Before we completely discount spoon-feeding, I thought we should give it a try. Some foods are just too runny to eat without some sort of utensil. Yes, I can smear yogurt or applesauce on a piece of toast for Henry, but with that method he ends up getting a lot of bread. So this week, we’ll be testing out foods by spoon with Henry.
Some of Henry’s first toys were plastic baby spoons. We had them in a rainbow of colors and they were easy for him to grasp and bang around. Until this week, however, he had not used spoons as an implement for eating. Of course, he has seen Daddy and me using flatware but I’m not sure he really gets what we are doing.
|Brightly colored plastic spoons were one of Henry's first baby toys.|
There are two approaches to giving food to a baby by spoon: conventional spoon-feeding and preloading. With conventional spoon-feeding, an adult scoops the food onto the spoon and puts the spoon in baby’s mouth. The Baby-Led Weaning model recommends preloading as an alternative. In this approach, an adult scoops the food onto the spoon, and then hands the spoon to baby who puts it in their own mouth. I wanted to give each of them a try to see what Henry would do.
We started with plain Greek yogurt for breakfast. I put a spoonful in my mouth to show Henry how it was done. Then, I attempted conventional spoon-feeding. After one bite of yogurt I could not get the spoon past Henry’s hands. He kept grabbing for it well before the spoon could reach his mouth. So we quickly moved on to the preloading method. And yes, it was messy -- but it was also really fun to see Henry figure out the spoon on his own.
|Yes, there is yogurt smeared on Henry's forehead.|
Next we tried homemade applesauce. Remember all that applesauce I canned in anticipation of feeding it to Henry? I like eating it too, so I thought Henry should try some when I opened a new jar. This time, Henry reached for the spoon as soon as he saw it. I guess he’s just too independent for conventional spoon-feeding or maybe he has gotten used to putting food in his own mouth. He certainly had fun playing with the spoon and the applesauce was a sweet bonus.
|Henry wants to eat from the spoon by himself.|
It will likely be several months before Henry masters the art of using a spoon. In the meantime, we’ll encourage Henry to keep practicing, one preloaded scoop at a time.