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Warning! This is messy but worth it!
Self feeding with a spoon is just one of the many feeding skills a child will develop and improve upon over time. Before the age of one, usually around 8 months, infants are able to hold a spoon with one hand but don’t quite have the ability to bring it to their mouths. Even at this stage its great to introduce a spoon and have them play, the more practice they get the more quickly they will learn.
This picture below is our son around 10 months. At this point he was still figuring out which end of the spoon to use!
Again closer to one he still wasn’t quite sure what to do with the spoon and most of the food ended up in his lap, on the tray, in the dogs mouth, or on his hands and face 🙂 But it was oh so much fun to watch!
By age 1 toddlers develop the ability to bring the spoon to their mouth and finally figure out which side of the spoon to use! This picture below was after his first birthday between 12-13 months. Still a bit messy but there was definite improvement.
Between 12 and 18 months toddlers develop the skill to scoop food with a spoon, bring it to their mouths and turn it over. At this point the little guy is able to get most of the food in his mouth. But sometimes he turns the spoon over a bit too soon, as you can see by the oatmeal on his bib 🙂
Things that I have learned since introducing a spoon.
- The shorter, thicker spoons like these “Toss and Take” Flatware are easier for him to hold and scoop with. Keep trying new utenstils and see what works for your little one!
- The thicker and sticker the food the easier time he has scooping the food and actually getting it into his mouth. (See ideas for first spoon food below!)
- I have also found that the ezpz Happy Mat (shown above) and ezpz Happy Bowl work really well. The rubber material sticks to his tray making it more difficult for him to pick up and flip over his plate and the sides of the plate and bowl allow for easy scooping!
- It’s fun watching your little one explore using a spoon and its super exciting when they finally get it!
- There is some clean up involved but in the end your little one can eat more foods on their own, which means less work for you and more time to enjoy your meal together!
Top 10 First spoon foods to try
- Whole milk yogurt ( the thicker the better Greek or siggis are great!)
- Whole milk cottage cheese
- Mashed banana with peanut butter
- Mashed beans
- Guacamole/ smashed avocado
- Mashed sweet potato or squash
- Oatmeal / Overnight Oats
- Thick soups
- Stews or chili
- Rice mixed with whole milk yogurt or sour cream (helps it stick to the spoon)