Ages and Stages for Baby Utensils
When we began designing the Yeah Baby Goods All You-Tensil, we knew we wanted to create something incredibly versatile that could take your baby through many stages of utensil use. That being said, the "way" your baby uses this utensil can look really different depending on the age and stage they're in.
Today I am breaking down what using the All You-Tensil might look like for your baby as they grow, learn and practice feeding themselves.
Your baby won't be ready for food until around 6 months (you can find the readiness signs here), but starting around 4 months, you will notice your baby bringing toys and teethers to his or her mouth. Many parents assume this is a sign of teething, but "mouthing" is actually a typical developmental activity that babies engage in before starting solid foods. They begin to explore different textures and move their fingers and toys further back in their mouths. This helps prepare the sensorimotor system to accept different textures, encourages a variety of movements from the tongue, lips, and jaws, and helps move that gag reflex back to the posterior portion of the mouth. In addition to those benefits, most babies ENJOY mouthing different textures at this age and find it calming or regulating. The All You-Tensil is double-sided, so no matter which side your baby brings to their mouth, they'll get a different experience!
Here is a video of 5-month-old Emmet engaging with the All You-Tensil:
I recommend using the All You-Tensil right away at 6 months to practice self feeding. At this stage, babies will enjoy grabbing a utensil pre-loaded with soft foods so they can bring it to their own mouth. You can dip the utensil into purees or mashed solids and hand it to your baby. You can also pre-load the utensil and set it on their tray for them to pick up. You might also notice your baby bringing the utensil to the sides of their mouth and chewing on it, which is an important early chewing skill! (If you aren't sure if you want to start with baby-led weaning or purees, you may find our post Purees, BLW or Both helpful!)
At first, you can expect your baby to drop the utensil in random places (the floor, their lap, etc). Between 9-10 months, they will begin to develop what we refer to as a "purposeful release." This means they will begin to let go of the utensil in a more controlled and purposeful way. Some time around 12 months, your baby will begin to dip the All You-Tensil into food themselves!
Here is a video of 11-month-old Maddie engaging with the All You-Tensil:
By 12 months, your baby will be eating three meals a day with some snacks in between. They will have a full six months of practice with foods and utensil use. Over the next year, you will begin to see their utensil skills develop even more as they move from dipping to scooping! Getting the utensil from the bowl to their mouth will be quite messy at first, but as your child ages, they will gain more control and be able to scoop and bring food to their mouth with less spilling.
Here is a video of 23-month-old Covey using the All You-Tensil: