When your baby begins to move on to solid foods, it is a big change for them. They have relied on you as their parent or caregiver to feed them for their whole life and they have no idea what lies in store for them when they start to feed themselves. Independence is required from the baby and patience is needed from the parent or caregiver during the weaning stages, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting and fun for everyone!
We are pleased to bring you this blog in association with Nana’s Manners on how introducing cutlery to your baby’s weaning journey can help their independence grow when learning how to feed themselves in a way that is fun for all involved.
Introducing Cutlery to your Baby’s Weaning Journey
Between the ages of 4-6 months, you will be ready to start a new exciting journey with your little one. Weaning is a fascinating time of discovery and adventure. Just when your baby is used to drinking warm, sweet milk all day suddenly they’re being given all these exciting new flavours to try!
Babies learn about eating in the same way they learn everything else – through exploration, by watching others, by playing and practicing. This is a journey over many months as they become more confident and their skills develop as they grow.
You may wonder when is the ideal time to introduce cutlery to their weaning journey. Here are our tips to support your child in learning this lifelong new skill;
- Spoons are the first step. Introducing spoons early and frequently will support their learning along with familiarity. They will soon understand that cutlery is part of most mealtimes.
- Going down the Baby led weaning route does not mean you must use purely finger foods with no utensils. Introducing finger foods alongside purées on spoons is a great start.
- A perfectly proportioned spoon for their little mouths stops their efforts being hindered in any way. You wouldn’t enjoy eating your dessert so much if you were trying to fit a tablespoon in your mouth!
- Babies will enjoy playing with weaning spoons at first and this is an important part of learning. They will also enjoy having a good chew on them with their tender teething gums!
- Pre-load the spoon at first, which you can either leave on the plate/bowl for them to pick up or hand directly to them. Once they become more confident they will soon be dipping the spoons all by themselves!
- Having a few spoons to hand is always useful, as they will definitely want to hold onto at least one throughout their meal, as well as throwing another onto the floor. You can clear the area your little one is sitting in, but now is not a time to worry about mess!
- Their interest may vary, but having a spoon on offer to them allows them to pick it up when they are ready. Hands and cutlery are a great combo!
- Role modelling is important – they will enjoy watching you use cutlery and be keen to copy any older siblings.
As well as for babies, weaning is an exciting time for parents too. You will learn a lot about your little one’s character and their likes and dislikes. Make sure you have your phone camera open to capture the wonderful faces they will pull as they try new flavours! Enjoy the journey!
We at Matchstick Monkey hope this blog has left you feeling excited about your child’s weaning journey and has provided you with some tips and tricks to try out at home.
If your baby is experiencing teething whilst weaning, check out our blog: 9 steps on what to do for a teething baby for some helpful tips on how to keep your baby happy when their little gums need some TLC.
Weaning advice provided by Kathryn Baldrey-Chourio, Nana’s Manners. Nana’s Manners design tableware that supports children’s development and helps families make more out of mealtimes.