Fingers, Spoons, Forks, and Cups

Your child is learning a lot about food and how to eat and drink. At first, you may be helping your child to eat. After children are about 12 months old, they will quickly get better at using spoons, forks, and cups.


Did You Know?

Use a spoon to feed cereal or other foods.

Never give your child cereal or other foods from a bottle. When feeding cereals or pureed or mashed foods to your child, use a spoon.

Your child will start to use fingers to pick up food. This helps your baby develop fine motor skills. Offer your baby finger foods that are small enough to pick up and soft enough to chew. Here are some examples:

  • Small cooked noodles.
  • Small pieces of bread.
  • Small pieces of soft, ripe peeled fruit or soft cooked vegetables.
  • Small slices of mild cheese or crackers.

By the time children are 12 months old, they should be able to easily feed themselves with their fingers.

An older infant drinking from a cup.

Spoons and Forks

At first, babies learn how to swallow solid foods such as pureed or mashed foods you feed them from a spoon.

  • Most babies can swallow a spoonful of pureed foods without choking when they are around 6 months old.
  • Babies can start to use a spoon by themselves at around 10 to 12 months old.
  • Your child will continue to get better at using tools like spoons and forks. Give your child a chance to use spoons and forks—even if it is messy.
An older infant drinking from a cup.


Did You Know?

Your child will learn new skills as they grow.

Learn more about your child’s developmental milestones.

Children can start learning how to use a cup without a lid when they are 9 months old.

  • When children are about 12 months old, they can hold a cup with two hands.
  • Give your child a chance to use a cup—be ready for some spills.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse if you have any questions about things your baby can do at this age.
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