The Grabease guide to cutlery Introduction is a fool-proof 5 step guide that will set you and your baby up to win!
Weaning doesn’t have to be filled with frustration… for you or your baby. It can be fun and fulfilling when babies are given the opportunity to explore and learn. Like everything, eating is a learnt behaviour and it’s important to learn good habits at the beginning. These habits will leave a lasting impact on health, nutrition and co-ordination.
As a brand, Grabease believes in nurturing independence in babies and toddlers. We have put together some easy & practical tips to help nurture your little one in the next step of the weaning journey. Let’s help them to eat independently with cutlery made just for them and alleviate mealtime frustrations.
1. Eat as a family
As you introduce solid food to your baby, it’s important to consider mealtime etiquette as well as food consumption. As adults, we know that mealtimes are not limited to the eating….if anything that’s just the beginning. The best part about meals are the social interactions of what eating together brings. Family connection is important. A family meal is the most nurturing and rewarding way to do this. We encourage you to eat together as a family at a time suitable for all members. This is the perfect way to re-connect after a long day of separation and makes mealtimes an anticipated joy, rather than a chore. It is also a great modelling of mealtime behaviours such as cutlery use, conversational skills and helps normalise food choices.
2. Use Cutlery at every meal
A baby has a natural curiosity, stemming from the need to learn. The best way for a baby to learn is by watching others. This can apply to many things. To get your baby interested in a task or new skill, demonstrate the required behaviour regularly. For cutlery, it will start before baby is eating. Spoons are a great tool to keep on the highchair to mouth and inspect before food becomes interesting. The grabease Stage 1 silicone spoon is perfect for this as it is also a teether. They can happily chew and gnaw on it until they are ready for solids.
3. Pre-load and offer
At the beginning, a baby’s food consumption and fine motor development is quite minimal. Don’t get discouraged if some meals are thrown and not eaten. As time passes, your little one will get more and more skilful at both eating and cutlery use. To help introduce the food and cutlery connection, pre-load the spoon or fork and offer to baby with the handle facing their hand, so they know what to grip. Babies should then automatically bring the pre-loaded spoon to their mouth.
4. Pre-load and leave on tray
Once your baby has mastered the connection between the loaded spoon and eating, you can now pre-load and leave on the tray, table or plate and allow baby to grab it themselves. The best way to do this is to demonstrate how the food gets on the utensil by doing an exaggerated scoop or spear, all the while verbalising what you’re doing. E.g. ‘Mummy is using your spoon to scoop your yoghurt.’ Once the loading is complete, place the utensil within easy reach for baby to self-feed.
5. Show how to dip and support development
Moving to a more advanced stage of cutlery use and self-feeding is an exciting time for both you and baby. After stages 3 and 4 are achieved, the next natural progression is baby wanting to ‘do it myself!’. This can be achieved by gently holding your baby’s hand whilst holding the cutlery and guiding the fork or spoon to the food to load. Try to use the simplest wrist motions. Don’t forget to tell them what you’re doing. ‘We are using your fork to spear your chicken so you can eat it.’ Your baby has already mastered the plate to mouth action, so once scooping and loading is achieved, your baby has become an independent self-feeder! Next step…. Practice!