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Choosing Utensils for Baby Led Weaning

If you have decided to go the baby led weaning route, you may be wondering which utensils you should choose for your baby. There are a lot of options, but not all of them are appropriate for a baby who is self feeding. Utensils for baby led weaning are going to be different than utensils for spoon feeding, because babies don’t have very much motor control when they are first starting out, so they will need all the help that they can get.

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Before You Even Begin

While you are waiting for your child to show the signs of readiness for starting solids, you may notice that they are showing interest in the idea of eating. Showing interest is great, but it doesn’t mean that they are ready to start quite yet. You can, however, start bringing them into the meal experience in a safe way.

Get them comfortable with their high chair by bringing them to the table and placing them in it with some teethers or other toys. The long spoons usually associated with feeding babies work work really well as toys for babies (and you) to get used to their gag reflex. Remember that your baby’s gag reflex is more forward than yours. Gagging is a very normal part of feeding.

baby spoons with long handles

Best Spoons for Baby Led Weaning

Many babies will self-feed using their hands, which is completely developmentally appropriate! That being said, it never hurts to offer them a spoon. When looking for a spoon, look for one with a short, stubby handle. Babies generally don’t have the dexterity to maneuver the long handles of bigger spoons. The mouth of the spoon should also be small, as babies have small mouths.

As far as materials, it really comes down to preference. Silicone tends to be a popular material, because it is very soft, however it can end up with a soapy flavor depending on how it is washed. Follow manufacturer’s advice for maintenance.

When Just Starting

These are my favorite spoons when starting out. The grip on the mouth of the spoon helps food to stick, making it easier for baby to self feed. The mouths are double sided, so as long as your baby gets that end into the food, they can be successful.

gootensil spoons

Next Stage

Once your baby has the basic idea of self-feeding, you can look for any short handled spoon. Having multiples can be extremely helpful. Babies will often drop a spoon as they eat, so having another available can make mealtime go much more smoothly.

short handled baby spoons

Spoon Tip

It can take a while for babies to full grasp the idea of a spoon. Handing them a pre-loaded spoon can help manage frustration during the meal, until they grasp the concept of loading the spoon themself. That being said, many babies also don’t realize that they need you to hand them the spoon in order for you to reload it for them. I recommend having 3-4 spoons available at a meal. This way you can load spoons and hand them to your baby who will likely keep two in their hands at all times. When they realize their spoons are empty and the only way they can get a new one is to drop one, they will, and you can reload that spoon. Judy from Feeding Littles refers to this as the “Three Spoon Circus.”

Best Forks for Baby Led Weaning

Most babies don’t need forks right away when starting solids. You can introduce them whenever you feel that your child has the control to not accidentally poke themselves with a tine. Look for rounded tines. Many kids will still opt to use their fingers instead of a fork for quite a while, which is appropriate! Continue to model using a fork and eventually they will pick it up!

toddler fork

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