Spoon Feeding – friend or foe?

Oscar spoon feeding

Following my last post I have had some questions about correct spoon feeding. I thought I would share my response with you all as I think some more clarification is needed.

Spoon feeding can be a valuable part of weaning in the ‘right hands’.

Even though it is often the parent holding the spoon, spoon feeding also needs to be ‘baby led’. As a parent, you need to be attentive to your baby’s needs and wishes at all times. It is easy for spoon feeding to go wrong and I have seen mothers jabbing spoons at their babies and their babies obviously not enjoying it. Spoon feeding should be like a dance partnership where the parent and child read each other’s signals and feeding happens in synchrony. Here are some tips, from my personal and professional experience, on how to do spoon feeding correctly.

How to spoon feed in a supportive manner

  • Get your baby to sit in front of you and face you. Putting them in a high chair at a table with you can help as you are at the same level and this is a good precursor to future family meals
  • Use a baby safe spoon. Using a shallow soft weaning spoon can help. Its soften if they play with it and stops you putting too much on the spoon
  • Don’t over fill the spoon. Too big mouthfuls can be off putting!
  • Hold the spoon in front of them. Hold the spoon laden with food about 10 cm away from his/her mouth.
  • Get his/her attention. Make sure the TV is turned off and nothing too exciting is happening at meal times. 
  • Let them lean forward. Let them come to the spoon instead of you leaning forward.
  • Try a taster on their lips. If they are unsure or it is a new food, put a little on their lip.
  • Read their signals – Each baby is different so watch carefully and see when they are ready for the next mouthful. Try to match their pace.
  • Let your baby touch the food. Engaging with food is an important way of learning textures, even if it means squashing a pea and not eating it!
  • Make meal times social. Sit and eat a little with your baby. Let them watch you trying the food yourself and they may be more likely to give it a go. Have a chat about the food they are eating and plans you might have for the day.
  • Stop when he/she has had enough. Never be tempted to try sneak in mouthfuls. One extra spoonful won’t make any difference nutrition wise. It will just upset your baby and make meal times a stressful experience.

TOP TIP: Spoon feeding can be a valuable part of weaning in the ‘right hands’.  Spoon feeding should be like a dance partnership where the parent and child read each other’s signals and feeding happens in synchrony

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