Posted on Leave a comment

How to Choose that “Just-right” Spoon for Baby by Melanie Potock

How to Choose that “Just-right” Spoon for Baby

By Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP

It might surprise you to know that some speech language pathologists (SLPs) specialise in
helping babies and toddlers progress through a tricky part of development called “feeding.”
Whether parents choose to follow a baby-self feeding model or present the spoon to baby’s
mouth, or prefer a blend of both feeding styles, safety is the #1 priority. Another important
priority is supporting the development of crucial fine motor skills, so that we set baby up for
success.

It’s so tempting to hand baby a “standard” spoon straight from our utensil drawer, but
that’s asking a learning eater to eat with a shovel! It’s just not designed for beginner eaters
or for little hand and mouths.

Fine motor skills aren’t just limited to hands and fingers, but include the tongue, lips and
jaw too! Pick a spoon that is specifically designed for little mouths and to support fine motor
development. Choose a spoon with four features, like the Grabease brand.

The size of the spoon matters in FOUR ways:

First, the “bowl” of the spoon, or the part that enters baby’s mouth needs to be just wide
enough to hold the food without too much spilling in order to reduce frustration. It also
must be that “just-right” size to be comfortable across the width of baby’s mouth from
corner to corner of the adorable smile!

Second, the “bowl” also needs to be flat and third, not too long. Grabease utensils have a
bonus feature. A specially designed lip-block prevents babies (or you) from putting the
spoon too far back, causing gagging and/or depositing foods too close to the airway. The
spoon can also be used as a teether, reaching the first half of baby’s tongue to help
desensitise the gag reflex without causing discomfort.

Fourth, the handle needs to be short and squat, designed for little fists to grasp, even when
slippery. Babies need to get very messy when exploring new foods & developing self-feeding
skills. A vital part of learning to become an adventurous eater means exploring of new
foods with all of the senses, including the tactile sense. That’s how baby’s learn and a little
mess is a good thing!
But for the days when need to clean up in jiffy, consider the Grabease
Allover Bib.

Above all else, what matters most is the joy you bring to your family table! Raising a
healthy, happy eater is a gradual journey that takes time and guidance. For more tips on
how to help babies, toddlers and school-age kids learn to love a variety of foods, visit me at
www.melaniepotock.com. I look forward to chatting!

How to Choose that “Just-right” Spoon for Baby by Melanie Potock

Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, is an international speaker on the topic of feeding babies, toddlers and school age kids. She is the co-author of the award-winning Raising a Healthy Happy Eater: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating (2015)(available here) and Baby Self-Feeding: Solutions for Introducing Purees and Solids to Create Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits (2016). The tips in cookbook for parents & kids, Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables with 100 Easy Activities and Recipes (2018) are based on the latest research and Melanie’s 20 years of success as a pediatric feeding therapist.
Melanie’s children’s book You are Not an Otter takes preschoolers on a food adventure, exploring all the ways that various animals eat! Melanie’s advice has been shared in a variety of television and print media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal CNN.com and Parents Magazine.

Contact her at www.MelaniePotock.com for more articles, professional tips, and helpful videos to raise your adventurous eater and follow Mel on Instagram and Facebook too!

P.S. If you want to learn more about picky eating solutions, identifying Feeding problems and Expanding your child’s diet. We now stock Melanie’s  book – Raising a Healthy Happy Eater: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating.

Available here. 

If you love what you're reading....

Subscribe to the Grabease blog!

Filled with mealtime tips, recipe ideas, developmental facts and fun for you and your Little One.

Posted on Leave a comment

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – Introducing food to a toddler with special needs

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Introducing food to a toddler with special needs

~ By Rose Anne Hughson

We've all heard that food before one is just for fun.....

but what if it's always a battle instead?

Dropped (or thrown) food, mess, refusal to eat – and everyone else’s child seems to be happily eating everything in sight! 

What if they still don’t eat at 1.. or 2… or 3… When an ASD diagnosis comes it either bowls you over or everything clicks into place. It explains so much about the WHY, but you still don’t have the information you need on HOW to get your child to eat anything nutritious!

When you have a toddler refusing to eat it’s time to take a deep breath and give control back to your child. Yes, we hate mess but exploring food is an important developmental phase for little ones. In younger children, it’s the result of learning to control and coordinate food. In older toddlers it’s for cause and effect. There is so much to explore when it comes to food (whether it’s the noise it makes or the textures… or making Mummy scream “noooooo!” as she tries to catch a bowl of spaghetti). Believe it or not, when toddlers play with their food it can help them to become better eaters!

Luckily there are things we can do to make meal times easier.

Give them their independence

Small people love being independent, taking that away can make them anxious. Let them feed themselves and they can explore their food and develop more confidence with food.

Take a step back

If you're anxious the chance of your child picking that up is very high - even if you think you're hiding it well. If your child sees your anxiety they're going to think meal time is stressful and won't be as receptive to new food.

Get appropriate utensils

You need toddler cutlery with a choke guard if that's something that worries you. Grabease has a great choke guard so you don't have to worry about how far in the fork goes. Get a shorter handle. If your child can't hold their fork it's going to fall and that's going to make a mess. Grabease utensils have a short, ergonomic handle that helps with motor skills and is easier to hold for babies, toddlers and those who need to strengthen their fine motor control. The handles actually strengthen the finger muscles that your child needs for drawing, writing and holding their toys, making life easier as they meet other developmental milestones.

Give small portions and top up if they need more.

Your child's tummy is tiny and maybe that huge pile of food is really intimidating and offputing straight away! Your child might need their food to not touch each other to start. Get in touch with Little Bites and I can help you find out the first step for your child to make dinner time a stress-free and fun family time.

Be consistent.

Giving a piece of toast because your child didn't touch their nutritious dinner, teaches them that there are other options without even trying. Follow your Little Bites strategies and have the same rules everyday. Children, especially those with an Autism diagnosis, thrive on routine, knowing your expectations and having boundaries. It's much easier for them to know what's happening next and what's going to happen if they try to push those boundaries.

About the author

Rose Anne Hughson founded Little Bites after seeing the results her strategies yielded while working to expand the diets of extremely selective eaters in special schools.

“I loved seeing them thrive and enjoy the tasting sessions, and thought to myself, ‘If these extremely selective eaters can learn to enjoy new food, other children with food struggles could too’”.

Rose Anne has been working with children with various food aversions, including severe anxiety around trying different foods, for several years, both in the UK and New Zealand. She loves being able to help children overcome their fear of new foods, tastes, textures and colours, Little Bite by Little Bite.

 

Check Little Bites out on Facebook or Instagram now! 

You can also click the image below to go straight to the website to read more.

If you love what you're reading....

Subscribe to the Grabease blog!

Filled with mealtime tips, recipe ideas, developmental facts and fun for you and your Little One.