5 - 6 Months

When to give your baby their own spoon

Tip: To promote motor skills and independence, give your baby their own spoon as soon as they start solids

Learning to use a spoon is a big step on your baby’s path to self-feeding. Once they can grasp a toy and bring it to their mouth, usually by the time they start solids, they should be ready to try using a spoon to put food in their own mouth.

Introducing a spoon as soon as your baby starts eating solid foods promotes independence, motor skills, sensory perception, and speech. They may also be more willing to try new foods if they have control and get to experiment with a spoon. 

Even with an early start, many babies don’t get good control of this skill until 9 months of age or after. Independent eating with a spoon takes practice. Surrender to the mess—it’s all part of the learning process 🙃

Tips for introducing a spoon

  1. Use a baby-size spoon. Montessori experts suggest using a metal, baby-size version of a spoon that resembles full-size utensils. Stainless steel is also eco-friendly and dishwasher safe.  
  2. Start by modeling how you eat from a spoon, eating the same food your baby is eating. Slowly and deliberately demonstrate how you scoop the food onto the spoon from your bowl, open your mouth wide and bring the spoon to your mouth. Slowly close your lips over the spoon and swallow. 
  3. Try 2 spoons at first: one for you to use to feed your baby and another for your baby to use to self-feed. This allows them to practice the fine motor skills involved while you make sure a few tastes make it into their mouth.
  4. After a few meals, teach your baby how to eat from a preloaded spoon: dip the spoon into a puree, then show them how to bring it to their mouth. Let your baby hold onto your hand so they can see how it feels. 
  5. Preload the spoon again, then put it back in the bowl for your baby to pick up. Center the spoon handle atop the edge of the bowl in front of your child so they can decide which hand to use.
  6. Don’t worry if your baby puts the wrong side of the spoon in their mouth or misses their mouth altogether. 
  7. Try to keep mealtimes free of distractions so your baby can focus on eating. 
  8. To learn more about this and other feeding topics, check out the Lovevery parent course ‘Food Before 1.’ In it, expert Rachel Coley shares her techniques and tools for mealtime success.

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Posted in: 5 - 6 Months, Fine Motor, Mouthing, Practical Life, Lovevery App, Eating & Drinking, Child Development

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