Think your little one is ready to start solids? If so, there are a few things you can do to get ready for the first feed — among those, is making sure you have the right products to make your baby’s feeding as successful as possible. So, we asked Vanessa Thornton MS, RD, a Certified Pediatric Registered Dietitian, and the expert that leads our Starting Solids class what she recommends for cups, plates, bowls, and utensils that will not only get your baby started but last them through toddlerhood.
Here, we’re looking at what to look for when shopping for utensils for your little, one and a few expert-approved options for each.
What makes a good utensil? Here are few things to consider:
- Is it lightweight?
- Is it easy for baby to grab in their fist?
- Does the fork have a spook-like shape at the head, for easy scooping?
- Is it dishwasher safe?
Here are a few of our favorites:
Elk and Friends, $16.99
Munchkin Toddler Silverware, $10.95
To Go Ware Bamboo Utensils, $11.99
NUK First Essentials, $9.23
Munchkin Plastic, $4.19
Panda Ear, $7.95
NUK Kiddy Cutlery, $5.98
Avanchy Bamboo, $10.99
Mushie Flatware, $7.99
12 Piece toddler, $21.99
Beaba Ergonomic cutlery, $15.95
Lehoo Castle Toddler Utensils, $9.99
Qkie Utensils, $9.99
When can I first introduce utensils to my baby?
You can introduce utensils as soon as you introduce solids, though remember their hands will be their preferred and best tool until closer to age 2. Spoons are a good first utensil, since the tines of forks can poke their mouth or gums.
How to do I teach my child to use utensils?
Like with plates, bowls and cups, introduce utensils through modeling the action to your baby or toddler. Use your spoon or fork to take a bite of food, then preload baby’s spoon or fork. Let baby grab the utensil from your hand and bring it to their mouth. Ask them if they want to try to get the next bite themselves, and let them explore — this is a learning process.
Remember, they will probably (definitely!) use the utensil incorrectly at first, and that’s okay. It still counts as self-feeding.
If you are introducing solids using purees, load the spoon and hand it to your baby for them to bring it to their own mouth. Or, dump the purees onto the tray or family table, and let baby use the spoon to bring tastes of it to their mouth on their own.
What are the best foods to serve for babies or toddlers to practice using utensils?
To help babies practice using a spoon, offer thicker, more cohesive foods, like yogurt or mashed avocado. To help babies practice using a fork, use lightweight, soft foods with consistent textures, like scrambled eggs or pancakes.
What if I don’t have these utensils yet, what else can I use?
Remember, teaching your baby how to self-feed with utensils doesn’t mean you can ONLY use those made specifically for babies and toddlers. Try different items from around your kitchen. Things like mini spatulas are great for helping babies first learn how to scoop food from their tray and bring it to their mouths.
What do I do if my baby or toddler won’t use a utensil?
If baby does not want to use utensils, you can make them more engaging by preloading 2 utensils at a time, so by the time baby has eaten the food off of one, the other is already loaded and ready to go.