Friday Blog: Does my baby really need to eat from a Spoon?

February 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

By: Lara Field, MS, RD, CSP, LDN
Owner and founder of FEED – Forming Early Eating Decisions
www.feedkids.com

There are many important developmental milestones in infancy. From learning to hold their head up, to starting to crawl, infants go through many stages of development in their first year.  One particular developmental stage is learning how to eat from and with a spoon.  Here are some basic feeding fundamentals to remember from FEED.

1)     Start solids on your own pace, no need to rush!  Solids should be started around 6 months, and should be introduced after three key developmental signs:

  1. Baby can hold his/her head up without support
  2. Extrusion reflex (tongue thrust out of the mouth during feeding) is no longer present
  3. Baby is able to support themselves on forearms when laying on his/her belly

2)     Spoon-feeding prevents overeating? Actually, yes! Feed your baby out of a bowl with a spoon. This will help your baby learn about the pleasures of eating.  Eating out of a bowl will slow down the pace of eating, letting your child recognize when he/she is still hungry or full.

3)     Spoon-feeding builds mouth mechanics impacting future eating and speaking skills – Rather than sucking through a straw or a bottle, taking food into the mouth and swallowing is a learned skill that affects baby’s development.  Learning this key stage is important in infancy and should be reinforced frequently.

4)     A bowl, a spoon and eye contact – feeding essentials! –  Like many other stimuli, babies constantly look to their caregivers for both positive and negative reinforcement.  Similar to reading a book to your baby, feeding is an important time to bond with your child.  Babies learn from their environment.  If caregivers are constantly stressed or racing through meals, infants won’t learn how to pace themselves while eating.  Parents should listen and recognize their babies’ hunger and fullness cues (closing mouth tightly, turning away their head, or pushing away the spoon).  Paying attention to these signs will help babies learn to stop when they are full, and be less inclined to overeat.

Advice from FEED: As a fellow mom (one who respects using a spoon so much that I used it in my company logo!), enjoy experiencing the developmental road of eating with your child. Let your baby experience the wonderful flavors of food. Take a breath; don’t rush the process, and teach your baby to eat from a spoon!

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Entry filed under: Food Introduction. Tags: , , , , .

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