When you’re a parent, knowing what baby cutlery to give to your child to help them master their table manners can be as confusing as putting together flat packed furniture (groan). I mean, when do you switch Baby Led Weaning (BLW) kids from fingers to spoons? And what’s easy for them to hold? Nodding? Fear not, here’s a guide on what cutlery you need for each weaning stage and how to get them comfortable using it.
The starters - 6-12 months
Ok, so, here’s how it goes. Many 6-month-olds will probably be more interested in exploring their first tastes rather than holding any cutlery, and they probably aren’t yet developed enough to grasp the hand-to-mouth concept either. If they’re going down the BLW route, then at this point they’ll also be about their fingers too.
Regardless of which route you choose to take, it’s never early to get them used to a spoon (because even BLW babes will need to learn how to eat cereal and soup at some point).
So, start them off in the right direction. Line up a couple of baby spoons to get them used to the idea, even if all they do is pick them up. Be sure to choose ones that are soft enough not to hurt little gums, if they decide to bite down on them, and won’t hurt mouths if you’re feeding them, like these Munchkin White Hot Safety Spoons. Made of soft silicone, there’s four in a pack, so you can give a few to your baby to hold.
On the puree food journey? Stop the frustration of food falling off spoons when your baby hits the spoon to-mouth-stage (around 7 months) with these Cognikids Weaning Dip Spoons. Featuring a textured surface, which makes them simple for baby hands to hold, all they have to do is dip and the puree grips to the textured surface. All they have to do is find their mouths 😱.
Psst, here’s a tip. Keep a ready supply of finger food to hand at this stage. That way, you can keep them topped up and not starving if they keep missing their mouths. Hangriness isn’t something to take lightly and can derail their progress.
Mini munchers - 16-24 months
Ok, so they’ve successfully got comfy with a spoon. Well, at least the cereal’s going into their mouths - a bit. Now’s the time to bring out the big guns. Introducing: the fork. Most toddlers will be able to have a go at this from around 16 months to two-years-old (my 17-month-old can now stab her food with hers). However, they will also still dip in and out of using their fingers too - especially if using a fork proves to be too slow. Thankfully, there are some ways you can keep the spag bol covered fingers to a minimum. Just find a set that makes it easy-peasy. This b.box First Cutlery Set features a fork that’s been ergonomically designed to fit the size and shape of little mouths, plus an angled handle to make stabbing food easier.
Still not getting it? This Kidsme Toddler Spoon and Fork Set may be your lifesaver. Featuring big handles, they’re easy for kids to grasp and keep hold of. Cool huh?
Cutlery geniuses - Pre-schoolers
So they’ve been practicing with a fork and spoon, and finger eating has taken a backseat (phew). It’s time to move onto the next stage... introducing them to the hard stuff. That’s right; It’s bye, bye plastic, hello stainless steel and kid-proof knives. We know it’s not easy getting them used to this, so keep their confidence high with this doddl 3 Piece Cutlery Set. Featuring ergonomically and intuitively designed handles, this set has been designed to encourage grip and also supports fine motor skill development. There are also colourful stickers that can be used to guide little fingers.
Oh, and when they’ve conquered that, give them a set to keep them eating with their knives and forks - and not their fingers - with this super cool Fred Snack n Stack cutlery set. Featuring a Lego stack design, it’s got fun written all over it. Awesome.
And here’s a little extra tip. Plates will slip when your pre-schooler’s trying to force that knife to cut. From experience, this can cause tantrums. Stop plates and tears falling with a non-slip mat. It’ll be worth it. Promise.
So there it is, the ultimate guide to cutlery for each stage. Good luck, and remember, they may not get it straight away, but eventually it’ll click. You just need patience, encouragement and wine 🤣.