Have you noticed that if you let your baby or toddler feed themselves with loaded utensils they are likely to hold the spoon or fork hostage? That's why we created the Three Spoon Circus!


Foodie Judy here! I’m a Pediatric Occupational Therapist specializing in Feeding Therapy and co-founder of Feeding Littles. I work with dozens of private clients each week in their homes in Colorado, helping them learn how to successfully eat – many of my clients have medical or developmental issues affecting food.

One trick I use is the Three Spoon Circus, whereby you rotate through three spoons or forks while helping your baby learn to use utensils. 

Why? When babies eat, they tend to hold onto their utensils. How do you get one back? Introduce a third loaded utensil, essentially "trading up" with a food-filled utensil so you can get an empty one back. They're more likely to drop a utensil to get the upgraded (loaded with food) one.

Without the struggle to pry the utensil from your child’s hands, mealtime stays more fun and positive and your child may be more likely to continue self-feeding.

Here are the steps of our Three Spoon Circus:

  1. Dip spoon 1 in guacamole, hummus, applesauce, mashed sweet potato, soup, casserole, rice dish, puree etc. and hand it to your baby.
  2. Repeat with spoon 2. At this point, they'll likely be holding onto both spoons.
  3. Instead of prying a spoon from your baby’s hands, introduce a third loaded spoon.

Why do we load spoons and forks for babies? Can't they do it themselves? Most babies 6+ months can bring spoons and forks preloaded with food to their own mouths to eat. However, it takes many months of practice to use their utensils to scoop or grab food. (It usually doesn't happen until 16-18 months!)

To help them learn to use utensils and eventually become proficient, use preloaded spoons and forks regularly when your baby starts food around 6 months. It's most important for babies to touch food with their hands, but utensils can be helpful with foods that are hard to pick up. 

We love the Three Spoon Circus so much, we partnered with NumNum to create our own 3-spoon pack! Check them out here

Need more help with utensils? Check out this post about helping your child use utensils. 


Want tips for feeding your kids and discounts? Sign up for our newsletter.