Antonio has always used his hands from the early days of weaning (as a spoon just couldn’t get it in quick enough!) As a result, introducing cutlery has taken a lot of encouragement from us and we still have to remind him especially when he is tired. Often babies may default back to hands or become frustrated which is completely normal at this age.
Tips to help your little one
1️⃣ In the early days of weaning, you could start by pre-loading a spoon and offering it to baby to grab and put to their mouth. Using a non-metal spoon (eg. Silicone) may be more comfortable to begin with & prevents the spoon from absorbing heat.
2️⃣ Think about ease of use - shorter utensils which aren’t too heavy and have a textured grip will be easier to hold.
3️⃣ Using a bowl initially to help scoop against the spoon will be easier or a plate with raised edges. Suction plates/bowls may help to stop it from sliding.
4️⃣ As children learn differently, you may need to try multiple approaches to teach them. You could show them first (role modelling) then guide them with your hand over their hand as they grasp a spoon or just talk through each step of the process.
5️⃣ Another technique is to preload the spoon and put it down for baby to pick up and put to their mouth. As they are doing this, you can preload a 2nd spoon then a 3rd spoon and so on. After a few weeks, they will develop muscle memory.
6️⃣ Give baby lots of opportunity to practice by bringing utensils to the table as part of their routine.
7️⃣Be consistent and as patient as you can - developing a new skills takes time and perseverance. It will get messy & it’s easy to lose your cool when the spoon is flicking food on the walls/floor for the 90th time but remember this is temporary.
8️⃣ Practice using utensils between meals such as cutting play dough with a plastic knife or having a tea party with spoon.
❗️ If your baby is not able to use a spoon by the age of 2 despite role modelling/practising then please have a chat with your GP who may consider referring to an occupational therapist for support.