Why we love Spooning!
Our philosophy at Little Bellies is to ‘Do What’s Natural’. We believe nutrition is complex but nurturing is natural and so we focus on doing what comes naturally to us – making simple, age-appropriate and wholesome foods for your babies, toddlers and kids – so that you can focus on what comes naturally to you – raising independent and unique individuals.
Our aim is to be the brand that makes feeding our kids feel natural again, challenging an industry that has gotten in the way.
For many years we focused on making on age appropriate snacks. We founded Little Bellies after one of our children was diagnosed with severe sensitivities to food. The safe snack options at the time were limited and many of the available options were what we considered to be “pseudo confectionery” – often filled with added sugars and unnecessary ingredients. We decided we needed to do something about this and as a result our range of safe and simple self-feeding snacks were born. Every product was considered and designed appropriately to help support natural development and today Little Bellies is now a favourite for babies and their parents across Australia and New Zealand.
Recently, we have turned our attention to baby purées. It’s overwhelming to see so many pouches on the shelf today, and so we questioned why this has become the new ‘norm’. Pouches certainly assisted with providing healthy, convenient and portable options for parents but sucking from a pouch that masks the food inside them is not a ‘natural’ way to eat and this has been linked to implications on natural child development. We believe that this is another case where the industry has gotten in the way of making feeding our kids feel natural.
That’s why we launched a range of purées in see-through bowls, not pouches, for interactive spoon-feeding.
Eating with a spoon from our clear bowls means true interaction between you and your baby, and helps little ones see, touch and smell their food.
Using a favourite spoon to enjoy our delicious Organic Baby purées helps little ones to develop a number of important sensory, oral and motor skills.
- Feeding is a developmental process, just like learning to crawl, walk or run. We believe pouches were made largely for convenience, rather than being the most-suitable option for a child’s motor skill development. We would always want to encourage a child to crawl, so let’s be sure we encourage important eating habits and skills in the same way and not do anything that could hinder that.
- The mechanics of sucking something and swallowing it is completely different to having a spoon, placing food on the tongue from a spoon, moving it around the mouth, moving it to the back and swallowing it. It’s really important that children learn to do this from an early age.
- Learning to swallow food that has been put in their mouth on a spoon helps a child develop their gag reflex and swallowing technique, both of which are essential to helping to transition on to chunkier solid foods.
Visual Learning and Interaction
- Who doesn’t know the game ‘aeroplanes’?! Initially you’ll be feeding and teaching your little one how to eat with a spoon, but over time, they’ll want to start their journey to self-feeding and hold the spoon themselves. Being able to hold a spoon is a key component of motor skill development but it also enables your baby to play with their food. This is effective and serious research for babies! By playing with their purees and by trying to self-feed as opposed to sucking from a pouch, babies are learning about textures, temperatures, colours, smells and tastes and developing a more relaxed association with their food.
- In particular, being able to see the food on a spoon and the different colours helps to develop positive associations with food.
- Eating with a spoon, rather than sucking from a pouch, helps to encourage mindful eating. The mindful motion of eating from a spoon gives little bodies time to signify fullness, and respects their natural ability to regulate their food intake. When a child is sucking directly from a pouch, the food is directly deposited at the back of the mouth and swallowed. There is less natural pause to demonstrate the cues that they are full. Spoon feeding (and self-feeding finger foods) allow for a baby to consider when they are full and give appropriate feedback to carers. In addition, mindful eating really enables babies to enjoy the tastes and textures of their food.
- Eating from a bowl with a spoon is more likely to ensure that meals and snacks become sit down occasions, as they should be.
- Mindful mealtimes and eating from a bowl with a spoon, means true interaction between you and your baby. It allows you to spend special time interacting and learning together making eye contact and supporting the development of your baby’s motor and oral skill abilities.
- We made a conscious decision not to supply a spoon with our bowls because we believe using a favourite spoon helps to create a familiar ritual.
- Children from a young age need to experience a range of textures, flavours and foods in their diet. Building familiarity is the first step in helping them to accept a wider variety of foods in their diet. Babies become familiar with foods in their environment through the rituals and routines that we engage in. For example, visual cues to eat include bibs, spoons, highchairs, plates, cups, and the table.
- As children become familiar with the food environment, they build eating skills too. So, we suggest using your baby’s favourite spoon with our range of Baby Bowls (even when out of home) to create familiar mealtime habits and rituals that can you can both enjoy together.