We have all asked ourselves, “Will he eat with his hands forever?” Teaching our kids to use utensils is no tiny feat. It comes with practice and, of course, having the right gear on hand makes it just a little easier. Like it seems to be with all baby gear these days, the market is saturated! Team NIP did the legwork for you and found out which forks and spoons moms like you cannot live without. We interviewed dozens of moms, spoke to product designers, and of course, put products to the test with our very own kiddos.

As always, all of the products we recommend here have undergone safety testing that meet and often exceed the standards required in the U.S. Another important consideration is that there seem to be two distinct categories of utensils. First, the products for those kids that already know how to self-feed, we call these standard utensils. Second, the utensils designed to help little ones learn how to eat on their own, we call these teaching utensils. While very valuable, we found the products designed to teach babies how to self-feed are not necessarily the utensils kids use into toddlerhood and beyond. 

Here’s the deal: Conor tried every spoon on the market but still struggled to self-feed. In 2013, his parents, Doug and Jessica, developed a prototype for the Goo-tensil. Conor picked up this odd looking utensil and used it effortlessly from that very first time. The goo-tensil starts with Stage One pre-spoon, its dimples grab just enough food, then children move onto Stage Two pre-spoon which has channels to capture and hold foods. Flat head design is easier to use than a spoon because there’s no wrong way to hold it.

Material: FDA-grade TPE & polypropylene

Price: $10 for a pair of spoons

Category: Teaching utensils

What sets it apart: The head is flat, so there is no need to worry about scooping, balancing or holding it the “right” way.

Love it: Flat head encourages exploration as it removes the concern around using it properly. Most inexpensive teaching spoons we found. Comes in a pair making it easy for the grown up to pre-load one while baby can explore with the other. Fun design. Dishwasher safe. Can double as a teether.

Not so much: Cannot be used with soup or any kind of liquidy food. Use is limited to the early months.

What are moms saying?: “I really love the flat head feature. I realized how much the scooping, balancing, “hold it right,” aspect of learning to self-feed stressed me out. I felt like I could really let my little guy do his own thing with the goo-tensil. He dipped it in his food and I also pre-loaded the second one from the set. He did really well with it.” - Emily K.

Bottomline: These are our teaching utensil pick, perfect for babies learning to self feed, eating purees and soft table food (5 months until approximately 1 year).

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The NumNum Goo-tensil