Your little one has been begun eating solid foods and you’re wondering if she’s ready to make the leap to using spoons, and, if so, which baby spoon is the right one for your kiddo. Yay! This is certainly an exciting time! But you should also be prepared for it to be a bit of a messy affair ... because spoon feeding still takes a lot of practice.
Typical Milestones Reached before Introducing Spoons
- Your little one has been eating solid foods, at least for a little bit.
- Your toddler is interested in feeding herself.
- You have already introduced finger foods.
- You are serving foods with different textures (including thicker ones) that are good for spoons.
Helping your little one gain independence at mealtime - with or without spoons - has so many benefits including motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, and refining their sensory processing. In short, it’s worth the effort because self-feeding builds confidence, independence, and healthy mealtime habits!
Items to Consider
Want to determine fit which baby spoon is best for your little one? Here are a new elements to consider. Read each one, and answer the question immediately after. Once finished, add up your circled numbers and then scroll to the Tally Your Score section to find out what spoons might be best for your little one!
Your child's age
If you're just starting out with pureés and your little one isn't yet a year old, the type of baby spoon that will suit you (and your little one) best will be very different than if your child is 16 months or older and has been self-feeding for half their life.
A. Is your daughter:
- < 12 months
- 12-16 months
- > 16 months
Their experience with dipping
Dipping is an important feeding and developmental milestone and if your kiddo has already mastered that skill then they are likely ready to move on to a more advanced baby spoon.
B. Your son has already mastered dipping with pre-spoons (think Num-Num):
- Not yet
- Most of the time
- He’s a master!
Interest in eating with you
Is your little one always reaching for the food on the table? Does she watch you bring food from your plate to your mouth? Does he reach for food whenever you offer it? These are all signs that she is ready to advance to the next level of self-feeding.
C. Your daughter wants to feed herself:
- Not really.
- She’s showing more interest.
Your level of comfort with a mess at mealtime
If you don't have a dog to pick up all the dropped food and you have no time - or patience - for cleaning the mess then perhaps you hold off on giving a baby spoon with each meal. Although some spoons are designed to help your little one feed more easily (and therefore reduce the mess) there will still be a mess.
D. You are comfortable with a little mess at mealtime:
- I prefer a clean floor.
- A little mess is okay.
- Messes are okay, we have a dog
How important it is for you that they practice
If you would like to encourage your little one to practice this important skill of self-feeding, then regardless of your responses to any of those other questions, this is an important one to listen to. There are lots of spoons that can support your baby's self-feeding at whatever stage they are in.
E. You would like to encourage your son to practice self-feeding:
- It’s not super important to me.
Tally Your Score
Finished? Wonderful. Before we get to those recommendations a disclosure: although we do have PhDs in nutrition and understand nutrition science well, we are not medical doctors, occupational therapists, or pediatric feeding specialists. If you have been given advice that differs from ours by any of these medical professionals, forget us. Listen to them. Also, remember that kids develop differently - in their own time and at their own pace. If you have any doubts about your little one, ask your pediatrician. We should not substitute for their professional medical advice.
Ok. Now, collect your score and read on!
My Score Was Less than 8
You’ve started your little one on solid foods and are getting ready to move into the next phase of self-feeding, which is super exciting! But you might consider getting a little more practice with early feeders - and finger feeding - before you venture into other types of baby spoons (which might be better suited to advanced feeders). Scroll down to FIRST FEEDERS for some recommendations on the best spoons for early feeders.
My Score Was 8 or More
You and your little one are deep into self-feeding and are ready for utensils to be a big part of that process. Your eater has practiced - maybe even mastered - the art of dipping and is ready for a little more advanced scooping. And you’re ready for that floor to get a little messy too! (Or at least Fido is.) The good news is, there are lots of great options for this phase of eating too. So head to READY FOR SPOONS for some of our favorites.
If your score was less than 8, your little one might be better suited by working on first-feeders for just a little while longer. If that is the case for you, here are some of our top recommendations:
Ready for Spoons
Bad News, Good News
We’re “bad news first, please” kind of people, so here’ is the bad news: there is no single spoon that is going to help your little one become a confident, comfortable, and successful self-feeder.
But here’s the good news: There is no single spoon that is going to help your little one become a confident and successful self-feeder! (See what we did there?) There is no single spoon because there are lots of them. And because each kid develops a little differently, no one spoon is just perfect for every kid. Which means while you can’t always go right, you also can’t go wrong.
Final Tips for Selecting a Spoon
Here are our final tips to consider when you're selecting a spoon:
- Experiment. You’re unlikely to find the perfect spoon the first time out of the gate.
- Be patient, because this is still about learning. There will still be more messy days mixed in with less messy ones!
- Allow your child’s needs to change as their motor skills develop as different styles may be needed to support this growth.
- Embrace the learning process and HAVE FUN!
Where to Buy
Looking for where you can buy the baby spoons listed above? We've got you covered.
- NumNum - https://numnumbaby.us/pages/products
- BabyDipper - http://www.babydipper.com/shop-now.html
- ChooMee - https://shop.choomee.com/collections/all-products/products
- Avanchy - https://avanchy.com/collections/blw-utensils/products/baby-spoons
- Ola Baby - https://www.olababy.us/products/olasprout
- ezpz - https://ezpzfun.com/collections/4-months-and-up/products/tiny-spoon-twin-pack
- Ooga - https://www.oogaa.com/product-category/spoons/2-pack-spoons/
- Munchkin - https://www.munchkin.com/lift-infant-spoons.html
- Baeba First Stage Spoon - https://shop.beaba.com/en/spoons-and-cutlery/753-beaba-ergonomic-1st-age-silicone-spoon.html
Traditional, only Smaller
- OXO - https://www.oxo.com/oxo-tot-fork-spoon-set.html#apple-green
- Gerber - https://www.amazon.com/Gerber-Graduates-Spoons-Neutral-Colors/dp/B008X6RH0E
- KIZINGO - https://www.kizingokids.com
- Easy Tots- https://easytots.com/product/small-baby-fork-and-spoon-set/
- I Can Spoon - https://icanspoon.com
- doddl - https://www.doddl.com
- Grabease - https://grabease.com/collections/utensils
- Kidsme - https://www.kidsmebaby.com/products/categoryshow/dpid/67