How to teach your baby to eat with a spoon and Fork?
Are you wondering when and how to start using utensils with your child? Let us look at the steps you can take to help your child learn to eat independently using a spoon and fork.
Did you know that as soon as you start introducing solids, you can start teaching your baby to use a spoon? Most babies are ready to eat solid foods for about 6 months, and if all signs are seen, they are ready to eat. Since baby will have a harder time with a longer handled baby feeding spoon, you will need to get a shorter handled baby self feeding spoon for baby to use.
Introducing spoon to baby:
Instead of waiting to introduce everything at once on the first day of introducing a feeding, I recommend that you expose the baby to feeding items, including spoons, over the coming weeks to introduce solids. Let your child become familiar with the objects already, this will make him less overwhelmed. At mealtimes, you can start by placing the baby on a feeding chair and the baby's own feeding spoon on the feeding tray.
The baby will become comfortable with and finding the spoon by picking it up, putting it in the mouth and slamming it on the surface. Between 4 and 6 months of age, babies develop the ability to put things into their mouths with good accuracy. Giving them the opportunity to practice further strengthens their hand-eye-coordination.
Baby learning to use a spoon:
There is no reason to doubt your baby's ability to start self-feeding from the age of 6 months. When you introduce food similar to puree, you can preload it on the spoon and give it to your baby. Initially you may need to help move the spoon towards the mouth. And that's how I recommend that you do it. When your baby is holding the pre-loaded spoon, come in from the side with your hand and gently place it under your baby's hand and direct it towards the mouth. But let your child put the spoon in his mouth.
Now you can preload the second spoon so that it will be available when your baby is ready. As your baby gets good at getting the spoon into the mouth, you can transition to placing the preloaded spoon on the feeding surface and let your baby practice picking it up and bringing it to the mouth. Or you can preload the spoon and drop it upside down against the wall of the bowl, with the handle sticking out toward the baby. Then let your child practice holding the handle of the spoon and getting the food into the mouth.
Help your child:
The more practice your child gets with using the spoon, the more quickly this skill-set will develop. And remember, when babies are new to solids, they'll only have a few spoonfuls of puree at each meal. Solids will only complement the breastmilk formula they are already taking. In fact it is not until 8 to 9 months that most babies really take solid food and start eating more of it.
Baby using spoon:
When you're just starting to train baby to dip and scoop, it works even better if you stabilize baby's elbow with your other hand. Gently guide the baby to dip and scoop the puree, and then let your child do the rest of the work of bringing the spoon to the mouth. Babies need more practice to understand this movement. So be patient and keep practicing. Over time, you'll be able to reduce the amount of guidance you'll need to provide and baby will begin to make more dipping and scooping motions from the spoon.
The fourth step is to demonstrate the dipping and scooping motion and let your child practice performing the movements without using your hand to guide the baby. Most babies will be ready to begin learning at this stage by age 9 to 10 months. While holding one of the small-handled spoons, model the motion for your child to dip it into the bowl and then scoop the food. Give the baby an opportunity to practice doing the same thing with the other self-feeding spoon. It is incredible to see how quickly babies begin to imitate a movement that they create for themselves.
Baby using Spoon and Fork:
Of course the baby may not be able to grasp the spoon properly at first, but once babies start making the scooping motion, it is a sign that they are grasping the concept. With practice it is only a matter of time before the baby learns to dip and scoop the spoon to feed himself independently. Now let's talk about introducing a fork. Learning to eat with a fork is more challenging. So the first thing you should focus on is teaching your child to master spoon feeding. From a development standpoint, most will be ready to use only a fork after 12 months of age.
When the baby has finished dipping and scooping the spoon and brings it to the mouth, you can start applying the fork. The difference when it comes to using a fork is that the child must learn to pierce the food before it can be scooped. It takes more precision and hand-eye-coordination. If given the opportunity to practice, most babies master self-feeding with a spoon and fork by 18 months. During the child years there is a desire in children to be more independent.
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