The first time we tried it was with a liquidy soup. I used a little spoon and held onto it while Buttercup grabbed the handle and guided it to her own mouth. I could tell she really liked doing it. Subsequent to that meal we tried using a fork for a meal that included risotto. I'd scoop up a little mound and hold the fork out toward Buttercup. She would grab the fork (sometimes by the handle, sometimes by the tines) and put the rice in her mouth. She's not too great with the "dismount" yet, which is why I still hold on to whatever utensil we are using (I am not as big of a fan of the "dropsy" game as Buttercup is!). Here are some things we have learned so far about introducing utensils to a self-fed baby:
- Even when you decide to use utensils, resist the urge to "help" your little one too much. Remember that your baby should still be feeding herself. We are not spoon feeding our babies. We are just helping them learn to use a spoon to feed themselves. The only thing you should do is keep the utensil from falling - your baby will do the rest. After all, a few months into doing baby led solids and your baby will be an expert at putting yummy things into her own mouth!
- Sometimes Buttercup is in the mood, and sometimes she's not. I don't always offer her a utensil just because she's done it a few times. And, sometimes even if I do give her a fork/spoon she still prefers to do things the old fashioned way and use her mitts.
- Buttercup found it really confusing when I tried giving her soup that had small chunks in it. She didn't know if she should slurp or chew, and eventually gave up. I've heard that puree-fed babies have this same dilemma when faced with transition/chunky baby food, and it can present a choking hazard. I have decided to separate the chunks from the liquid for the time being.
- Buttercup definitely does not have patience to dally around with utensils when she's really hungry. At that point she's looking for the path of least resistance. I find it's better to wait until her hunger is abated somewhat before throwing a spoon/fork into the mix.
So, to sum up: there's no pressure to use a fork or spoon. If you want to do it, still give your baby control over what is going in her mouth.