What age can babies start eating table food

When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods | Nutrition

For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old.  Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.

Your child:

  • Sits up alone or with support.
  • Is able to control head and neck.
  • Opens the mouth when food is offered.
  • Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
  • Brings objects to the mouth.
  • Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
  • Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.

What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that for most children, you do not need to give foods in a certain order. Your child can begin eating solid foods at about 6 months old. By the time he or she is 7 or 8 months old, your child can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. These foods include infant cereals, meat or other proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, yogurts and cheeses, and more.

If your child is eating infant cereals, it is important to offer a variety of fortifiedalert icon infant cereals such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of only rice cereal. Only providing infant rice cereal is not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration because there is a risk for children to be exposed to arsenic. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administrationexternal icon to learn more.

How Should I Introduce My Child to Foods?

Your child needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong.

Now that your child is starting to eat food, be sure to choose foods that give your child all the vitamins and minerals they need.

Click here to learn more about some of these vitamins & minerals.

Let your child try one single-ingredient food at a time at first. This helps you see if your child has any problems with that food, such as food allergies. Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.

Introduce potentially allergenic foods when other foods are introduced.

Potentially allergenic foods include cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. Drinking cow’s milk or fortified soy beverages is not recommended until your child is older than 12 months, but other cow’s milk products, such as yogurt, can be introduced before 12 months. If your child has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about when and how to safely introduce foods with peanuts.

How Should I Prepare Food for My Child to Eat?

At first, it’s easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed, or strained and very smooth in texture. It can take time for your child to adjust to new food textures. Your child might cough, gag, or spit up. As your baby’s oral skills develop, thicker and lumpier foods can be introduced.

Some foods are potential choking hazards, so it is important to feed your child foods that are the right texture for his or her development. To help prevent choking, prepare foods that can be easily dissolved with saliva and do not require chewing. Feed small portions and encourage your baby to eat slowly. Always watch your child while he or she is eating.

Here are some tips for preparing foods:

  • Mix cereals and mashed cooked grains with breast milk, formula, or water to make it smooth and easy for your baby to swallow.
  • Mash or puree vegetables, fruits and other foods until they are smooth.
  • Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, usually need to be cooked so they can be easily mashed or pureed.
  • Cook food until it is soft enough to easily mash with a fork.
  • Remove all fat, skin, and bones from poultry, meat, and fish, before cooking.
  • Remove seeds and hard pits from fruit, and then cut the fruit into small pieces.
  • Cut soft food into small pieces or thin slices.
  • Cut cylindrical foods like hot dogs, sausage and string cheese into short thin strips instead of round pieces that could get stuck in the airway.
  • Cut small spherical foods like grapes, cherries, berries and tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Cook and finely grind or mash whole-grain kernels of wheat, barley, rice, and other grains.

Learn more about potential choking hazards and how to prevent your child from choking.

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Helpful Resources | Nutrition | CDC

If you would like more information on topics related to feeding your baby or toddler, here are some resources:


CDC’s Infant and Toddler Nutrition microsite syndication
CDC offers a free Web Content Syndication service that gives public health partners the opportunity to syndicate CDC content directly to their sites without having to monitor or copy updates. To search the CDC infant and toddler nutrition website available for syndication as well as other resources you can share, visit the CDC Public Health Media Library and browse or search for “infant and toddler nutrition”. Learn more about content syndication and how to add CDC syndicated content on your site.

CDC’s Child and Teen Resources
This collection of resources provides parents and caregivers, health care providers, and partners with tools and information to help children and teens maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity.

CDC’s Child Development Positive Parenting Tips (Infants)
This CDC website provides information about infants’ development, as well as tips for positive parenting and promoting the safety and health of infants.

CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early.
This website includes tools to track children’s milestones and resources about children’s development.

CDC’s  Parent Information
This CDC website provides resources and information on pregnancy, infants and toddlers, children, and teens. Learn how to handle common parenting challenges through interactive activities, videos, and more. Healthcare professionals and researchers can also find information on children’s health and safety.

CDC’s Division of Oral Health
Tooth decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. CDC’s Division of Oral Health provides information on what parents and caregivers can do to ensure good oral health for your child.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 pdf icon[PDF-30.6MB]external icon
These guidelines provide science-based advice for Americans on what to eat and drink to promote health, reduce chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs. The 2020–2025 edition provides recommendations for all life stages, including infants and toddlers.

Feeding Guidelines for Infants and Young Toddlers: A Responsive Parenting Approachexternal icon
This report presents recommendations for promoting healthy nutrition and feeding patterns for infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months, with an emphasis on dietary quality, portion sizes, and mealtime environment.

Healthy Childrenexternal icon
This website was developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics for parents. It features thousands of articles in English and Spanish on children’s health and safety, as well as interactive tools.

United States Department of Agriculture Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)external icon
The WIC Program provides support to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, babies, and children up to age 5. WIC provides nutritious foods, information on healthy eating, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care.

United States Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)external icon
SNAP provides benefits to low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities.

Feeding and Beverage Recommendationsexternal icon
Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, offers science-based recommendations for parents and caregivers. Tips are available for feeding children from birth through 24 monthsexternal icon and beverages for children from birth through 5 yearsexternal icon. Tips for older children are also available.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Advice About Eating Fishexternal icon
The U.S. FDA and EPA provide advice regarding eating fish. This advice can help people make informed choices when it comes to the types of fish that are nutritious and safe to eat. It is especially important for those who might become pregnant, who are pregnant, or who are breastfeeding, as well as for parents and caregivers who are feeding children. This advice supports the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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CDC’s Breastfeeding Information
CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) is committed to increasing breastfeeding rates throughout the United States. CDC provides information for public health professionals and others to help support breastfeeding mothers, such as managing breastfeeding during various maternal and infant illnesses and conditions, any precautions for vaccines during breastfeeding, and recommendations for proper storage and handling of expressed human milk.

International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA)external icon
ILCA is the member association for professionals who care for breastfeeding families. ILCA’s “Find a Lactation Consultant Directory” can help you find a lactation consultant to get the breastfeeding support you need.

United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA)external icon
USLCA is a professional association for International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) and other health care professionals who care for breastfeeding families. USLCA’s “Find an IBCLC” can help you find a lactation consultant to get the breastfeeding support you need.

WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—Breastfeeding Support external icon
The United States Department of Agriculture Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Breastfeeding Support website includes resources for expectant and current mothers about breastfeeding, overcoming common challenges, and thriving to make breastfeeding work for their families.

La Leche League USAexternal icon
La Leche League USA helps mothers to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education and promotes a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

Office on Women’s Healthexternal icon
The Office on Women’s Health’s vision is for all women and girls to achieve the best possible health outcomes. They provide information on breastfeeding to help women make infant feeding decisions and to guide mothers through the breastfeeding process.

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Infant Formula

Questions & Answers for Consumers Concerning Infant Formulaexternal icon
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulates infant formula and has a list of questions and answers about infant formula.

Infant Formula Do’s and Don’tsexternal icon
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides information on infant formula preparation and storage, as well as other tips on how to keep infant formula safe.

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Food Safety

Food Safety Concerns for Children Under Fiveexternal icon
Food safety is particularly important for young children. Foodsafety.gov provides information on safely preparing food for your child.

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Meal Time

Fruits & Veggies—Have a Plant Movementexternal icon
A resource designed to help spread the word about the health benefits of adding more fruits and veggies to your diet.

USDA MyPlate Kitchenexternal icon
This online tool features a large collection of recipes and resources to support building healthy and budget-friendly meals. Site features include:

  • Extensive search filters on cuisine, cooking equipment, nutrition content, and more.
  • Detailed nutrition information.
  • Cookbooks to browse and download or build your own.
  • Recipe star ratings, review comments, and sharing on social networks.

Video Series on How to Introduce Solid Foods
1,000 Days has developed helpful videos about introducing solid foods to your baby. Topics include:

  • Is your baby ready to start eating foods?
  • What is a good first food for your baby?
  • What to expect when introducing first foods
  • How much should I feed my baby?
  • How to win at mealtimeexternal icon
  • What foods should my baby avoid?
  • What should your baby eat in the first year?

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Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin and Mineral Fact Sheetsexternal icon
The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements has fact sheets for consumers and health professionals about vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements.

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At what age can beetroot and beetroot juice be given to a child?

Beetroot and beetroot juice: when to introduce into the child's diet?

Beetroot is a vegetable that is very beneficial for the body. It must be present in baby food. But from what age, in what quantities to give beets, how to cook it for a baby, and is it possible to squeeze juice from a root crop? The article will help to understand all the important issues regarding the inclusion of beets in the children's menu.


Benefits of beets for the body

Most nutritionists advise eating beets and beet dishes regularly. This vegetable has a positive effect on digestion, and that’s all thanks to its rich composition. The main beneficial effects of the root crop are as follows:

  1. Due to the vast amount of vitamins in the composition of the beet pulp, its consumption in food will have a good effect on the development of the baby - both mentally and physically. Also, the product will help to function normally to all internal organs and systems.
  2. The root crop contains a sufficient amount of minerals - iodine and iron, and this is the prevention of anemia and iodine deficiency.
  3. In addition to these trace elements, beets contain other minerals and salts of minerals, so the product will have a positive effect on metabolism.
  4. Eat beetroot regularly, it will strengthen the walls of blood vessels, contribute to the good functioning of the hematopoietic organs, and reduce nervous excitability.
  5. The child's immune system will work more smoothly after eating beets, because the vegetable has immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties.
  6. If a child is given light beet salads or mashed potatoes, then he will not have problems with the intestines, the main of which at a tender age is constipation.
  7. Beetroot is very useful for the liver, it is a natural hepatoprotector, which is important for any person.

Does the root crop have harmful properties?

  1. If the beets are not grown in an ecologically clean place without the use of herbicides and soil improvers, then there is a possibility that they contain harmful impurities. A vegetable tends to take salt, nitrates, and other substances from the soil that are not at all necessary for the child's body. Therefore, a large amount of beets can adversely affect the functioning of the kidneys.
  2. Beets can lower blood pressure. If for many adults with vascular and heart diseases this property of beets will only benefit, then it can harm babies.
  3. If a child is prone to diarrhea, then eating beets is often contraindicated for him.

Beet consumption must be moderate, not uncontrolled, otherwise you can achieve unpleasant effects!

At what age can you give a baby?

Only after the child has already had other vegetables on the menu (zucchini, pumpkin, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots), they begin to introduce beets into his diet. If no allergic reactions were noted, there is no tendency to allergies, then the age of introduction of beets is 8-9 months . If the baby is allergic, he is diagnosed with diathesis, then you will have to forget about beets for up to a year (at least).

If the child does not have allergies and has problems with stool, intestinal motility is reduced, then this may be the basis for introducing the root vegetable into the menu after 6 months. It is strictly forbidden to make this vegetable the first meal of complementary foods - it will be very difficult for an organism not accustomed to plant foods to absorb a product with a lot of fiber!

In general, earlier than 8 months, the introduction of beets is permissible only to bring the stool back to normal.

Beets and constipation: does it really save you from the problem?

YES, it helps. The vegetable contains a lot of fiber - a type of carbohydrate, which, for the most part, is not digested in the intestines, but helps to carry out normal digestion. As a result of the inclusion of beets in the menu, there is an increase in intestinal motility, it pushes out stagnant feces and eliminates constipation. From vekla eliminates constipation and is an excellent prevention, so you must eat it!

Can beets cure a runny nose? How to make drops?

It may seem strange, but beetroot juice is good for treating rhinitis (runny nose). For this purpose, use the juice of raw or boiled vegetables. Drops are prepared as follows:

  • Wash the beets, grate them;
  • Squeeze the juice from the grated root crop with gauze;
  • Dilute juice with water (take water and juice equally 1 to 1)
  • Drip into the baby's nose 2 drops 4 times a day.

This prescription is suitable for infectious rhinitis in children and adults. Allergic rhinitis cannot be treated with beetroot juice!

How to introduce a vegetable into a baby's diet?

The allergenic properties and laxative effect of the root vegetable make it necessary to act very carefully regarding its introduction into the menu. It is best to make puree from vegetables already familiar to the child, and add a little boiled root vegetable juice (literally half a teaspoon) to it. If the reaction of the body is normal, there will be no allergy, then next time you can add more juice.

When the “experiments” with juice start to go well, it is worth trying to make beetroot puree and give the child ½ teaspoon. It is important to feed your child the product in the morning to ensure that the product is well tolerated throughout the day.

How much beetroot can a child eat?

Starting to introduce beets into the diet of an 8-9-month-old child, this root crop is given together with other vegetables in an amount of not more than 1/3 of the mass of the entire vegetable dish. By the year, the amount of beets that can be given to a child in one day is 50 grams. At the same time, it is enough to offer this vegetable to the baby only once a week. After a year to 7 years of age, beets are given in an amount of up to 100 g per day.

Beetroot puree

Babies under 12 months like boiled beets in the form of puree, and they simply cannot chew the elastic root crop in slices. To prepare puree, take beets, vegetable oil, water.

The manufacturing procedure is as follows: the beets are washed very thoroughly, the leaves are removed, poured with water, boiled to a boil over high heat, then over low heat for 10 minutes. Next, the water is drained to eliminate harmful impurities, poured with fresh water and cooked in the same way under the lid for 1-1.5 hours. You can determine the readiness of the beets with a kitchen knife - they pierce the beets to the middle of the root crop. If the knife goes smoothly, then the beets are soft and ready.

Cooked beets are dipped in cold water for a few seconds to easily remove the skin. The peeled vegetable is rubbed on a fine grater or chopped with a blender, a little vegetable oil is added and the puree is diluted with boiled water (so that the puree is not too thick). This dish is perfect for feeding babies up to 12 months of age.

Beet puree can be added to rice or buckwheat porridge, apple, potato, marrow or meat puree.

Reheating the dish worsens its nutritional quality, so young children prepare beetroot puree only once !

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How to make beetroot juice?

After a successful start of complementary foods from a boiled vegetable, you can try to give your child beetroot juice from raw beets. It is worth remembering that beetroot juice must be diluted with water or other juices. Juice can irritate the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, besides it does not taste very pleasant. On average, the introduction to the juice menu should be at the age of 11-12 months.

The total amount of beetroot juice offered to a crumb must not exceed 1/3 of the total drink. Apple-beetroot juice is especially useful for a baby, but it should also be diluted with water due to the large amount of acid in apples. It is forbidden to take beetroot juice in case of diabetes, diarrhea, pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys.

If a child does not drink cheese juice well, then do not despair. A boiled vegetable gives more benefit to the baby's body than raw. Despite the destruction of some minerals and vitamins after heat treatment, nitrates are also destroyed, and a significant proportion of useful components are still preserved. Boiled beets are better absorbed by the child's body, which, in the end, will be much more useful.


It is strictly forbidden to drink raw juice if the baby:

  • Suffering from some kind of stomach disorder;
  • Has kidney problems;
  • Prone to diarrhea;
  • Suffering from diabetes.

More recipes

Beetroot salad for children over 1 year old

From the age of 1, a child can be offered salads with beets, adding, for example, prunes to the root crop. The order of preparation of the salad is as follows:

  • Soak prunes in boiling water;
  • Boil one beetroot, peel it;
  • Finely grate the beets;
  • Cut prunes into thin pieces;
  • Mix components;
  • Fill the dish with sour cream.

Carrot (raw or boiled) or apple can be used instead of prunes in salad. Children after 1.5 years old can be given salads with raw beets. In addition to salads, you can include the root crop in various soups, stews and other dishes, make cutlets and pancakes from beets.

Oleg Sheinker, a professional chef and young father, shows how to prepare a delicious beet salad for a child:

Beet cutlets

Delicious beet cutlets can be prepared to diversify the child's menu. The vegetable must be cooked until tender, peeled, twisted in a meat grinder, salted. For 100 g of the mass, add 10 g of butter, half the yolk, a spoonful of semolina, mix well. While stirring, boil the resulting mass a little until it thickens, then let it cool. Form cutlets from the mass, roll in breadcrumbs, fry. When serving with cutlets, sour cream is well suited.

Stewed beets

The recipe for another root vegetable dish is like this. Peel and finely cut into cubes 300 g of beets and 30 g of carrots, pour in a small amount of water, add a spoonful of vegetable oil, then wait for the water to boil, reduce the heat and close the saucepan with a lid. Periodically mixing the beets with carrots, simmer in a closed container for about an hour. Next, add 2 tablespoons of sour cream, a little salt and sugar to the vegetables, mix and continue to simmer for about ten minutes.

How to choose a good vegetable?

Home grown beetroot is the best choice for making baby food. Unfortunately, most of us have to buy the product in the store, and there are several recommendations for buying:

  1. Large beets always contain more harmful compounds than small beets.
  2. Buy only beets for baby food, which have a pronounced burgundy hue.
  3. The shape of a quality table vegetable is oval, rounded. There is fodder beet which has an oblong shape.
  4. If there are areas with rot, damage on the skin of a vegetable, you cannot take such a product. The whole skin should be strong, dense.
  5. A soft, flabby vegetable is also not worth buying, it should be firm and even.

Allergy to beets - is it possible?

Unfortunately, this root vegetable sometimes causes food intolerances and allergic reactions, which is why it is given to any child, starting with the smallest portion (half a teaspoon of puree) to check the body's response. Beetroot juice is introduced into the menu literally drop by drop. If there are no signs of allergy within 72 hours, you can repeat the intake of beetroot juice or puree.

From forums

Months from 10 are definitely possible. But my son was allergic to it (or food intolerance, these are different things, but they look the same), and I no longer gave it to my daughter at all. She tried beets in the form of borscht already after a year.
Komarovsky has about the same plan - up to six months - only mother's milk or a mixture, then we add kefir (from the dairy kitchen), then porridge or vegetables, first uncolored. Somewhere in parallel - an apple. After porridge (or vegetables) - vegetables (or porridge, depending on what came first). Then meat. Fish - not earlier than 10 months. Somewhere in this plan, I personally was guided.

Beetroot is a healthy vegetable, beetroot contains a lot of iodine and iron, and beetroot is useful for anemia in children and constipation. But I still would refrain from giving the child beets until 1 year old, due to the fact that beets cause diathesis. If you decide to give beets up to 1 year old, then in small portions and only boiled and watch the child, usually there are rashes on the face on beets. If your child already eats dishes from potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin porridge, boiled zucchini, and only after these vegetables should you start giving beets, if your child has not yet tried these foods, then you do not need to introduce beets into the diet.
Beets are very rich in fiber and at the age of 1 year, the child will digest beets better.

If the child is allergic, then this vegetable should be approached with caution. Somehow they gave my ward beetroot salad and she poured it all out, but she didn’t have such a reaction to borscht. And in Soviet times, we mixed beetroot juice with carrot and apple juice. Of course, they didn’t give it in its pure form. At 8 months, they started giving. And, thank God, the kids were healthy.


  1. Beets can be both good and bad.
  2. It must be introduced into the diet very carefully.
  3. According to the indications, you can start complementary foods with vegetables from 6 months.
  4. With the normal development of the child, his first acquaintance with the root crop occurs closer to 9 months.
  5. Babies with obvious signs of diathesis can eat beets only after a year.
  6. A boiled vegetable is healthier than a raw one. Boiled beets, unlike many other vegetables, are able to retain their main beneficial properties.
  7. For a child, it is necessary to carefully choose root crops.
  8. Beetroot is a folk-tested remedy for colds and stool problems.

We also read: Vegetable purees for the first feeding (3 recipes)

Beets - useful properties (Live healthy)


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How to teach a child to eat with a spoon and at what age is it better to start

Usually parents feed their children from a spoon not out of tenderness, but for practical reasons: it's faster and cleaner. Pediatrician Olga Kulakova explains at what age a child can handle eating with a spoon and fork and whether this process can be somehow accelerated.

Question. My daughter is already 1.5 years old, but she just can't eat with a spoon on her own. By what age should a child learn to use cutlery? And are there ways to teach him?

Answer. The first acquaintance of a child with a spoon begins in the first year of life and coincides in time with the beginning of the introduction of complementary foods. At 6–7 months, the baby may begin to show interest in the spoon as an object. This is an excuse to buy another baby spoon and put it next to the plate. Let the child turn it in his hands, examine it and try to use it for its intended purpose.

At around 9 months of age, your baby can start picking up a spoon on their own. But this does not mean that he will be able to scoop up food and bring it to his mouth. Rather, it is about the fact that the child is trying to copy the movements of adults.

A child usually masters a full-fledged spoon by about one and a half years. But here it is important to remember that everything is very individual. Someone already a year old is excellent at using a spoon, and someone is still fed by their parents even at two years old. And it’s not worth worrying that the child is over a year old, and he is still just learning and he doesn’t succeed.

Under no circumstances should children be forced to master this science. Aggressive training can cause a backlash: the child will no longer want to pick up cutlery.

How to teach your child how to use a spoon:

  • Sit him at the table, let him watch how family members eat.
  • Do not force feed your baby. Let him eat with his hands. He will not be able to eat porridge and soup like that - he will have to try to master the spoon.
  • Play role-playing games with him more often, in which the child feeds his toys from a spoon.

At this age, the child actively copies the behavior of his loved ones, and it is important that he sees how the whole family eats with cutlery.

Children learn to use a fork by about three years of age: at this age they already understand that a fork is a sharp object and can be hurt.

Pay attention to how the child grasps cutlery:

  • At 1-2 years old, he holds a spoon in his fist in the middle of the handle.
  • By two years - closer to the wide back.
  • From the age of three, he can begin to hold the spoon with three fingers: thumb, index and middle.

Sooner or later the child will take the spoon and fork on his own as it should be

Children are given large time intervals for acquiring certain development skills.

Learn more