27 Month Old Toddler Won't Self Feed

Updated on January 12, 2011
M.A. asks from Meridian, ID
9 answers

My toddler who is 27 months now refuses to pick up an eating utensil. At about 20 months he showed interest and sometimes we would let/help him self feed. Other times we spoon fed him ourselves to get it done quicker. So in essense we taught him it's easier if we feed him. We now are offering the spoon to him at mealtimes but he stays his hand. I've tried to get him fun looking spoons but nothing works! He's very picky. He only likes a few foods and doesn't like to eat anything with his hands that will get them dirty. He is also ambidextrous it seems.

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So What Happened?

Well we got down to business yesterday. I gave him some Raman noodles and a spoon. Helped him feed himself a few bites and walked away. I couldn't believe my eyes when he sat there and fed himself the rest! Amazing! He stll had his moments this morning just because it was routine and so he went without breakfast. Lunch was a bit better although he was very picky about what to eat. I cooked him eggs, a favorite, I thought he'd have some trouble getting the eggs on the spoon , which he did and I helped him get the eggs onto the spoon but I let him feed himself. A work in progress but at least we're making progress. Thank you all for your thoughts and encouragement! Really helped!

Featured Answers



answers from Honolulu on

ABC news, did an episode on "Food Neophobia."
Here is the link:

And since you said, he is ALSO.... picky with foods and does not like getting his hands... dirty. So to me.... that is a point to consider... in his rejecting using utensils or feeding himself.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from New York on

what worked for me was to give him a little ice cream and a spoon, I gave him one little taste then walked away. He picked up the spoon and learned to feed himself (too cold to use hands!) he quickly got the hang of it and then moved on to eating yogurt and then all foods with a spoon

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If you're still feeding him, then that's the problem. Stop feeding him.... he'll figure it out pretty quickly when he gets hungry. If you're not feeding him, and he's just using his hands, then I'd just let him continue, but offer him the spoon and fork at each meal.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

My son is 2 1/2 and he gets a spoon and fork with every meal and most of the time he holds one or the other in his left hand and eats with his right :) We do remind him to "use your spoon/fork" and he will for a couple bites then back to what works best/quickest! As long as he is eating, I'm ok with it! He'll get there!!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Is he not eating at all ... or is he at least eating wit his hands and you just want him using a spoon??

I read an interesting research article that said children tend to stop trying new foods when their parents start enforcing full on fork and spoon at the table. I found that fascinating and have always kept that in mind when my children would want their hand over their fork/spoon. Just something to think about. Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

Hi M., I understand your situation very well as mine was very similar with my son. I spoon fed him till he was almost 3. When he was younger I gave him the spoon to use and most of the time all he did is sit there and play with his food. It drove me nuts so I fed him. Finally I thought he was getting too old to be fed I kept giving him a spoon and walking away. It took a while and a lot of patience but if he wanted to eat he had to use the spoon, my son doesn't like his hands being dirty either. I was diligent and gave him every opportunity to try feeding himself. Once he got used to the idea he started insisting on eating by himself. He's 3 1/2 and is doing fine. Be patient and keep giving him the spoon and walk away, don't do it for him. If he is ambidextrous than he'll have no problem feeding himself with either hand.

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answers from Denver on

Sounds like you just wauted a really long time to introduce utensils and even self feeding. I uaually let my babies begin to self feed at 7 months and by the time they were 10-11 months old I let them use spoons for yogurt, or oatmeal. He is certainly old enough, I would just keep talking and keep trying. Don't worry about him being ambidextrious either my middle didn't pick a hand until we started teaching her to write.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I asked a similar question on here about my son and the advice I received was to stop feeding him! It was easier said then done because if I fed him myself he would actually eat a whole meal and it would get done a lot quicker, but I really wanted him doing it himself so I just stopped. I would put his plate out with a fork or spoon and tell him to eat. He would either just leave it there or cry for me to feed him, but I would tell him he had to do it himself so eventually (after a few times) he started feeding himself. Now if I even try to help him pick anything up with his fork he will yell NO LET ME DO IT! You just have to make him do it, like others have told me, why would he want to do it himself when he knows you will do it for him? Once he realizes you won't, he will do it himself trust me!! When he does do it, make a big deal about it, tell him he's doing a great job and he's such a big boy to get him to want to keep doing it. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Have the fork and spoon on there, but allow him to eat with his hands also.

Encourage him to be a big boy and take every other bite with a utensil..Maybe say it out loud. "dad and mom are going to eat a bean with the fork, honey, you do it too!" "Woo hoo, we all ate with our fork!"

"Lets all use our spoon to eat mashed potatoes! Woo hoo, we ate with our spoon.."

"Honey, please feed mom mashed potatoes with her spoon. Thank you!"
"Honey please use my fork to feed me a bite of green beans, Thank you!"

Also do you know if he is right or left handed yet? That can also be turning point for him.

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