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 your child is about 12 months old, he or she 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 his or her 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 your child is 12 months old, he or she should be able to easily feed themselves with his or her fingers.

An older infant drinking from a cup.

Spoons and Forks

An older infant drinking from a cup.

At first, your baby can learn how to swallow solid foods such as pureed or mashed foods you feed him or her from a spoon.

  • Most babies can swallow a spoonful of pureed foods without choking when they are around 6 months old.
  •  Your baby can start to use a spoon by himself or herself 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.


Your child can start learning how to use a cup without a lid when he or she is 9 months old.

  • When your child is about 12 months old, he or she 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.