21 Month Old Won't Use Fork or Spoon to Feed Himself

Updated on January 06, 2011
M.L. asks from Port Hueneme, CA
12 answers

Ok guys questions for ya...my little guy will not use a fork or spoon when he is eating...if I even try to hand the utensils to him he swats them away and has a meltdown if I don't feed him myself. I am guessing by now he should of mastered this task correct? I don't know what to do here. He will feed himself foods like sandwhiches but only because he can use his hands. Any pointers? Thanks so much! : /

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Santa Barbara on

Neither will my 11 yo. He's a caveman. Drives me crazy...
Good luck! Maybe there's a M. that's been able to tame the caveboy?

Edit My Answer
1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Fresno on

Half the time, we'll be eating dinner and I'll look over and my 4 year old is eating with her hands. *mommy hangs head in shame* She knows how to eat with a fork, she just has a hard time with it and she's hungry, and apparently is too impatient to use actual utensils to get the food to her mouth. Sigh. We're working on it, but it's an uphill battle, I'll tell ya!

At your son's age, I would seriously not worry about it. Maybe when he's my daughter's age and not using a fork, then worry. =-p

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My son is also 21 months and does not use a spoon or fork either. I give him one most of the time, but he prefers to eat with his hands. As far as eating things like yogurt or applesauce, I usually still feed him since he just tries to eat those with his hands too! (messy!) I was a little worried too, but I feel better after reading your responses! :) Thanks and good luck!!



answers from Raleigh on

This is not a skill that a child of your son's age needs to master. My son is almost 2 and can use a fork but is just now learning how to use a spoon. And frankly, he prefers using his hands because he can eat faster. Each child is different and yours will one day watch you eating with utensils and want to try it. In the meantime, stick with foods he can eat with his hands and limit foods that require a fork or a spoon. Good luck!



answers from Honolulu on

It takes lots of coordination to use those tools and he is probably pretty hungry. That would frustrate you, too, don't you think?? He is really a baby. keep offering the tools and give him other opportunities to use tools so he can build his fine motor skills without the stress of being hungry while mastering it. Y'know, crayons, playdoh with kitchen implements to make shapes in the playdoh, painting, sidewalk chalk, scissors. Model appropriately and just keep offering. he'll get there!



answers from Los Angeles on

gently introduce them....hes a baby...and he will be grown very soon and wont even need help dressing...sad but true...enjoy this precious baby...hee hee...watch him...he is learning texture and hot and cold....and getting fed....hes enjoying himself....good luck momma:)



answers from Los Angeles on

Dont rush him push only keeptrying eventuallly he will learn my mother said hand came before forkes i did use untilli was ready now at 86 years old things get fine relax you want him to grow up to fast raised 4 now how have 7 grandchildren A. no hills



answers from Los Angeles on

My boys are 3 and 5 and they still don't consistently use utensils.

We have the utensils there and we encourage them to use them, however we don't discipline them if they don't.

I'm just happy that they're eating what's on their plate! I wouldn't worry about it too much.



answers from Utica on

Wow I am so happy to hear all of your reponses. My DD is 12 months now and my doctor made a real fuss over the fact that she doesnt use a spoon to eat by herself. And she wasnt too impressed when I told her that we feed her with a spoon. She said apparently by 18 months she should be eating with a spoon with very little spills but I think thats a bit much for a baby to handle. If I try to help her with the spoon feeding she gets all fussy and trys to throw it away so instead of having everything covered in food and nothing in her belly I just feed her and she eats like a champ. She eats finger foods no problem on her own its just the messy, runny stuff like cereal, fruit, and mashed veggies that we help with. She also wont hold her own bottle and we were told that was a major issue that we needed to nip in the butt, however from another post I read on that topic she seems very normal there too. Besides I like the cuddle time when we feed her.



answers from Tampa on

Not unusual at all. My son didn't use a fork for the longest time (still hardly does and he'll be 3 in July). He'd rather eat with his hands, but does try now to use the fork sometimes. He does use his spoon. I don't remember when he started, but for a long time he would put the spoon upside down before putting it in his mouth, now he usually will get it to his mouth and most of the time he'll turn it upside down in his mouth - LOL. I wouldn't worry about it. What we usually did (esp for the fork) is give him utensils with every meal that we could. Obviously not regular finger foods like sandwiches and stuff, but with mac & cheese, pasta, rice, etc. You'll probably still have to help him out with the spoon till he figures it out - maybe have him help you feed him. So don't worry about it. Just give it to him to use and if he uses it great, if not, he will. Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

your child is way too young to have enough control over a utensil like that. Lighten up. I don't think the kids can use them until 4 or 5.



answers from Seattle on

My daughter will be 2 in June... She cannot regularly eat with a fork and spoon. Sometimes she has a few successes with spearing a piece of meat or spooning a bite of cereal, but it's slow, frustrating and messy. I let her try whenever she wants to, but I wouldn't say that she is actually able to eat with a fork and spoon. If I left her to eat with utensils on her own, she'd be very thin. :) They're fine!