Many parents ask us for tips on encouraging their babies to eat from a spoon – so we have put together this list of tried and tested spoon feeding techniques!
Many babies are reluctant to open their mouths for a spoon at first – after all, eating from a spoon after months on a “liquid diet” is a totally new experience!
At this stage refusal of the spoon is not a cause for alarm. It can take a while before you get to the stage where your baby will happily accept solid foods.
The key is to be patient and relaxed.
Do not feel pressured by others to get your baby to eat a certain amount of food – at this early stage, his main source of nutrition is his breastmilk or formula.
Sometimes, feeding your baby can become a battle of wills …but it’s important to stay relaxed and keep mealtimes fun for both of you.
Some parents like to use the “distraction” method to feed their babies.
Strangely, many babies will open their mouths automatically for the spoon if their minds are otherwise occupied!
A good way to do this is to give your baby his own bowl and spoon – use a “suction” type bowl that will stick to the table. Put a little food in the bowl and your baby will probably be too busy playing with this new “toy” to realise that you are sneaking in a few spoons of food!
Some parents feel a little guilty about “tricking” their children into eating, though, so this method isn’t for everyone.
Another way to encourage your baby to eat from a spoon is to arrange to feed him around other spoon-fed babies!
Babies love to mimic other children and you may find that he’s happier to accept a spoon if he sees others doing the same.
If your baby is enjoying finger foods...
you can encourage him to dip the food he is holding into the “mushier” food you are trying to give him from the spoon.
Sliced banana dipped into yogurt is a great example.
Remember, your child will be getting plenty of nutrients from a wide variety of healthy finger foods. It is not essential that he eats from a spoon – in fact, many babies prefer the control and independence that self-feeding gives them.
NOTE: If you are worried about your baby’s refusal to eat from a spoon, or you feel that he is not eating enough as a result, then it’s always a good idea to discuss your concerns with a medical professional.