Oct 17th, 2021
Starting Solids, a great milestone that should be celebrated, but also prepared for with lots of wipes, bibs, various bowls, and every spoon known to exist. At least that’s how it can seem sometimes when you start to google how to introduce solids.
What self feeding spoons should you use? What age should you introduce a spoon? Should you use a loaded spoon? Silicone? Plastic? Preloaded Spoon or not? The questions can go on and on when you start looking at self feeding for the first time. Hopefully this guide can help provide some answers to these and other questions and help you find the best spoon to start teaching your little one to self feed.
Just going off of the wide guidelines, the CDC recommends introducing spoons whenever your little one can start solid foods, which is typically considered to be 6 months. At this age, your little one will most likely not have the needed skills to feed themselves anything, so you can help them feed or let them get used to a safe soft spoon with holding and chewing it (with supervision of course).
Once again, the CDC says that the typical 10-12 month old can start to handle a spoon by themselves and start the self feeding process. This of course can vary widely for each baby, so just see what your little one thinks of a self feeding spoon at this age and consult with your family doctor to see what they say. Every baby is different, so one may be ready at 10 months, whereas another may not want to feed themselves until after 1 year.
So many choices out there, plastic, metal and silicone and then combinations. What you have to remember when deciding on a material is that your little one is not very coordinated when learning to self feed, and their little gums can be very sensitive to harder baby spoons. Without a doubt our favorite material to use for a first spoon is Silicone. Silicone is soft, hypoallergenic and flexible for uncoordinated little hands. Make sure any spoon is actually 100% silicone that has no fillers (try the pinch test for a quick test). Remember that your little one may not be interested in actually feeding themselves in the beginning so make sure whatever material you choose is safe for them to chew on. Our little dipper spoons are made of 100% food grade silicone and are perfect for learning to feed.
What does a great self feeding spoon look like?
Larger handle – you cant expect a baby learning to self feed to be able to grab a standard spoon, they still have not developed their pincer grasp. So look for something with a thicker handle
Spoon head – There are two options for this design. One is the typical spoon shape that is standard for a lot of baby spoons and adult spoons. This is fine if you are helping your little one to feed or if they have good coordination skills, but can sometimes be problematic for their first self feeding spoon.
The other option is what is called more of a dipper style head. This spoon shown here is our little dipper spoon. This construction features a hollow center with extending features on the inside that grab onto foods and prevent the food from falling off when your baby is first starting solids. This can be a great feature when learning to feed themselves as they can dip it into their food any way and still get a bite. Or you can even use it as a loaded spoon.
Gag Guard – One last feature that you can look for in a first spoon is a gag guard. While this is not absolutely necessary by any means it can help provide some safeguards against accidental gagging. When first learning to self feed babies can easily push a spoon too far back into their mouths and gag. Some self feeding spoons feature gag guards similar to the one shown below to try and prevent this.
All of these features are things you should look for in an infant self feeding spoon for your little one, but not every baby is the same, so one may prefer one spoon over another. Just remember to find what works best for both you as a parent as well as your child. And embrace this fun time, one of the major milestones in your child’s life before many more.