Want to know about spoons and baby-led weaning? You’re in the right place!
I recently blogged about the use of forks as my preferred first utensil. Now, let’s talk about spoons! Spoons are generally a bad word in Baby-Led Weaning until your baby decides to pick one up and use it. So, what’s the deal with spoons?
Don’t babies start using spoons before forks?
Generally speaking, spoons are presumed to be the obvious first utensil for a baby – well, actually they are harder to use than forks. Loaded spoons usually get picked up and twisted before baby gets it to its mouth. The result? I frustrated baby who can’t quite get where that yummy lunch got to. Unless it’s something quite sticky spoons are very challenging.
Baby spoons often have the same problem as any baby cutlery – they appeal to the parents vs the baby. Most are too wide for your baby to get them into their tiny hungry mouths. I find the narrower the spoon the easier they are. In all honesty, a regular teaspoon has been a massive hit. Obviously normal spoons are too big at this stage (would be like us eating with a serving spoon).
What’s the best way to start using a spoon?
Loading the spoon up for your baby (with something sticky) is a good start. Yogurts, houmous and applesauce are all good ways to teach your baby to dip their spoon and get something into their mouth! Patience is key. It’s time consuming but let your baby discover and master this technique.
Anything else about spoons?
Personally I try to make sure BiP eats foods that are spoon appropriate where ever possible – I try to avoid giving her a spoon when roast chicken is on the table in the same way that I don’t give her a fork to eat yogurt. As I’ve said in the past; don’t be discouraged if your hungry baby pushed the fork aside to eat with their hands during the transition!
So, when do you start using a fork with your baby?
We are almost 8 months into our Baby-Led Weaning journey which means it’s time BiP progressed from eating almost exclusively with her hands to using cutlery. Unconventionally, I chose forks as the utensil of choice. However, finding the perfect fork was a challenge.
I was surprised to discover how many “baby” forks were actually the same size, if not wider than an adult fork. Obviously BiP is too small to have a regular adult fork – it would be like us eating with salad servers!
Plastic seems to be popular and readily available although I personally prefer metal. Many have very thick handles which seem hard for BiP to really grip. At the moment her favourite is the fork with the thinnest handle.
So, what’s the best way to start using a fork?
BiP has been mimicking us for a while (which means we have to really watch our table manners) so her transition to using a fork has been smooth. (I’ve been giving her a fork since she was about 9m old and coordinated enough not to take her eye out with it!) I usually load the fork for her when she first sits down for a meal and just this week she has been able to reload it herself.
Why is a fork better than a spoon?
Once there is food securely speared onto the end of the fork it is unlikely to fall off. The precision required to get the fork from the plate into their tiny mouths is a lot less than with a spoon. Spoons can be frustrating as things fall off very easily
Anything else about forks?
Once they decide they only want to use a fork be prepared for meal times to take a long time whilst this technique is mastered. Also, don’t be discouraged if your hungry baby pushed the fork aside to eat with their hands during the transition!
BiP enjoying lunch out with Mummy
I know I have been talking a lot about Baby-Led Weaning recently, I guess it’s because I have become a fan/obsessed (or a bit of both)! The one thing that has struck me is that it goes beyond food and nutrition; it’s a mindset. Some mothers have said “yeah we do a bit of spoon-feeding and a bit of BLW” which in all honesty doesn’t make much sense to me.
Today I stumbled upon a post about Why you can’t do BLW by halves which highlights the fundamental differences between BABY-Led Weaning (BLW) and PARENT-Led Weaning (PLW), the latter being spoon-feeding and finger foods. One thing that rings true to me is that you can’t do both.
So, what do I mean why I say the BLW Mindset? Since I love lists here we go:
- The BLW Mindset is about allowing your baby to have absolute control over what they eat and how they eat it. As long as you offer a varied and healthy diet that is safe and manageable for them to eat the rest is up to them.
- It is all about trusting your baby to know what they need of certain foods and how much. There is no measuring with BLW – how much your baby eats is up to them, always.
- Daily nutrition should not be the concern, instead weekly nutrition is the priority. If you ensure that your baby always has healthy options it does not matter if they don’t eat a combination of meat, vegetables and carbs in one sitting.
- BLW starts with what YOU eat – it’s about how the whole family eats – not just your baby. You can’t expect your baby to be delighted with steamed veges whilst you are devouring a Big Mac meal in front of them. You need to rethink how YOU eat as a family.
- BLW is based on mutual trust between you and your baby; your baby trusts you to provide healthy food and you, in turn, need to trust your baby to know what to do with it. No coaxing, “helping”, games .. etc.
- There is no food introduction schedule in BLW unless there is a family allergy. You do not need to wait 3 days between new foods, you don’t have to wait to introduce milk/wheat/dairy/egg whites … the list is endless… basically if there no family allergy issue and your baby shows all the signs of readiness – GO FOR IT!
- If you have a treat or a desert you should let your baby try it – it is only fair – you are enjoying something so let them join in. Denying them this makes whatever you are eating forbidden and perhaps desirable in the future but can cause distrust between you and your baby – why is mummy letting me have everything but not that? The BLW Mindset includes the whole family – just make sure you don’t do it everyday!
So, that’s what I feel about the BLW Mindset. Have you go it?