Using Utensils to Boost Your Baby's Development
Do milestones matter?
Of course, they do!
If you haven’t already heard from every baby book, grandparent, or doctor…your baby’s milestones highlight pretty important progress in their development.
These milestones can be categorized into four distinct groups:
- Physical milestones include the development of fine and gross motor skills.
- Cognitive development is based on the ability to think, learn, and problem solve. This can include the ability to respond to facial expressions like smiling. As your baby grows, cognitive development also becomes more apparent with early learning skills like identifying objects or reciting the alphabet.
- Social-Emotional milestones evolve as your little one interacts with others and learns the appropriate responses to emotions.
- From your baby’s first coos to their first words, Communication milestones are exciting for any parent and involve a wide range of verbal and non-verbal cues.
Most milestones are achieved at specific ages, so it’s important to keep track of your kiddo’s progress as they grow. This will help you in determining when it’s time to introduce them to new things.
Which Milestone Should I Focus on First?
That was a trick question…all milestones matter!
But it can be hard to recognize and follow along with all the amazing progress your little one makes over time.
What’s even more challenging is finding different ways to support them as they quickly transition from one stage to the next.
However, focusing on physical milestones is a little less perplexing. Physical milestones are the first to begin developing and are often easier to observe.
These milestones also cover a wide range of large and fine motor skills:
- Gross motor skills are usually the first to develop and include sitting up, standing, crawling, and walking.
- Fine motor skills involve precise movements such as grasping a spoon, holding a crayon, drawing shapes, and picking up small objects.
Since many skills require the combined effort of both small and large muscle groups, both often develop simultaneously,
And when it comes to practicing these skills daily, eating is one of the most frequent activities that support your baby’s development.
Recognizing Development Through Eating Milestones
Eating involves the heavy use of fine motor skills that develop wrist, finger, mouth, and hand-eye coordination.
In order for these skills to develop …you’ve got to toss caution to the wind and let your baby feed themselves.
Now, we know it’s pretty tempting for you to feed them yourself and avoid the mess of food being tossed everywhere. But they’ll benefit more from doing it on their own.
In fact, self-feeding and utensil use has been found to aid in the quicker development of fine motor skills. And, if your baby is practicing this during each meal, they’ll become a utensil using pro well before they reach their first birthday.
The good news is, your baby can begin using spoons and forks as soon as they start solid foods, around 6 months.
Be cautious, however, because not any ordinary spoon or fork from your kitchen drawer will do.
Since your kiddos' fine motor skills and muscle groups are still forming in their tiny hands, introducing an adult size utensil into their mealtime mix may backfire.
Instead, pediatricians suggest introducing smaller size training utensils that are easy for them to grip and even chew on.
The most universal of all baby utensils are spoons.
That’s because spoons are, more often than not, the first utensil a baby uses for self-feeding. It’s also easier to use than a training fork, which should be introduced later on; between 18-24 months.
And, as many parents discover, finding the right spoon can be challenging.
Which Training Spoon Can Help Boost your babies Fine Motor Skills
Babies don't naturally have the ability to rotate their wrists to put food into their mouths.
Between the ages of 6-9 months, babies learn the basics of how utensils work and may still need your support as they learn.
During this stage, they are able to open their mouths and wait for the spoon to enter. They are also able to use their upper lip to clean food off the spoon.
While training spoons are ideal for supporting infant development, encouraging your baby to use a spoon on their own, or keep it on the table at mealtime, can be nearly impossible.
Using a utensil like the Busy Baby Training Spoon is great for training and keeps the spoon in front of your baby for their entire meal.
It also prevents parents from the extra task of having to pick up the spoon if it gets tossed.
We know having the right eating utensils available throughout mealtime can make or break the feeding experiences you have with your little one. They can also play a crucial part in developing your baby’s fine motor skills
So, you can bet we love hearing about the positive impact our training spoons are having and how we’re helping busy babies reach their milestones quicker.
If our busy baby loves their training spoon, share your milestone story and tag us on Instagram @busybabymat.
We can’t wait to see how it’s helping your little one grow!