out of meal times.

  • From birth until your child is between 6 months and 1 year old, you are responsible for what your child eats, and your child is responsible for how much and how often he or she eats. (Infants are fed on demand.)
  • As your child starts eating solid foods, you become responsible for what, when, and where your child eats, and your child is responsible for how much is eaten, and even whether he or she eats.
How you and your child decide on food
Child's age Your responsibility Your child's responsibility
0 to 12 months

What

How much

When (how often)

1 year and older

What

When (how often)

Where

How much

Whether

Infants are born with an internal hunger gauge that tells them when they're hungry and when they're full. When we try to control how much children eat, we interfere with this natural ability. Using the division of responsibility helps your child stay in touch with those internal cues.

Responsibility changes as your child grows. By the time your child is about 1 year of age, you become responsible for when your child eats by providing routine meals and snacks. You also decide where your child eats, ideally at home, at a table for as many family meals as possible. Doing this lays a foundation for the decisions your child will make when he or she has more freedom to decide what, where, and when to eat.

It helps for you to be a good role model. Your own eating and lifestyle choices are a powerful teaching tool. Your child sees the choices you make and follows your example.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: 1/, 013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Feeding Your Child Using Division of Responsibility Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Slideshow
    Young woman holding lip at dentists office
    Video
     
    Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    tissue box
    Quiz
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow