Ask Our Expert: Teach Baby How to Use a Fork (In 4 Easy Steps!)

In collaboration with @mymunchbug_melaniepotock.

Learning to use a fork starts with 4 easy steps & then we add the finesse over time!  Babies as young as 6 months can start by dipping their spoon (the dip & scoop comes later!) & once the “dip” is mastered, set them up for fork-success with these next 3 steps:

  1. Use a stay-put bowl, like the silicone bowl by @grabease, so that the bowl won’t move when baby presses the fork into safe, squishable pieces of food.  The squish is for easy forking & for safer chewing and swallowing!  Cubes of avocado, bananas, squash – all great choices!
  2. Show baby how to hold the table or the side of the bowl with the “fork-less” hand.  When kids stabilize with one hand, the other hand with the fork will gain better control.
  3. Like dipping, the first movement is down.  If baby is holding the fork in her right hand, put the cubes in the left corners of the bowl. Now baby can poke down & brace the fork against the tall sides of the partitioned bowl. *

BONUS step:

Get to the YUM. Baby will bring the fork up to her mouth if the handle is short & the tongs are wide to hold safe-sized pieces.  Practicing with a spoon before the fork preps babies for that bonus step! That’s why I’m a fan of the @grabease utensils with “just-right” sized handles for babies to control as the food travels up to little mouths.

*Wondering which hand is the correct hand for baby to use?  Now is not the time for babies to develop a hand preference. Why?  Because by learning to use either hand means baby is also using BOTH sides of her brain.  We’re focusing on brain development (rather than developing hand dominance, typically seen closer to age three or even four) so parent proactively & encourage baby to learn to fork with both hands.