I was a baby spoon skeptic, but after talking to my dentist, I came to see the error of my ways. She told me that the stainless steel spoons I already had on hand could injure my baby’s delicate mouth. When babies eat, she explained, they are learning. They bob and gnaw and otherwise explore in ways that older kids and adults simply don’t. A quality baby spoon will account for this with suitable size and appropriate materials that protect your baby’s palate. In this way, baby spoons function a bit like car seats: They’re tools to keep babies safe so they can explore their world.
Baby spoons aren’t just about preventing harm; they also support your baby’s development in positive ways. Baby spoons, especially those babies can use themselves, promote hand-eye coordination, sensory play, and awareness of their body’s signals. All of the baby spoons we tested are safe and will support your child’s development, but our testing revealed some clear favorites.
If you’re only going to buy one set of baby utensils, make it the Olababy Feeding + Training Spoon Set (available at Target for $14.99) , which includes one spoon for parents and one for babies. Both kinds of humans will love using these spoons, which look like little leaves and are magic at mealtimes thanks to their ergonomic handles and tapered tips that are gentle on gums and stellar at scooping snarfs.
If you’re looking for a spoon just for helping your baby learn to self feed, you’ll be thrilled with the EZPZ Tiny Spoon (available at Amazon). At first glance, this self-feeding spoon looks like a shrunk-down grown-up spoon. Still, closer examination reveals details like a stout handle and super bendy silicone material that make it perfectly suited for your sweetie pie.
If a parent-feeding spoon is your focus, get yourself the Avanchy Bamboo & Silicone Infant Spoon (available at Amazon). It curves in all the right ways and makes feeding your baby a breeze.
Olababy Baby Feeding & Training Spoon Set
Materials: Silicone Style: Self-feeding and parent-feeding
You might not expect that a baby spoon that looks a little like a rolled-up lily leaf would be the most practical (I certainly did not), but the Olababy Feeding + Training Spoon Set is a near-perfect choice. The set includes one spoon for self-feeding and one spoon for parent feeding, which offers a ready solution to the problem of babies wanting to do it themselves but not being totally ready for the big time just yet. I wish more brands offered this mix, but if you prefer one or the other, Olababy has you covered since you can buy the self-feeding and parent-feeding spoons separately, too.
Both kinds of Olababy spoons have bowls that hold just the right amount of food for itty baby bites. The tips are so bendy that when my baby bobbed and smashed his eye socket into the parent-feeding spoon during a meal, he just giggled; no harm done. In tests that were easier to repeat, this spoon fared well too. The edges of the spoon are thin, which makes it great for wiping food off your baby’s cheeks or the bottom of a bowl. The ribbed handle was satisfyingly grippy and still easy to clean. The only annoying thing about this spoon is what happens when you’re not using it. When balanced on the rim of a bowl, the spoon tends to roll upside down. Alternatively, if you use the suction on the bottom to stick the spoon upright between bites, excess food can drip down, which may leave the spoon hygienic, but your table messy.
This adorable silicone utensil is perfectly named: It looks like a tiny typical spoon and is super simple to use. On the very first use, our baby tester easily grabbed the spoon by the handle and jammed it into his bowl—a testament to the spoon’s intuitive design. Food sticks to it well, which helped him succeed in shepherding the meal to his mouth, leading to a very proud baby. As a parent, I appreciated the minimalist aesthetic and ease of cleaning. Most importantly, because the silicone was so pliant, I felt comfortable letting my baby explore. Although the spoon is designed for self-feeding, when I swooped in to help my baby finish his meal, I discovered that parent-feeding worked pretty well, including wiping the food from his mouth.
The Avanchy Bamboo & Silicone Infant Spoon is an absolute pleasure to use. The naturally antimicrobial bamboo handle feels fantastic in your hand, and the silicone tip is flexible, soft, and just the right size for a younger baby’s mouth. Avanchy bills this spoon as ergonomic, and, to be honest, I had my doubts. But the truth is this spoon’s angles are magic. It’s easy to get food out of the container into your baby’s mouth in a way that feels organic and simple. The spoon’s bowl cradles the food on the front half, just where you want it. Somehow the whole process even made for less mess at mealtime. It helped that the squeegee effect of this spoon is excellent. If you can stomach the price, you won’t be disappointed.
Hi! I’m Emily P.G. Erickson. I’m a freelance writer and hold a master’s degree in psychology. Before becoming a writer, I worked as a mental health researcher. Now I love applying my research chops to parenting-related challenges including "What are the best booster seats for dining?” and “What are the best nursing bras?” I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with my husband and three sons, the youngest of whom teamed up with me for this review.
After researching the market to discover which baby spoons parents loved best, I put the top eight to the test with the assistance of my 8-month-old. I evaluated each spoon on twelve criteria over at least that many different feedings. The requirements included spoon depth, ease of washing, and durability. The test feedings featured typical early foods, like purees, oatmeal, and mashed solids. In addition to evaluating each spoon on its own merit, I also compared the spoons to each other, such as by alternating mouthfuls to get a feel for how the spoons felt and functioned differently. My husband also tagged in for some test feedings and provided his candid feedback.
What You Should Know About Buying Baby Spoons
You need different spoons depending on who is doing the feeding
There are two types of baby spoons: Spoons designed for parents to hold and those intended for babies to hold. The first kind is sometimes called feeding spoons, parent-feeding spoons, or puree spoons. The second type is associated with baby-led weaning, and you’ll find them referred to as training spoons, self-feeding spoons, child-feeding spoons, and starter spoons.
Good parent-feeding spoons will have a long handle with a slight curve that makes them practical for adults. Good self-feeding spoons will have a short, stout handle that’s simple for babies to hold. If a baby uses a parent-feeding spoon, the long handle becomes a liability and could cause discomfort and gagging. If a parent uses a self-feeding spoon, the short handle that was so perfect in a baby’s tiny hands becomes profoundly awkward.
While some families philosophically prefer to use only one or the other spoon style, other families find both spoon types have a place at their table. If you are preparing for your first child, you do not need to decide which way you lean in advance (unless you want to!). Contemplating which philosophies resonate can be helpful, but remember that your child will also influence your choice, either due to their disposition or developmental needs. For example, my youngest son had some trouble gaining weight, so we fed him baby oatmeal starting at around five months, something we skipped entirely with our older two kids. When putting together a registry for your first baby, I recommend getting both feeding and training spoons to be prepared for whatever life brings you.
Pay attention to the spoon’s materials
Baby spoon materials matter—and not just for aesthetics. As with anything you put in your baby’s mouth, you want to ensure it’s safe and non-toxic. But this goes double for baby spoons, which will encounter a lot of wear and tear and teeny tiny teeth. Look for packaging that proclaims food-grade silicone and BPA-free plastic. Pay particular attention to the spoon’s tip—it should be plenty pliable to protect your baby’s delicate palate.
When to start using a baby spoon
You can begin using a feeding spoon to feed your baby purees or oatmeal as soon as you’re ready to introduce solids. Babies are ready for self-feeding a little later. The usual advice is that babies are ready for self-feeding when they can sit independently, which happens around six months. That means babies can begin to use training spoons to feed themselves between six and twelve months. Your baby’s healthcare provider can help you parse out the best timeline for your particular child. Whatever week you begin, the transition to table food can sneak up on you, so it’s smart to include baby spoons on your registry. That way, you’re all set when the time comes.
Other Baby Spoons We Tested
NumNum Pre-Spoon GOOtensils
Materials: Silicone, nylon Style: Self-feeding
NumNum Pre-Spoon Gootensils look like paddles with indentations, and the brand claims their design is “easier than a spoon!” The idea is that both sides of the paddle are right-side-up, and those dents encourage food to stick. They say that both of these design elements mean your baby can experience success at self-feeding more readily than with other spoons. It's true that blended food sticks well to these spoons, but it wasn’t markedly different from the other training spoons we tested in a side-by-side comparison. The spoons come in a pair that you’re encouraged to introduce in a two-phase process. However, there wasn’t a meaningful difference between the two spoons in a side-by-side comparison. All in all, these spoons functioned well but felt over-engineered and a little gimmicky. NumNum Pre-spoon Gootensils work as well as—but not better than—other high-quality self-feeding spoons.
This whimsical-looking silicone spoon set is meant to be your baby’s first foray into self-feeding. I found that its texture, size, and shape do make it easy for your baby to handle and chomp. But functionally, Chewtensils are more like utensil-themed teethers than useful tools for feeding. Our baby tester was happy to hold this spoon but struggled to use it to serve himself, unlike the other self-feeding spoons he tried. The Chewtensils were a little too abstract, and his hands were, well, handier. It doesn’t help that the Chewtensil’s handle is round, like a pacifier or nipple, so my baby was inclined to suck on that part. Unfortunately, the nubs and sensory bumps he loved chewing made these slightly harder to clean. On the plus side, the Chewtensils, which come in a beautiful span of 18 colors, did an excellent job of occupying him at the table while the rest of us ate.
This single-piece silicone spoon is perfect for parents who want to hold the spoon and skip hand-washing. The design is sleek, which is not only attractive but also practical because it means your baby’s food won’t get stuck in any crevices. The downside of this dishwasher-safe spoon is that the feeding process has a little more friction than some of our other picks. The bowl-to-mouth angles are a bit awkward, and the spoon edges don’t work as well for scooping food or wiping it from your baby’s cheeks.
These cheery infant spoons are great for busy, budget-conscious parents who just need a baby spoon that works. The bowl is an excellent shape for holding the right amount of food. The handle is an ideal length for scooping out of jars and allows for the correct angles to get the contents to your baby’s mouth. There’s even a little nub on the back to balance the spoon on the table between bites. With six in a pack, you’ll always have one at the ready, and the BPA-free plastic means you can let the dishwasher clean up for you. The downside of the material is that the tip is firmer than the other spoons we tried, and if you’re a plastic-free household, this won’t be the spoon for you.
Given its muted earth-tone colors and straightforward design, this parent-feeding spoon would fit right into a minimalist home. Its sleek shape makes cleaning simple, and the silicone is plenty soft for baby’s gums. The rest of the design is more ho-hum. The spoon bowl has a beveled edge, making it less effective at wiping food from your baby’s cheeks. The shape of the bowl means scooped food tends to settle on the back half, which is the opposite of what you want. Additionally, this spoon is a little flatter than the others on our list, so your wrists and elbows will be doing more work to guide the food to your baby’s mouth. Because feedings are relatively brief affairs, you’re not likely to get a new repetitive stress injury from it, but if you already have one, you’ll be happier with one of our other baby spoon choices.
Emily P.G. Erickson is a freelance writer with a master’s degree in psychology. A former mental health researcher, her journalism and essays about mental health, mindfulness, and motherhood have appeared in The New York Times, WIRED, Romper, and elsewhere. Emily lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. For more from Emily, visit www.emilypgerickson.com.
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