Guide Your Baby to Eat: More on Spoon-Led Weaning Day 2: Spoonfuls of Love

Guide Your Baby to Eat: More on Spoon-Led Weaning

Spoon-led weaning, a popular method among parents, involves feeding purees to your baby using a spoon. This usually starts at 6 months, when babies can sit up and grab things.

However, some high-risk babies may need to start earlier due to allergy risks, and premature or specially challenged babies may need to start before 6 months. Talk to your doctor before starting solids to make sure your baby is ready.

So, how do you know if your baby is ready? Babies show certain signs of development or growth, which indicate they're ready to eat solid foods. One such sign is their ability to chew and swallow. There are some important signs of readiness, which we will cover on Day 5 of this week. We will also explore how you can guide your baby to build these skills, if they are not yet there.

Babies show certain signs that indicate they are ready to start solid foods. These include: 

  1. Strong head and neck control – the baby can hold their head steady while sitting upright; this is important to prevent choking hazards.
  2. Sitting independently – the baby can sit up on their own, even if only for a few seconds at a time.
  3. Reaching and grabbing – the baby can reach out for and grab objects which also means they are building hand-eye coordination skills.
  4. Interest in food – the baby is showing curiosity towards food and is ready to start exploring new tastes/ textures.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of spoon-led weaning.

Pros of Spoon-Led Weaning

  • Allows parents have control over what and how much their baby is eating.
  • Ensures the baby gets a range of nutrient-dense foods.
  • May be less messy than baby-led weaning.

  • Cons of Spoon-Led Weaning

  • If babies are used to eating only mashed and pureed foods, they will struggle to eat solid foods later on. Their chewing skills need to be encouraged (they will initially use their gums, and later their teeth), which can be tricky if their diet is limited to just soft purees. That’s why they should be encouraged to eat solids (beyond purees) before their first birthday. This helps prevent future bouts of picky eating.

  • Parents may unknowingly overfeed the baby with purees and mashed foods, which can lead to a quick reduction in breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should continue along with solids until babies are 1 year old.
  • Can Babies Chew? They Have No Teeth!

    It's a common misconception that teeth are necessary for chewing, but the truth is that your baby's gums are strong enough to handle soft foods. Even though their milk teeth are just below the surface of their gums, they are perfectly capable of chewing!

    So, while you might want to avoid giving them hard foods like raw carrots, steamed ones can be a great way to give your little one a chance to practice their chewing skills. In fact, you might notice that babies typically start with their incisors before moving on to their molars (the teeth used for chewing) around 14 months of age.

    Don't worry if your baby doesn't have all their teeth yet; they can still develop their chewing ability and it's vital to start early to help them learn!

    Ready to Try Spoon-Led Weaning Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide

    1) Seat your baby well

  • Make your baby sit in a comfortable position before feeding. They should be upright either on someone’s lap, in a high chair/booster seat, or on a flat surface with a soft blanket.
  • Keep their hands and arms free.
  • Don’t let babies lie down or recline during feeding. Many mothers have the habit of making their baby lie down on their outstretched legs. It’s best avoided as horizontal postures can lead to choking.
  • Use a messy mat around the feeding area. Babies are curious explorers when it comes to food!
  • 2) Start feeding

  • Always test the temperature of the food before feeding.
  • Use a soft-tipped plastic spoon to avoid injuring their gums.
  • Start with 1-2 teaspoons of pureed or mashed solid food or baby cereal for the first few feedings, about an hour after breastfeeding, so your baby isn't too hungry or cranky.
  • Hold the spoon about 12 inches in front of your baby's face and watch for signs of interest.
  • Offer your baby small amounts of food using your fingers or the spoon. Wait for your baby to open their mouth before offering the food.
  • 3) When to stop feeding

  • Let your baby decide how much they want to eat.When they start playing with their food, turning their face away, or throwing it away, it's a sign that they're full.
  • If your baby isn't interested in the food you’re holding out, let them smell the food for now and try again another time.
  • Don’t worry too much about the quantity they consume. It’s natural for babies to eat less food at this age.
  • Don't hurry your baby to finish the meal or force them to eat! Be patient and let them take their time to eat at their own pace.


    After a month or two of only mashes/purees, introduce your baby to other textures of solid food (around 8-9 months).