When babies start eating solid food, parents often offer sweetened baby food or little sweet "treats", thinking babies will prefer that. In fact, the babies who self fed chose carbohydrates like toast, pasta or potatoes and the spoon fed babies went for sweets when given a choice.
In many parts of the world everyone uses their fingers to eat. Allowing a baby to self feed doesn't mean she won't develop good Western table manners. As a child develops and sees her family using utensils, she will automatically try to copy and will learn to use a fork and spoon.
This small study should give moms and dads the freedom to let junior get messy eating.