With so many spoons on the market, it can be difficult to decide which to start with and what to use as your little one grows. Follow these guidelines to help choose a spoon based on your baby’s development, and a few of my favorites for his or her first 18 months.
6 months, early spoon-feeding: Look for a narrow, flat bowl with a coated or smooth surface. At this point your little one is just getting used to the spoon in his mouth and is still learning how to use his lips to clear the spoon. A narrow, smooth spoon will be comfortable, and a flat spoon will be easy to clear. A heavier spoon is also nice at this stage because it provides extra input and cuing to the tongue.
9 months, beginning to toy with independence: At this stage your little one has been enjoying spoon-feeding for a few months and is clearing a spoon well; but she’s starting to reach for the spoon to try to feed herself. This is a great time to begin co-feeding: parents feed the baby with one spoon, and the baby feeds himself with a second spoon. When your little one begins to try self-feeding, I love a spoon that is flat, so it’s never upside-down.
12 months, self-feeding galore: At this stage your little one might be fighting hard for independence. He prefers to feed himself, is busy finger feeding, and may be sprouting teeth every other day. He may also be full of action and in need of something fun to energize the meal. At this stage I like to spoon that is soft and chewable, easy to grip, can hold a little more food for a growing child, and that’s plain old fun.
18 months and beyond, busy little friends: At this stage your little one will likely be eating lots and lots of finger foods and is starting to use a fork, but still may enjoy self-feeding foods like yogurt, applesauce or mashed potatoes with a spoon. Here I like all of the spoons in the 12 month group, but start to have a little more fun because, well, you can. Your little one is independent, busy, and need something cool to draw his attention to the meal.
There are tons and tons of utensils on the market, but these are just a few of my go-to picks. Remember to always choose the utensil that best fits your baby and your budget!
-Catherine Callahan, MS, CCC-SLP, CLC