When to introduce cutlery to children - The Weaning Spoon.
Weaning is an exciting time of discovery and adventure for you and your little one. Babies discover and 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 the ideal time is to introduce cutlery to their weaning journey. Current guidelines suggest starting to introduce solid foods between 4-6 months old. 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 without utensils. Introducing finger foods alongside some purees on spoons is a great start – illustrated beautifully by Charlotte Sterling-Reed in her ‘wean along with Ada’ journey and new book - How to Wean your Baby. A perfectly proportioned spoon for their little mouths stops their efforts being hindered in any way. Charlotte perfectly demonstrates pre-loading the spoon, 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!
Babies will enjoy playing with weaning spoons at first – and having a good munch on them with their tender teething gums! Having a few spoons to hand is always useful, as they will definitely want to be holding at least one throughout their meal, as well as enjoying throwing another on the floor. 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.
Different babies will take to weaning in different ways and at their own speeds. Don't worry if their interest is inconsistent at first as they get started. If you have any concerns then do speak to your health visitor who will be happy to offer advice. And don't forget - be ready with your camera app open to capture those funny expressions your baby will make as they try new flavours and textures! Enjoy the journey!