Tips for Responsive Spoon Feeding


Tips for Responsive Spoon Feeding

Allaboutbabies & Feed Eat Speak have teamed up to bring you our top tips for responsive spoon feeding.

We are aware that Baby-Led Weaning isn’t for every parent or every baby so here are our top tips for spoon feeding parents.

1. Follow your baby’s lead. This may sound obvious but often babies take a bit of time to get going with weaning and may not take large volumes of solids. Many parents worry about this. However, milk remains the main source of nutrition for the first year of life. It may gradually decrease your baby gets closer to one year so you have plenty of time to go at the right pace for your baby.

2. Wait for your baby to open his mouth. Just like us, babies need time to process what they are eating and the look and smell of what is being offered. This may mean they take time to consider it before opening their mouth. Make mealtimes relaxing and present the spoon slowly. Hold it close to their mouth and wait for them to open and accept it.

3. Enjoy mealtimes together. Babies (like adults) learn best when they are relaxed. They also learn from watching others. Rather than standing over your little one whilst spoon-feeding, sit down together and try to be close and at the same level as them. If you have other children try to find opportunities for family meals times. Eating alongside your baby is a great way to spark their natural curiosity about food and prepare them for self-feeding too.

4. Slow it down. Your baby is born with a natural “full switch” which will click on to avoid them over-eating, but it takes time for it to switch on. If you spoon-feed your baby quickly those opportunities to register that full feeling don’t happen. This can lead to overeating and dropping milk feeds too fast. It can also impact their ability to know when they are full as they grow up. Take it slow, allow pauses between mouthfuls and most importantly stop once you baby shows they are full (see point 5).

5. Move on at the right time. Your baby will become more independent as he develops. If you are spoon-feeding and find your little one reaching for the spoon take the plunge and give it to them! Yes, it might (it will) get messy but the aim with weaning is to teach your little ones to eat and form a positive relationship with food. What better way than just letting them get stuck in. It is also important to move on to more challenging chewable textures at the right time (after the first few weeks) or your little one might struggle to learn this skill. Start by offering soft sticks of finger foods and stop blending foods and offer soft foods instead (eg scrambled egg, soft pasta and sauce, meatballs and mashed potato).

6. Don’t distract them. Peppa Pig, ipads and “here comes the aeroplane” are all common methods of distraction aimed to encourage a baby to eat who isn’t showing willing. Remember, your aim is to help your baby to develop positive food habits. Mindless eating and forcing that one extra mouthful can lead to negative food associations as they grow up.

For any further advice or tips on weaning or fussy eating feel free to get in touch.


Fussy Eating: Facts & Fixes

By Stacey Zimmels, Feeding & Swallowing Specialist 

1.      Healthy children will take in the calories they need even if they are refusing some parts of meals or whole meals. You may notice them eating a heartier breakfast on some days or snacking more on other days. Knowing this enables you to relax around mealtimes and follow a plan to promote positive eating habits.

 2.      It is best to make up a balanced plate of food (protein, carb, veg, fruit) and ALWAYS put one food on the plate that you know they will eat. If the rest of the food stays untouched, that is just fine!

 3.      Many parents stop giving children foods they know they won’t eat. My advice is to continue to give them opportunities to eat a range of foods. Research shows that exposure to foods is key to acceptance, so if you give up on the green veg then your fussy eater is even less likely to eat them in the long run.

 4.      There should be no need to offer an alternative as you have ensured that there is always something your child will eat on the plate. Offering an alternative will most likely leave your child refusing and holding out for something else.

5.      And then they refuse… “Yuk I’m not eating that!” You will become a Zen Dinner Master and you will calmly say: “You do not have to eat it.” Your fussy eater will initially look at you with surprise. However as soon as you have uttered those words there is no power struggle, nothing to argue with, no winners, no losers and no battle! Mealtimes will suddenly be more relaxed for both you and your child.

6.      Does this sound familiar? “You can only have a yoghurt if you eat your broccoli”? Using a food as a reward for eating other foods teaches that the non-desired food (broccoli) is not as good as the desired food (yoghurt). This serves to reinforce your fussy eater’s lack of interest in some foods. This should be avoided at all costs.

7.      You’re going to laugh at this next fix… If your child’s meal is going to include a dessert, then present that with the rest of the food at the start of the meal (shock horror). They may eat the dessert first, but guess what? They will most likely then go on to eat a portion of the meal. And even better, there is no negotiation or debate about how many bites of carrot before they can have dessert.

8.      So who should be sitting /eating at the table with your child? “Peppa Pig!” I hear your child demand. Sadly not. Distractions are not beneficial in the long term and can create other food-related issues due to kids not observing when they are full and not gaining pleasure from the tastes and sensations of eating.  Family and friends? Yes, you got it! Eating together and seeing others eat will most likely give your child confidence to try new things.

Stacey is a Feeding and Swallowing Specialist Speech & Language Therapist. She has almost 20 years of experience supporting infants and children with feeding difficulties. From bottle refusing to fussy eating, breastfeeding difficulties to reflux and allergy related feeding issues, Stacey has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She currently divides her time between working in the NHS, running her private practice and being mum to two small children. For more information about what support Stacey can offer, and for her contact details go to


Easy Weaning Recipes from Nourish Me

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Weaning your baby can be daunting. With so many books, websites and opinions telling you when, how, quantity and even where, it is difficult to know where to start, let alone worry about your cooking skills! So here are a couple of my favourite and most popular baby meals of both my kids and many of my clients, and you don’t need to be a master chef to do them.

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Early Weaning Myths

icons-weaningWeaning Early Myths 

Brought to you by the experts from Yummy Discoveries

The Department of Health Guidelines state that children should be weaned from 6 months but increasingly, parents are introducing solid foods earlier than this. Often this is on recommendation from a health visitor or paediatrician but if you’re making this choice as a parent, are you making it for the right reason? Whether or not you decide to wean early is your decision, but we would urge you to make your decision because your baby is showing signs of weaning and you are armed with the relevant accurate information. Here are the most common reasons we hear for early weaning: 

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Preventing Fussy Eating


Learning to eat is a process of discovery and your child will learn emotional lessons along the way. Weaning is a great time to take steps to try and prevent fussy eating habits developing. Here are some tips from the experts at Yummy Discoveries to get you started: 

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