Feeding our little ones is a messy adventure. Teaching them to feed themselves makes it that much messier! But have no fear, our friends at ezpz have the perfect tools for teaching your tiny ones, and their pediatric feeding specialist, Dawn, is sharing a few tips to incorporate purees into the mealtime mix!
As a pediatric feeding specialist and speech language pathologist, I teach parents to start solids at about 6 months of age (depending on baby’s signs of readiness). My passion is to help them choose, prepare and offer first foods that are simple and safe. Here are three ways I teach parents to use purees and…one (or more) may surprise you!
Use Purees to Teach Baby-Led Spoon Feeding:
A six-month-old baby can start to learn the skills needed for feeding independence. To assist with this process, they need the right spoon and multiple opportunities to practice. Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
- Dipping + Scooping Purees: In the beginning stages of baby-led spoon feeding, help baby be successful by pre-loading the spoon and handing it to baby. With this approach, all baby has to do is bring the spoon to their own mouth. In no time, baby will want to dip and scoop all by their (messy) self! The feeding milestones of dipping and scooping (with a spoon) can developmentally happen anywhere between 6 – 12 months of age, and babies of this age should be offered a small, narrow spoon-bowl with a short, fat, round handle. The Tiny Spoon was designed to those exact specifications!
- Traveling with Purees: One of my favorite on-the-go organic puree brands is Once Upon a Farm. Once Upon a Farm makes delicious, nutrient-dense blends that are easy to bring along for travel. If you want to practice feeding skills with your little one, simply squeeze the puree into the Tiny Bowl, which is designed to encourage baby-led spoon feeding at home or at restaurants or grandma’s house… you name it!
Use Purees to Teach Open-Cup Drinking:
Learning how to drink out of an open cup (held by an adult) is a 4-6-month old developmental milestone for baby. Here are someto teach open cup drinking with purees:
- Thick Purees: When teaching open cup drinking with babies, I offer a thick puree because this texture is easier for some babies to swallow than a fast moving, thin liquid (like water). All you have to do is take a spoonful (or two) of your favorite puree and offer it to baby in the ezpz Tiny Cup. The Tiny Cup is designed to perfectly fit in tiny hands for easy baby-led cup drinking.
- Thin Purees: It’s important to offer baby a thinner puree texture for open cup practice too! Just add an ounce of breast milk or formula to the puree, mix well and serve! The Tiny Cup is perfect for liquids and purees because of its unique cone-shaped design. This design feature allows baby to drink in a safe position (without having to tilt their head back and open their airway).
Use Purees to Teach the Sensory Aspects of Food:
I find that most babies shine when starting solids with single-ingredient foods, but tend to struggle when multiple textures are introduced. Here are a few ideas to gently challenge your little one:
- Puree Texture: I use a puree as a dip in my feeding method to help baby process the sensory aspects of different textures. Try serving soft, cut-up fruits and vegetables as the dipper and a thin or thick textured puree as the dip. As a sensory bonus, choose colorful purees that expose baby to a variety of vibrant textures. The ‘I Carrot Lot’ by Once Upon a Farm has a bold orange color that is perfect for sensory exploration!
- Puree Taste: The sensory aspect of taste helps baby learn about food. When offering multiple tastes at mealtime, observe which tastes your baby immediately prefers and which ones need re-exposure (sometimes it takes multiple attempts). Taste is a powerful sensory experience that can expand their food repertoire quickly! I have a baby that loves the taste of fresh banana and we stretched that flavor to include banana + peanut puree, melt-able banana cereal puffs, banana bread and banana smoothies. Score!
Let’s get baby drinking AND scooping those purees in style! Check out ezpz’s First Foods Set, a toolkit that includes the Tiny Bowl, Tiny Spoons and Tiny Cup. The set comes in a variety of chic colors…and the tiny design is SUPER adorable. There are so many ways to use purees; comment below with your favorite and tag us on Instagram (@onceuponafam @ezpzfun)! Happy Feeding!
-Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP.