Your baby will slowly learn how to use a spoon or fork, and will explore feeding himself/herself, which will begin with finger feeding, then s/he will be able to learn spoon feeding and finally in the end will learn how to use a fork.
7 to 11 months: During this period the baby will be able to mimic you and everyone else around. As you eat yourself, the little one too will probably try to feed himself/herself. S/he will probably pick up the food with his/her whole hand and put it inside the mouth. Slowly s/he will learn to use his/her fingers to pick up the food. This is the time the little one is developing fine motor skills.
12 to 24 months: It generally takes around 18 months for a baby to independently use a spoon. But your baby will be capable of learning the use spoon if given the opportunity. Around 12 months, s/he can try feeding himself/herself with a spoon. Though it will be messy but you have to let the young one try.
Beyond 24 months: If your baby has mastered using the spoon, it’s time to introduce fork with blunt teeth. The little one may or may not be able to use a fork by the time s/he is two years old.
Here are few tips on how you can help your baby learn using spoon and fork.
- In the earlier days of feeding your child, you can give your baby a separate spoon while you feed him/her. This will help the little one associate with the spoon, as s/he might randomly put it inside his/her mouth.
- Hold your baby’s hand and assist him/her to take out food from the bowl with the spoon and eat it. S/he will learn the mechanism of how to do it.
- Give your baby an empty bowl and a spoon together. The little one will unknowingly practice by scooping out imaginary food out of the bowl with the spoon and put it inside the mouth.
- Introduce the little one to a fork which is safe for him/her and try piercing food that are really smooth like cheese, soft fruits, noodles.
- Do not offer fork regularly. Try to make it like a lesson where you practice using the fork twice or thrice a week.