Introducing Utensils to Your Baby
When you start introducing solids, your baby will mostly eat with their hands. Also, you may choose to spoon-feed them. As your baby grows, learning to use a spoon on their own is a developmental milestone. Therefore, when introducing utensils to your baby, remember to be patient! Read on to learn more about baby utensils.
When Can I Give My Baby a Spoon or Fork?
It’s best to start with a spoon because it is easier to use (1). Your baby can use a spoon on their own with supervision around 10 to 12 months old (2). Additionally, your baby should be showing signs of interest (1). Signs of interest include:
- Baby reaches for the spoon that you are using to feed them
- Your baby has mastered the pincer grasp
The pincer grasp is when your baby can pick up foods using just their thumb and index finger (1). Start by putting a spoon on their high chair tray. This gives them the choice of whether they want to use it or not. Likewise, it allows your baby to explore during mealtime. As your baby uses a spoon and fork more, they will get better (1). It can be messy in the beginning, so don’t become discouraged! Overall, it can take several months until your little one can use a spoon or fork independently.
Check out our Introducing Solids Program, where we talk in more detail about feeding tools for your baby!
The Importance of Baby-Sized Utensils
Imagine trying to eat your bowl of oatmeal with a large serving spoon. Not going to be very comfortable, right? This is how your baby would feel if you gave them a regular sized spoon. It’s going to be too big and awkward for them to use. Additionally, the spoon or fork is often too large to fit comfortably in your baby’s mouth. Therefore, giving your baby appropriately sized utensils will allow them to eat more easily.
Choosing the Right Utensils for Your Baby
There are many baby-friendly utensils to choose from. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for the right utensils (1):
- Easy for your baby to grip
- Short handles are easier for babies to hold
- BPA-free silicone (better than metal or plastic if your baby decides to chew on the spoon)
What’s the Purpose of a Pre-Spoon?
A pre-spoon can be introduced to babies before a spoon is. You can give your baby a pre-spoon as early as 6 months (3). A pre-spoon has a flatter design than a spoon (3). Babies just dip the pre-spoon into a puree to pick up food. Therefore, using a pre-spoon allows your little one to (3):
- Master the “dip” motion
- Practice hand eye coordination to get food onto the pre-spoon and then into their mouth
Eventually, your baby will make a scooping motion. In this case, you can begin giving them a normal baby spoon. A pre-spoon that we like to recommend is the Num Num Pre-Spoon Gootensil.
Final Notes from The Nest
Overall, introducing utensils to your baby is great for their development. Once your baby is comfortable eating with their fingers, you can give them a utensil. The pre-spoon is a great way to introduce a utensil early on. With time, your little one will master using a spoon and fork on their own. Just give them lots of chances to practice! Finally, if you would like to learn more about introducing solids to your baby and recommended utensils and cups, check out The Nest’s Virtual Introducing Solids program here.
Article Written by Julie Van Osch
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- Taylor M. What To Expect [Internet]. New York (NY). When can babies use spoons and forks. 2021 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Jun 19]; [about 7 screens]. Available from: https://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/eating-and-nutrition/using-utensils-spoons-forks#:~:text=Most%20experts%20recommend%20introducing%20utensils,sharper%2C%20starting%20around%2015%20months
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fingers, spoons, forks and cups [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; 2021 [revised 2021 Apr 29; cited 2022 Jun 19]. About 2 screens. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/mealtime/fingers-spoons-forks-cups.html
- Kennedy E. My Little Eater [Internet]. Nova Scotia. Baby utensils 101: How to teach utensil use and the best ones. [cited 2022 Jun 19]; [about 18 screens]. Available from: https://mylittleeater.com/teaching-your-baby-toddler-to-use-utensils/