Full disclosure: my 4 and 1/2 year old sometimes still wants me to spoon feed him, especially with anything liquid like soup or cereal. So the concept of Baby Led Weaning was always far from my mind… Until Veronika got her hands on a spoon!
From the moment I spooned up her first puree, this girl wanted control. She had no interest in being spoon-fed, but she was delighted when she was in charge. As a result, I quickly looked into Baby Led Weaning. In the ensuing few weeks, I learned some tricks of the trade. Here are just a few to impart:
- Always use unbreakable utensils, sized just right for a baby. I love the curve of Munchkin spoons, which also turn white if food is too hot. Veronika’s spoon inevitably is on the ground by the end of every meal, and same goes for bowls, and plates.
- Cut food into pieces that are big enough for your little one to grab, but slender enough that they don’t pose a choking hazard. First foods should be soft and gummable. Veronika loves avocado slices, banana slices, roasted sweet potato wedges, rice cakes, teething biscuits, steamed yellow squash strips, and long strips of honeydew or watermelon.
- Only put a few pieces of food on the tray at a time, or your little one might get overwhelmed. Again, the idea in these early months is practice, not a full meal’s worth of calories.
- Don’t worry about the mess! Veronika’s chair looks like a war zone when she’s done, but she’s happy, and thus so am I. You can always wipe everything clean and do an outfit change at the end, but resist the urge to wipe fingers and chins after every drippy bite.
- Make your baby part of the family meal! Veronika eats when her big brother does, and she seems so delighted to join in the fun of utensils and self-feeding right alongside a big boy. The first time they ate the same veggie at the same time, I swear my heart exploded.
So when your baby makes a move to grab the spoon, pay attention! It may very well be the sign that he or she is ready to self-feed, too.