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From solid food to sippy cups, spoons, and kids' ability to feed themselves, here are the major eating milestones and when to expect them from birth to age 2.
Learn more about your child's feeding skills over time.
When do babies start eating solids, learn to feed themselves, and use cups and forks? Here are the feeding milestones to expect.
From birth to 4 months, babies get breast milk, formula, or a combination of the two. Their bodies simply aren't mature enough for anything else.
From 4 to 6 months, breast milk or formula alone still provides enough nutrition for most babies. But some kids this age are ready for solid food.
By 6 months, babies should start eating solids. They eat just small amounts at first, and should keep getting breast milk or formula until their first birthday.
Signs that babies are ready for solid food include: They've doubled their birth weight and weigh at least 13 pounds; they can sit well with support; they open their mouth when they see a spoon approaching; and their tongue doesn't push food out of their mouth.
Around 6 to 8 months, babies can use a sippy cup – a training cup with a spout.
At 8 to 10 months, babies are ready for finger foods – small pieces they can pick up using their thumb and index finger. They're also better at eating what's offered on a spoon. They can start learning to drink from a regular cup with lots of help.
By 10 to 12 months, they're starting to learn how to hold a spoon and will try to feed themselves. They'll point to food or reach for it when they're hungry.
At 12 to 18 months, children get better at using a spoon or fork by themselves. They can also let you know they're full by closing their mouth or shaking their head.
Between 18 and 24 months, toddlers can use a spoon, fork, and regular cup with greater skill. They aren't quite as messy when they eat, though they may play with or throw food when they're full. Some kids who are done eating will push their plate away.
At 2 years old, children can feed themselves quite well and are ready to eat most things. But kids this age are still too young to eat foods that pose a choking risk, like whole grapes, hot dogs, and popcorn.