I have the feeling that the conversation about starting solids is focused too much on the method we choose to begin with. There is no doubt that how our babies start eating solids and the way we help them build their relationship with food is of utmost importance. But most of the questions I receive when it comes to starting solids are whether I recommend spoon feeding or BLW, while in reality I recommend whatever suits the baby and the family best. It’s really not one size fits all and sometimes choosing exclusively one approach can’t meet the needs for each little eater and their family.

Ever since the concept of baby led weaning was introduced by Gill Rapley, its popularity has grown widely in various places of the world. Which also led to spoon feeding being criticised, sometimes like it’s something that will forever ruin a baby’s relationship with food. Other times like mothers are completely failing this part of raising a child.

Let me tell you that it’s really not the spoon that’s the problem, it’s how the spoon-feeding is done that can become detrimental. Regardless of whether we start with BLW or spoon-feeding, our ultimate goal should be to offer our babies nutritious food so that they can explore it and develop the skills they need to manipulate it with their hands, mouths and utensils.

I often like to say that there’s a baby-led-weaning approach to spoon feeding as well. And so here’s a few tips that will set you and your little one up for a smooth journey of starting solids.


Since this might really contribute to your baby building good eating habits for the future. Don’t hurry babies or try to make them eat more than they want. We want to help them develop their ability to self-regulate their appetite. Something most adults are still not capable of.


Some babies may be more fond of using the spoon themselves, while others might enjoy being spoon-fed. Some might be ok with both. I encourage you to always try to hand the spoon to the baby for interaction, but also – let them show you how they would like to do it.

In terms of being satiated, watch your baby’s cues that they are finished (turning their head away, keeping their mouth shut, batting or throwing the spoon away, playing rather than feeding) or that they want more (looking at the spoon, trying to grab it, opening their mouth). Sure, these signs won’t all be obvious from the beginning, but it’s important you keep an eye on them and learn their own cues.


At the beginning of their food journey (but not only), babies LOVE to interact with food. As annoying as this might be for us, it’s extremely exciting and fun for them. Try to constantly offer baby food various shapes, textures and colours. Nutritious food comes in different ways and the more they see the less likely they are to reject foods later. A common pitfall of spoon-feeding is the little opportunity babies have to interact with their food. So put a small spoonful of puree on your baby’s tray for them to touch and taste on their own before they begin feeding. Repeat if changing foods. 


If you decide to spoon-feed your baby, let your baby eat instead of you feeding. A way to make sure you do that is keeping the spoon horizontally. This allows babies to actively participate in a meal and choose to take the food from the spoon. Remove the spoon staring back out of the mouth without inclining it at an angle to allow babies’ lips to do their job and close around the spoon. 


As adults we’re not used (anymore) to eating with our hands and mouths dirty, but at the beginning of their journey with food, babies couldn’t care less about that. Wiping a baby’s face or hands (especially too often) while they’re still eating can be very annoying to them and the risk is that they build a negative connection to mealtime. Save wiping till the end of the meal and try patting their face instead of wiping.

Making cleaning fun is also an option – at the sink, with a water bucket, etc. -, but does require more time and effort. 


Last, but definitely not least. I believe we all possess an innate understanding of our hunger. The problem is that some of us might lose it as we grow up. Whether we might like it or not, parents contribute to preserving or ignoring this innate capability of self regulation. The reality is that we bring all our experiences, feelings and emotions from our childhood to the table as well. And this starts in babyhood, but becomes even more prevalent in toddlerhood. 

“You finished your whole meal. Well done!”

“You need to finish the whole meal.”

“You won’t get to play unless you finish the whole meal.”

“One more bite and then you’re done.”

“One more bite for mommy, one more bite for daddy, one more bite for …”

“First finish your meal first and then you’ll get dessert.”

“I cooked this for you and you won’t eat it.”

And I’ll admit that. As parents we might be concerned that our children don’t eat enough and that is perfectly normal. But as long as we constantly offer babies a variety of nutritious foods and make sure we stick to their meal times as often as possible, the risk of them being malnourished is considerably lower than the risk of them developing an unhealthy relationship with food.

In consultations with parents, I cover all you need to know about starting solid foods with your baby. When to start, the developmental signs of readiness, what foods to include and what foods to delay, which style of feeding suits you and your baby, how and when to introduce the top allergen foods and so much more.

Aside all the practical information, I am also there to support parents to feel confident in nourishing their children however suits them best with nutrient-dense foods and lots of fun.

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