The arrival of a baby is undoubtedly a momentous occasion for any new parent especially because of their eager wait for months to welcome the bundle of joy. As the baby starts to grow, their needs also keep evolving. One of the most crucial transitions happens during weaning wherein the individual taste and preferences of the child start to develop. In this phase, the baby is introduced to new tastes and textures gradually that help him acquire a positive and favourable attitude towards food, thus laying the foundation for healthy and correct eating habits.

During weaning, your baby gets to learn a new way of eating: transitioning from breastfeeding to learning to drink from a cup and swallowing food offered with a spoon. Thus, this is the most appropriate time to introduce cups and cutlery to your baby’s eating regime. And as a parent, to make this journey smooth and enjoyable for your little one, it is essential to select the products that have been designed specifically to meet his needs.

Always go for spoons and forks made of BPA-free. (Source: Getty Images)

Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind while choosing the first cup and cutlery for your toddler:

Age-appropriate products

Select the cup and cutlery that is of the right weight, size and shape such that the baby can hold it easily with his tiny hands and eat and drink with ease and comfort. The products should be such that they capture the attention of the little ones, as they grow step by step, and provide encouragement on the journey to become independent.

Look for a cup with a soft silicone spout

While choosing your baby’s first sippy cup, ensure that it has a soft silicone spout over a hard one as it helps in easy transition from breastfeeding to the first cup. Nowadays, some premium brands are offering silicone spouts, which are super soft and gentle on the baby’s sensitive gums.

Adjustable handles

To suit the baby’s needs, it is recommended to look for a cup which has removable and easy grip handles that the baby can hold comfortably and these also help in developing motor skills.

BPA-free spill-proof cups

Always choose the cup that is spill-proof. Parents should be specific while choosing a product at different stages during a baby’s weaning phase. For babies above six to eight months of age, parents must look out for cups which have bite-resistant spouts. For older and active babies above 12 months, you must choose cups that are ideal for outside trips, come with a straw, and have an insulating capacity to hold the liquid temperature for longer.

Prefer an angled spoon as the baby learns to self-feed

While choosing the baby’s first spoon, ensure that it is age appropriate (six months+) and should be angular in shape because the angled spoon helps to simplify a child’s movements when they start eating on their own.

Colourful cutlery made of BPA-free material for safe eating

Choose the baby’s first spoon and fork keeping in mind not just the age of the baby but also the material. Always go for spoons and forks made of BPA-free, silicone material that is soft and doesn’t hurt the baby’s gums. Go for colourful cutlery specially designed for babies as it makes meal times more fun and encourages the little one to eat on their own as grown-ups!

Watching your child as they learn to eat and drink for the very first time is a milestone. Therefore, as babies progress in their own time, according to their individual path of growth, they must be supported with age and skill-appropriate cups and cutlery that stimulate their interest and help them learn.

(The writer is CEO, Artsana India, In assistance with Chicco Research Centre.)

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