Starting solid food is an important milestone in your baby’s development, and you feel both worried and excited about how to make it right and fun. Our article Introducing Solid Foods: 20 Essential Tips on How to Start gives a very good account on when and how to start solids, but it doesn’t discuss much how to choose your baby’s first utensils. Perhaps, there is nothing wrong, if your baby uses the same dinnerware as adults, but the introduction of solid food may become safer and easier with utensils designed especially for those not yet dexterous little hands.
Baby’s first utensils: feeding spoons and forks
Kids usually begin using a spoon and a fork independently at around 2 years old, but some of them may start even at a younger age if given the opportunity to learn how to. Shortly after you introduce the solids, your baby may want to hold her spoon and try to eat by herself. We would not recommend giving her adult or metal utensils during the learning process as they are heavy and may heart your baby’s teeth (if any) and gums. The same goes for the lovely silver spoon. Short and soft silicone or plastic baby utensils are the most convenient and safest option. Handles with a special texture, shape, and rubber grips make it simpler for those little hands to pick them up and hold.
Baby bowls and food containers
Flat plates are not easy for scooping, so if you plan to teach your child self-feed earlier, choose bowls with higher edges and a non-slip base. For example, suction cups or rubber strips on the bottom of the bowls may make them stable and prevent the baby from overturning them. However, many parents think that babies outgrow suction cups and rubber strips pretty fast and there is no need to invest in them.
There are several other features that parents may find helpful. My son adores the teddy bear cartoon at the bottom of his bowl and finding it at the end of the meal adds so much fun to the process. Bowls that are microwave-safe or have compartments to prevent mixing different types of foods such as peas and potatoes are also very practical. Some containers have a lid with a small opening that only lets a few snacks out at a time.
Cups and sippy cups
Babies are born with sucking reflex to get milk out of a breast or a nipple, but they need to learn how to drink from a cup. It may take a while and a great deal of patience before your baby learns how to use a cup, so a good cup is an important part of your baby’s first utensils. No-spill cups or sippy cups that come in bright colors and have two handles for easy gripping are ideal for the first year. However, they need extra care, since the liquid can stay in their nooks and crannies and lead to the growth of mold and bacteria.
Baby’s first utensils: Safety and practicality tips
As for any other baby item, there is no one perfect choice for your baby’s first utensils. Just think of someone that has tiny hands, low coordination and a tendency to spill his food and make a mess all the time. Make safety a priority and then look for practicality and fun.
First and foremost, make sure that your baby’s utensils cannot be easily broken. Glass, though being an ecologically-friendly option, is perhaps, not the safest. Plastic (BPA free), wooden, stainless steel, or silicone utensils are safer. Best baby feeding supplies are BPA, phthalate, PVC, and lead-free because they are toxic and can harm your child’s health and learning. In terms of practicality, look for leak-resistant, easy to clean and slip proof options.
With the time, as he grows up, your baby will learn how things work and will handle his own food much better. Meanwhile, you will start missing that face of the messiest little eater, so don’t forget to take your camera and capture those priceless moments!
Any tips for safer and more practical baby’s first utensils? Share your ideas with us.