Fertility

Baby-Led Weaning Spoons: Which One Is The Best For Your Kid?

Updated on 5 August 2022 • 13 minute read

 

Overview 

Infants starting solids can share family mealtimes and enjoy some of the foods you eat if you’re following the BLW feeding approach

Your child gets to choose from the healthy foods you offer, but you might be wondering whether they can use spoons or have purées. Can you help them load the spoon and pick it up before feeding?

What are the best feeding utensils for baby-led weaning? What spoons can they use, and how do you teach your baby to use a spoon in BLW? You can find our answers and suggestions below, mama.

 

Do You Use A Spoon In Baby-Led Weaning?

BLW pioneer Gill Dr. Rapley advocates offering your child healthy finger foods, but she isn’t against the idea of using cutlery in BLW either. (1)(2)

She even recommends introducing your baby to cutlery, especially if they’re showing interest in practicing new skills or have become bored about eating meals with their hands. (2)

Baby-led weaning doesn’t require spoons, but your baby might want to use one because the rest of the family uses it for eating. 

Many babies love to imitate others, and they might be curious about the spoon you’re using.

Dr. Rapley reminds us that although your baby can use utensils, you don’t feed them. That’s how BLW can differ from spoon-feeding. It isn’t about whether your child uses a spoon or not.

She adds:

Spoon feeding (by someone else) is not a natural part of babies’ development. It just become the usual method of feeding when it was thought babies needed solid food before they were old enough to feed themselves.” (2)

In BLW, babies feed themselves with the food options you prepared. So, it’s important to choose safe utensils for them, especially if they’re still learning how to use one. 

 

Ways To Use Spoons In BLW

Preloaded Spoons

You put food on the spoon and set it on the tray. Your baby then picks it up to self-feed.

Complete Self-Feeding

Your baby loads the spoon independently and brings it to their mouth.

It might be messier, but it can help improve their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

 

What Spoons To Use For Weaning?

There are plenty of baby forks and spoons for you to choose from, but it’s important to prioritize your baby’s safety more than a cute design just as we ensure that baby food is safe.

It might take a bit of trial and error before you can find the best spoon that your baby likes best.

The following are some tips for picking the right BLW spoons for your baby:

 

Materials

Silicone

Your little one will use their feeding spoons several times a day, every day. Many of them even bite the cutlery, especially when they’re teething.

So, we recommend choosing spoons made of food-grade silicone. You can check the label for dishwasher-safe chemical-free silicone materials.

Stainless Steel

Spoons made of stainless steel can help your toddler transition to regular silverware, but they might be too hard on baby gums

Stainless steel can be a good option for children over 12 months old, but silicone baby spoons and other feeding utensils might be better for your younger ones.

Another option is to pick a spoon made from a mix of stainless steel and soft silicone.

Bamboo 

You can also opt for bamboo spoons. Some are made with a mix of silicone, too.

BPA-Free Plastic

Try to stay away from any form of plastics, if possible. They can contain BPA (bisphenol-A) and phthalates.

BPA is a toxic material commonly used in making hard, clear plastics. It can have many possible negative health effects, including the following: (3)(4)

  • It can affect children’s behavior.
  • It can disrupt brain and reproductive system development.
  • It might increase the risks of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

 

BPA-free plastics are now available. However, studies show that these can still have other forms of harmful contaminants which might have similar effects as the toxic BPA they’re supposed to replace. (5)

Phthalates are used for making soft, flexible plastics more durable. But they can also cause the following negative effects: (4)(6)

  • Possible disruption in reproductive development and fertility
  • Asthma
  • Allergies 

 

Shape And Size

Chunky Vs. Slender Handles

Baby-led weaning promotes independence, with babies learning to feed themselves by picking up their food with their fingers. It can help your baby improve their fine motor skills

Another alternative is scooping their food with spoons.

Babies starting to self-feed might find it challenging to coordinate their movements so they can bring the food to their mouths. And they can experience the same with feeding spoons.

So, it can be a good idea to pick short spoons with chunky or curved handles that their small hands can grab.

Your baby might be ready for a slender spoon as they grow older (around one year old and above). It can also help them transition to regular flatware.

Deep Vs. Shallow Spoon

These days, you can find options for starter spoons, sometimes called “pre-spoons” or first-stage spoons. They’re flat and might have holes in the middle. 

These are supposed to help beginners scoop some food and put it in their mouths. They’re designed for beginners who are still learning how to use their oral muscles to get food from the spoon to their mouth.

There are also other shallow spoons without holes in the middle. Most infant spoons are shallow, while regular spoons have deep bowls.

 

Extra Features

Self-feeding can be a challenge, especially because your child controls the spoon they put in their mouth. 

Some spoons have shields that can prevent your baby from sticking too deeply inside their mouths. These can be a good option, especially for babies who might gag a lot during self-feeding.

Some spoons also have slots so you can tie them to the high chair or clip on your baby’s bib to prevent them from falling to the floor.

Others might have sensory bumps or can double as teethers.

 

The Best Baby Spoons For BLW

All the spoons below are made of silicone. They also have thicker, chubbier handles for little hands to hold while self-feeding.

 

Pre-Spoons And Starter Spoons

NumNum Pre-Spoon Gootensils

  • Set with two starter spoons: $13
  • Stage One pre-spoon has dimples (for grabbing just enough food)
  • Stage Two pre-spoon has channels (for scooping and holding food)
  • Textured surface can soothe sore gums

 

ChooMee FlexiDip Starter Spoon 

  • Two spoons per set: $9.99
  • Non-directional spoon that can grip food within the channels
  • Chew-friendly surface that can be ideal for teething
  • Features a safety tether to loop

 

eZtotZ Little Dippers Self Feeding Starter Spoon 

  • One set, two spoons: $11.99
  • Flat training spoon with anti-choke guard
  • Stage One spoon (for dipping into thinner foods such as purées)
  • Stage Two spoon (for scooping thicker foods)

 

Olababy Silicone Soft-Tip Training Spoon Teether 

  • Training spoon set, two pieces: $14.95
  • Beautiful spoon shaped like a leaf
  • Ribbed stem surface can provide a firm grip for little hands

 

Anti-Choke Baby Spoons

Termichy Spoon and Fork Set

  • Baby fork and spoon set: $8.99
  • Detachable choke barrier for easy cleaning and storage
  • It can be used as a teether.

 

Dr. Brown’s Silicone Starter Spoon

  • One piece: $4.99
  • It has a cute turtle design.
  • The ring shape can make it easy for small hands to hold, while the textured arms can massage sore gums.

 

GrabEASE Double Silicone Spoons

  • Two spoons: $13.95
  • Choke-free protection barrier
  • Silicone spoon and teether in one

 

Munchkin Gentle Scoop Silicone Trainer Spoon

  • Two pieces: $5.50
  • It has a choke guard that doubles as a spoon rest.

 

Classic Design Silicone Spoons

Beaba Baby’s First Foods Silicone Spoon

  • Four pieces: $19.95
  • Soft enough not to hurt your baby’s gums
  • You can also put this in the freezer and use it as a teether for sore gums.

 

Learn more about each baby-led weaning spoon below.

 

NumNum Pre-Spoon Gootensils

Price

  • Set with two pre-spoons: $13

 

Key Features

  • Material: Premium food-grade silicone and nylon
  • Product Safety: Free from PVC, BPA, or phthalates

 

Other Special Features:

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Textured surface can soothe sore gums
  • Thick handle for a comfortable, secure fit in little hands
  • Flat design
  • Stage One pre-spoon has dimples for grabbing just enough food
  • Stage Two pre-spoon has channels that capture and hold food

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Babies can use Stage Two for foods with a thicker consistency.
  • It might be prone to discoloration with colored foods.
  • Some customers complain about the head part separating from the rest of the spoon.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

Perfect for kids learning to eat. It lets my baby have her independence and builds skills of hand eye coordination, and cuts down on mess considerably. She can actually get food in her mouth!” – Reviewer on NumNum Baby’s website.

Negative Reviews 

Fast forward only a few months and the poor quality is showing. The plastic is separating from the silicone and turning moldy in the seams.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

ChooMee FlexiDip Starter Spoon 

Price

  • Two spoons per set: $9.99

 

Key Features

  • Material: 100% premium-grade platinum silicone
  • Product Safety: Chew-friendly surface that can be ideal for teething, with a safety tether to loop

 

Other Special Features:

  • Flat, non-directional design that can grip purées within its food channels
  • Soft silicone neck
  • Firm handles without using plastics
  • Dishwasher, sterilizer, and boil safe

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Babies can also use it for foods with a thicker consistency.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

These spoons are very easy for her to hold, they are soft and flexible, and they hold puréed foods in them (no matter how she holds the spoon).” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Negative Reviews 

Neat idea but my baby just gags himself or flings purée around with these. We like the Olababy leaf or regular munchkin spoons better for feeding.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

eZtotZ Little Dippers Self Feeding Starter Spoon

Price

  • One set, two spoons: $11.99

 

Key Features

  • Material: 100% food-grade, FDA-approved, soft, and flexible silicone
  • Product Safety: BPA-free, USA-made, and meets all safety standards of a third-party tester.

 

Other Special Features:

  • It’s designed with a choke guard.
  • The Stage One spoon is for dipping into thinner foods such as purées.
  • The Stage Two spoon is for thicker foods.
  • Chubby handles for little hands to hold easily.
  • Dishwasher safe

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Babies can’t use this for thin purées and other foods with similar consistency, but it can be good for those with a thicker consistency.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

These spoons are easy for babies to use. The food somehow seems to magically stick to them. The stuff they are made out of is soft and doesn’t hurt sensitive teething gums.” – Reviewer on eZtotZ’s website.

Negative Reviews 

I do not like these at all. I feel like more food gets everywhere else but the babies mouth.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

 

Olababy Silicone Soft-Tip Training Spoon Teether

Price

  • Training spoon set, two pieces: $14.95

 

Key Features

  • Material: 100% high purity FDA-grade silicone
  • Product Safety: 100% BPA, PVC, lead, and phthalates free

 

Other Special Features:

  • Beautiful spoon shaped like a leaf
  • Ribbed stem surface can provide a firm grip for little hands
  • It can promote self-feeding.

 

Product Recall

  • None.

 

Cons

  • Some customers complain that the product is too soft and easy to break or crack.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

My six month old absolutely loves these spoons! They are so gentle on her gums that she enjoys chewing on them in between meals. They scoop just the right amount of food and at any angle.” – Reviewer on Olababy’s website.

Negative Reviews 

A good idea, but bad implementation: a spoon shows wear and cracks after few days of usage.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Termichy Spoon and Fork Set

Price

  • Baby fork and spoon set: $8.99

 

Key Features

  • Material: Premium chewable 100% food-grade silicone material
  • Product Safety: BPA-free and non-toxic

 

Other Special Features:

  • It has a protective choke barrier.
  • The choke barrier can be detached for easy cleaning and storage.
  • It can be used as a teether.
  • The short, fat handle can be easy to grip with tiny hands.
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Microwave and freezer safe

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It might be too small and won’t be used for long by your growing baby.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

Comes in a storage case, the anti choke flowers come off so the entire utensil can be washed. Im doing baby led weaning with my twin boys and they have an easy time holding and scooping food with these.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Negative Reviews 

Cute idea but the fork and spoon are too soft to even catch or pick up any food. Unless it’s yogurt. Not worth it. Just becomes a teether toy.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Dr. Brown’s Silicone Starter Spoon

Price

  • One piece: $4.99

 

Key Features

  • Material: 100% silicone material
  • Product Safety: BPA-free

 

Other Special Features:

  • It features a soft, shallow spoon bowl.
  • It has a cute turtle design.
  • It can double as a teether.
  • The ring shape can make it easy for small hands to hold.
  • The textured arms can massage sore gums.
  • Dishwasher (top rack), sterilizer, microwave, and freezer safe.

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Some parents think it’s difficult to use it as a spoon.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

It’s very easy to use my child is teething and she loves to chew on it and I am even trying to encourage her for self feeding.” – Reviewer on Dr. Brown’s website.

Negative Reviews 

My baby loves them as teethers, but he can’t figure out how to use them as spoons. If you want to teach your baby how to use a spoon, I would not recommend these.” Reviewer on Amazon.

 

GrabEASE Double Silicone Spoons

Price

  • Two spoons: $13.95

 

Key Features

  • Material: Silicone 
  • Product Safety: Free from BPA, phthalates, and PVC

 

Other Special Features:

  • Silicone spoon and teether in one
  • Choke-free protection barrier
  • Soft spoon can double as a teether and might not hurt your baby’s gums
  • Short, thick handle that tiny hands can grab
  • Dishwasher safe

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It’s small and might only be ideal for beginners or smaller babies around six months old.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

This is so easy for baby to grab and to get food into their mouth but also good for a teething baby’s sore gums.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Negative Reviews 

Small spoons to combine delicious silicone The price is expensive and you can find a better price for such a product.” – Reviewer on iHerb.

 

Munchkin Gentle Scoop Silicone Trainer Spoon

Price

  • Four pieces: $10.95
  • Two pieces: $5.50

 

Key Features

  • Material: Ultra-soft silicone 
  • Product Safety: BPA-free

 

Other Special Features:

  • It has a choke guard that doubles as a spoon rest
  • Dishwasher safe

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • The clear choke guard might be prone to discoloration.
  • The silicone can absorb strong scents such as dishwashing soap.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

Great for my daughter feeding herself. Very soft and the guard makes it impossible for baby to choke on the spoon. It is also very easy to grip due to the very wide handle. A very good first spoon to use when introducing solid foods to your baby.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Negative Reviews 

The bowl of the spoon is tiny, so it seems more for maybe spoon feeding younger babies.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Beaba Baby’s First Foods Silicone Spoon

Price

  • Four pieces: $19.95

 

Key Features

  • Material: 100% silicone 
  • Product Safety: BPA, lead, and phthalate-free

 

Other Special Features:

  • Steam sterilizer and dishwasher safe
  • Soft enough not to hurt your baby’s gums
  • You can also put this in the freezer and use it as a teether for sore gums.

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • The material can be prone to staining.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

These little spoons were perfect for my little one’s first solids- the right shape for baby’s mouth, he’s able to get quite a bit off the spoon and chomp on it if he wants, bc it’s soft on his gums.” – Reviewer on Beaba USA’s website.

Negative Reviews 

Like the shape & material but as soon as you use staining food ie: tomatoes, red pepper even sweet potatoes the silicone stains and looks dirty.” – Reviewer on Beaba USA’s website.

 

Summary & Recommendations

Here are our recommendations for choosing the right BLW spoons for your child:

 

Choose NumNum Pre-Spoon Gootensils (two starter spoons: $13) if:

  • You’re looking for a starter spoon set with flat heads and a textured surface that can soothe sore gums

 

Choose ChooMee FlexiDip Starter Spoon (two spoons per set: $9.99) if:

  • You’re looking for a non-directional spoon that can grip food its channels
  • You prefer a chew-friendly surface that can be ideal for teething
  • You like having extra features such as a safety tether to loop

 

Choose eZtotZ Little Dippers Self Feeding Starter Spoon (two spoons: $11.99) if:

  • You’re looking for a flat training spoon with an anti-choke guard
  • You want a starter spoon set with a flat and rounded or deep bowl for scooping thicker foods

 

Choose Olababy Silicone Soft-Tip Training Spoon Teether (two pieces: $14.95) if:

  • You prefer a stylish spoon with a beautiful design shaped like a leaf
  • You like the ribbed stem surface that can provide a firm grip for little hands

 

Choose Termichy Spoon and Fork Set (complete set: $8.99) if:

  • You prefer cutlery set with a spoon and fork for your baby
  • You’re looking for a baby spoon with a detachable choke barrier for easy cleaning and storage
  • Your baby can also use it as a teether

 

Choose Dr. Brown’s Silicone Starter Spoon (one piece: $4.99) if:

  • You’re looking for a cute design that can encourage feeding
  • You prefer having a cute turtle design
  • You like the ring shape that can make it easy for your baby’s small hands to hold
  • You prefer a spoon with textured arms that can massage sore gums

 

Choose GrabEASE Double Silicone Spoons (two spoons: $13.95) if:

  • Choke-free protection barrier
  • Silicone spoon and teether in one

 

Choose Munchkin Gentle Scoop Silicone Trainer Spoon (two pieces: $5.50) if:

  • You’re looking for a budget-friendly baby spoon with a choke guard that doubles as a spoon rest.

 

Choose Beaba Baby’s First Foods Silicone Spoon (four pieces: $19.95) if:

  • You’re searching for a spoon soft enough not to hurt your baby’s gums
  • You like one that your baby can use as a teether for sore gums

 

What Are The Best Utensils For Baby-Led Weaning?

The best utensils are those that can promote self-feeding and also help minimize the mess in BLW.

Aside from spoons, these are other BLW feeding utensils and tools you can consider:

  • High chair
  • Mini mat
  • Baby placemat
  • Splat mat
  • Bibs
  • Regular or sectioned plates
  • Bowls
  • Cups
  • Smock apron
  • Silicone placemat
  • Chair harness (for a high chair on the go)

 

But you don’t have to get all these feeding accessories.

What’s important is that your baby can have a secured place to eat, preferably a high chair. They can even use the high chair’s tray directly for their food.

 

BPA-Free Mixed-Material Spoons

These spoons are also designed for kids:

  • First Essentials by NUK Kiddy Cutlery Spoons 
  • BABYBJÖRN Baby Spoon and Fork
  • OXO Feeding Spoon Set with Soft Silicone
  • GrabEASE First Self-Feed Baby Utensils
  • Dinneractive Utensil Set for Kids
  • Termichy Heat-Changing Baby Feeding Spoons
  • Nuby Hot Safe Feeding Spoons

 

They’re made with a mix of BPA-free plastic with stainless steel, silicone, or bamboo. They can be sturdier than 100% silicone spoons.

However, although they’re marketed as safe for babies, some studies show that toxic materials might still be present in BPA-free plastics. (5)

 

How Do I Teach My Kid To Use A Spoon In BLW?

There can be different ways to do this.

 

By Modeling

Babies can learn by observing how you or other family members use spoons. It’s another benefit they can enjoy if they join family meals in BLW.

You can show them how to pick up their spoon by modeling. Many babies love to imitate, so they might enjoy learning how to use a spoon by watching you do it.

You can practice the movements without food for at least a few tries. Try to be patient because your baby might not learn to do this quickly.

Some parents opt to get their babies the pre-spoons or starter spoons because the flat end doesn’t require knowing which side is up.

 

Preloading The Spoon

Practicing by scooping air can be fun and easy for your baby, but it might not be as easy with food. They might need to take time getting used to bending their wrist to scoop the food and bring it to their mouth.

One way to help them learn is to preload the spoon. You can still do this with their food bowl or plate in front of them.

Then, let your baby pick up the spoon by themselves. You can continue modeling how to get the spoon to their mouth.

 

Letting Them Explore

You can also just let your child have a go at exploring the spoon and learning how they can use it to get food. 

Place a bowl of easy-to-scoop food such as mashed fruit or a lumpy purée in front of your baby. Give them a spoon and show them how it’s used, but let them explore it independently.

They can learn to coordinate their movements to pick up the spoon and their food as they continue exploring. 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/Defining_BLW_v2.pdf

(2) http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/My_baby_isn’t_a_good_eater.pdf

(3) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7218126/

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4063249/

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2873014/

 

 

 

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