Watching your child as they feed themselves for the first time is a momentous milestone – so it’s important to make sure you pick the right baby or toddler cutlery set for them to help with self-feeding.
Choosing a knife, fork and spoon set that encourages independent feeding rather than one that hinders it means that mealtimes will be fun, albeit often messy too!
It’s an important stage in their development: holding and using cutlery allows babies and toddlers to develop their pincer grip – an essential skill for learning how to hold a pencil and write at school.
Here, using advice from mums in the MadeForMums Facebook community, we’ve picked out 10 sets that we think really stand out for something in their design.
10 of the best baby and toddler cutlery sets to for self-feeding…
1. Doddl knife, fork and spoon set, £16.95 – best for transitioning
Age: 12 months – 5 years
What it is: This quirky-looking knife, fork and spoon set is cleverly designed with ergonomic curved handles, perfect for tiny hands to feed themselves without any fuss. It’s a great starting set for toddlers, and helps them to transition more easily to using kids’ or adults’ cutlery.
Why we love it: The award-winning chunky design means the cutlery is easy to hold, which promotes independent eating – so less frustration at mealtimes and more fun! It’s a colourful design, and the shape of the smart, serrated knife teaches toddlers how to push down to cut their food. And it’s dishwasher safe which is a bonus.
Mum Emma says: “We have used the Doddl spoons and forks with our twins alongside Munchkin spoons and found them really good! They learned to use them quite quickly and always ask for their spoon or fork now.”
2. Tiny Dining children’s bamboo soft tip spoons – £7.99 ( for a set of 6) – best for weaning
Age: 6 months+
What it is: A selection of 6 brightly hued bamboo-handled spoons that are an ideal starting point for encouraging babies to begin feeding themselves. They’re 141mm long, 34mm wide and 10mm thick. They’re also organic and eco-friendly – and antibacterial.
Why we love it: They’re a great starting point for babies to get to grips with (literally!) using cutlery. We especially like that, because the silicone tip is so soft and chewy, they’re safe for babies to use too and gentle on teething gums.
They’re perfect for weaning with porridge or yoghurts to encourage independent feeding. The bamboo is sustainable and resilient too – and although you can put them in the top drawer of your dishwasher, handwashing them will make them last longer. You can also buy adorable matching plates and bowls.
Mum Tara tells us: “The spoon bit is rubbery so nice and soft and good for baby/toddler to chew on without getting sore gums. We have it in the drawer from when our daughter was much younger and it still looks as good as new.”
Available from: Rinkit
3. Constructive Eating 3-piece construction cutlery set, £16.99 – best for fussy eaters
Age: 12 months +
What it is: A brilliantly fun, incredibly designed knife, fork and spoon set that looks more like toys than it does cutlery. It’s all about making mealtimes fun – and encouraging picky eaters to try the foods they otherwise wouldn’t.
Why we love it: What’s not to love? There’s the fun element of the design that encourages kids to stay at the dinner table for longer and try new foods. More so if you opt for the creative construction site plate too, complete with parking spaces and mine shafts.
This set also helps children to develop fine motor skills and independent feeding. There’s a ‘fork lift’ fork, a front loader spoon (ideal for pushing fiddly food such as peas onto) and a bull dozer pusher. There are fairy and dinosaur versions too.
Mum Helen says: “My little boy was a choosy eater and would want to jump down from the table as soon as possible. When a friend bought him this set, it changed mealtimes for us. It even encouraged him to eat broccoli!”
Available from: Urban Gifts
4. Munchkin toddler fork and spoon set – £3.49 – best for grown up eating
Age: 12 months+
What it is: A fun spoon and fork set that’s aimed at developing toddlers’ self-feeding skills and transitioning them to kids’ cutlery and encouraging independent eating.
Why we love it: Made from metal with a colourful handle, this set is great for little ones who like eating just like mummy and daddy.
While the tips are made from metal, the colourful curved handles are ergonomically designed, which means they are made especially for small hands to grip.
The spoon is deep, so scooping up more food is easier, while the fork has sharper (but not too sharp!) prongs, to help them pick up food.
They also come in 3 hues – blue, green, pink – with a cute swirly pattern – and are dishwasher safe. Mum Rebecca says: “We have the Munchkin fork and spoon set, metal and rubber/plastic handle.
“We’ve had no issues with them they feel nicely weighted and both boys can use them easily and they’re reasonably priced and long lasting.”
Available from: Uber Shop
5. Martin Gulliver Blue Star children’s four-piece cutlery set, £28 – best for stylish eating
Age: 2 years
What it is: A beautiful 4-piece boxed toddler knife, fork and double spoon set that’s made from stainless steel with a plastic handle featuring a pretty design. Choose from polka-dots or a cute farmyard scene that will brighten up any dinner table.
Why we love it: This is a special gift-worthy set that’s practical too. It’s ideally aimed at older toddlers who have already got to grips with the beginning stages of self-feeding, and who are now honing their eating skills.
You can also buy matching bowls, cups and plates to make mealtimes feel extra special. Helpfully, the set is dishwasher safe. Mum Jenny says: “Ooh I love kids cutlery and plates. I really loved the metal forks that came with their plate sets from John Lewis, the Martin Gulliver sets.
“I also like the plastic Ikea ones but I find with forks they needed something a bit ‘sharper’ to actually stab the food.”
Available from: eBay
6. Nuby Suregrip stainless steel cutlery, £4.99 – best for mealtime fun
Age: 12 months +
What it is: A quirky fork and spoon set that’s not only been created to help small hands get to grips with feeding themselves, but also features a cute cosmic design, to make mealtimes extra fun. Comes in blue or pink.
Why we love it: With stainless steel tips, this adorable set is a great stepping stone to the real thing. The silicone handles are chunky and easy to grip, meaning self-feeding becomes easier.
Helpfully, the handles are wipe clean, and – this is our favourite bit – they both have a hygienic stand to prevent too much food ending up on the table. Genius!
Mum Ally tells us: “We have the Nuby set and a set we got from Aldi – both metal with plastic handles and she can use them much better than some plastic ones her grandma got.” (Sorry grandma!)
Available from: Nuby
7. NumNum pre-spoon Gootensils, £21.25 – best for early starters
Age: 6 months+
What it is: A unique flat-headed 2-spoon set that’s ideal for babies taking their first self-feeding steps. The incredibly clever design makes these easier to hold than a spoon, and they’re perfect for starter foods such as purees, porridge and yoghurts.
Why we love it: The clever pre-spoon makes self-feeding easier as the food balances on it, rather than needing little ones to have already learned how to scoop it up. It also has raised textures to help soothe sore gums.
Once babies have learned how to bring the spoon to their mouth, they can use the second one, which is for thicker foods.
Mum Carol advises: “I used these with my little girl when she first started weaning. It wasn’t long before she got the hang of it and was feeding herself. Now she’s nearly 3, she still likes to use them as the design is so quirky.”
Available from: Fishpond
8. Ikea Kalas 18-piece cutlery set, £1.25 – best for budget
Age: 12 months +
What it is: 6 different coloured 3-piece cutlery sets that are safe to use in the dishwasher and microwave, which means they’re durable, and are great hand-me-downs for the next sibling.
Why we love it: You can’t beat these for value for money and longevity. They’re designed with young hands in mind, and are easy to grip.
The knives have blades with serrated edges – great for encouraging kids to cut their food independently. The bright colours also add a touch of fun to mealtimes and are perfect for picnics too.
Mum Jenny says: “I’ve had these for ages and they come up spotless in the dishwasher every time, and the colours don’t fade.
“I love mixing up the colours for my 2 and 5 year olds’ mealtimes – and there are plenty to go around when friends come over too.”
Available from: Ikea
9. Skip Hop 2-piece cutlery set, £7 – best for fuss-free eating
Age: 12 months +
What it is: A seriously cute fork and spoon set with stainless steel heads and oversized handles featuring baby unicorns or cheeky monkeys. They do exactly what it says on the tin!
Why we love it: They’re straight-forward and simple, and are the perfect size for little hands to hold and feed themselves. The design isn’t fussy, with rubber bumps on the side so they’re easy to grip.
Mum Fran says: “I found the Skip Hop [cutlery] really good when Pippa started to feed herself as she could easily get food on the fork. Now she’s nearly 3, she still uses it.”
10. Oxo Tot fork and spoon set, £7 – best for no mess on the floor
Age: 12 months+
What it is: A 2-piece cutlery set designed to help littles ones successfully get the food from their plates into their mouths, all by themselves.
Why we love it: The clever design of this fork and spoon set includes a flat spot on the chunky, smooth handles, that stops them from rolling off the table – meaning less food ends up on the floor.
The fork prongs are smooth, so it’s a great first utensil to help toddlers learn how to feed themselves.
Mum Gill tells us: “It’s a really cute design, but what I really loved was that the flat part of the handle stops these from slipping into bowls and getting covered in food.”
Baby and toddler cutlery sets – what to look out for
What to look for when buying a cutlery set for your baby or toddler depends on their age.
Self-feeding cutlery at 6 months+
When they’ve just started weaning at 6 months, babies will be much more interested in experiencing new tastes than holding cutlery.
By lining up a couple of baby spoons, they’ll be able to grab them, and copy mummy or daddy when they’re ready.
Self-feeding cutlery at 12 months +
For 1 to 2-year-olds, think about introducing a fork, and give them food they can practice stabbing. But they’ll also still be using their fingers too.
Self-feeding cutlery at 2 years +
When they reach 2, you can start to introduce metal cutlery as well as kid-proof knives. Opt for ones that encourage grip and fine motor skills.
Before you know it, they’ll be feeding themselves with no help from you!
Pics: From product websites