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Spoons & Baby-Led Weaning

Myth: Baby-led Weaning (BLW) and spoons don’t mix.

Not true! At the heart of BLW is the idea that your baby gets to feed himself—which means he should be the one holding the food OR the utensil! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using purées and spoons, especially if you let go of them and let your baby explore and self-feed just like he would with a spear of zucchini.

Introducing spoons in this way—right from the start— helps prevent a common BLW question: “when should my baby start using a spoon?”

Not sure about this? We often hear:

“But he can’t hold the spoon yet /can’t scoop / can’t get the purées to his mouth.”

Yes that’s totally common and also absolutely OK! Most likely he doesn’t care and will go ahead and do his best to try to figure it out. He’s going to make a huge mess in the process. He’s going to put the wrong side of the spoon in his mouth. He’ll get purées in his ear and in his hair. This is part of the learning curve. Don’t step in unless your baby really needs it (starts crying, looking at you for help, totally loses his confidence). Encourage him- “you’re trying to figure that out!” Laugh with him when he gets messy. Enjoy the process and do not expect much food to actually make it into your baby’s mouth at first. THIS IS OK!

He’ll show you when he’s ready to start skillfully using the spoon to eat meals—he’ll gradually and naturally stop bringing the wrong side to his mouth and start to scoop successfully.

How to help your baby use a spoon

What if my baby is really struggling and can’t figure out how to feed himself with the spoon (or won’t feed himself with the spoon?)

Often you can prevent this by introducing spoons and forks from the start at one meal a day as we mentioned above. But if your baby still resists, we usually see 1 of 2 versions of this:

  1. Baby hates the spoon and won’t use it or accept it from you.

  2. Baby won’t use the spoon to feed himself but is happy to eat from the spoon if you feed him.

The approach is slightly differently depending on which