The early stages of eating solids offer parents a whole new range of decision-making. From what first foods baby should try to what the best spoon or other tools to add to the kitchen, it's a balancing act to make time for mindful meals and allow your baby to explore all the flavors and textures of food.
Grabbing a pouch holds a lot of appeal as the food is prepared and the sucking process is familiar -- and let's be honest -- way less messy!
For babies and toddlers, eating is not just about getting fed. They are learning with all their senses and developing new skills.
5 Reasons Babies Need Spoons, Not Just Pouches
The experts at Square Baby teamed up with the Monti Kids Learning Team to provide this list of considerations for parents and caregivers who are introducing new foods to babies and toddlers.
- The spoon is a tool, and learning to control it is an age-appropriate motor skill exercise. When we offer up food pre-loaded on a spoon, not only do our little ones develop hand-eye coordination, but they will also practice taking food from the spoon, moving the food from the spoon to the back of the mouth, chewing, and swallowing.
- Spoons encourage a healthy relationship with food. Sucking a pouch can be a comfort to baby, which is confusing with eating solids. Mindful eating is done sitting up with bites taken intentionally and rests in between them.
- Eating from a spoon invites your little one to emulate the habits they have observed in the rest of the family: sitting at the table, talking, and making eye contact during a meal. These are social and language skills practices.
- The sensory experience of eating is honored when we use a spoon. Just as adults want to see what they're eating, so does a baby. When we offer food on a plate or bowl with a utensil, they can see, smell, and touch the food.
- Diversity in food texture is supported by spoon-fed meals. Smooth, chunky, or thick food allows a baby to broaden their palate and prepares them for table foods.
As we support our baby's growing independence, enabling them to see their food and control the pace with which it comes to their mouth is important. (Related: 8 Steps To Raising an Independent Eater)
We want to honor our children's access to knowing what they are about to eat and communicate about it as they develop tastes and opinions around food. Swapping some pouch meals for spoon-fed meals is the best place to get started.
Photos and tips courtesy of Square Baby.
ABOUT MONTI KIDS: Learn more about using the Montessori approach to set your child up for independence in play, learning, and practical life from the earliest age. Monti Kids offers Montessori learning at home with a subscription program that helps you provide the right materials and environment at the right stage for your baby or toddler.