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How to Boost Fine Motor Skills with a Pre-loaded Spoon

How to Boost Fine Motor Skills with a Pre-loaded Spoon

By: @Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP

When baby is first practicing fine motor skills for self-feeding, it’s important that we set them up for success by minimizing frustration and offering right-sized utensils.  

How to Offer a Pre-loaded Spoon to Your Baby

When offering a pre-loaded spoon, make the handle the only part a baby can grab and position it matching the angle of baby’s fist or outreached hand, as shown in the photo above.  

preloaded baby spoon
The Bumkins Silicone Chewtensil is fabulous for this technique because I can hold the choke-barrier between my thumb and forefinger, exposing the entire handle for baby to grab.


The 100% food-safe silicone makes it easy to grip yet safe for a baby’s tender gums. When baby is still developing fine motor coordination, that bendable, soft spoon tip is essential for safety!  

How to Support Developing Wrist Rotation

The less that baby has to rotate the wrist at first, the easier it will be for beginner eaters to bring the spoon up to their mouths, and the more they are willing to practice!  Over time, babies will develop more independence, because they have learned that there is a delicious bite waiting on the end of the spoon that you have offered.  Then, you can begin to change the angle of your hand to help your baby develop wrist rotation. 

Why Your Baby Needs Their Own Spoon

Spoons with long, skinny handles aren’t ideal for self-feeding, because they don’t set baby up for success. They are made for the parent’s hand, not baby’s. Offering right-sized utensils from an early age boosts natural feeding development because baby gets more practice as early as 6 months. 

If you’d like to wait a bit, that’s ok too, but since baby can already bring toys to the mouth, there’s no reason not to offer tastes with this strategy.  Boosting fine motor skills and self-feeding is so much fun – and sometimes the littlest tip, like the angle of the pre-loaded spoon – can make it even better!

Melanie is a pediatric feeding expert, international speaker, and author of six books, including co-authoring the award-winning Raising a Healthy Happy Eater. 

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