Hailee Truelove, MA, CCC-SLP
Lead Speech-Language Pathologist
Can you share an overview of the feeding milestones from birth through 2-years old? Also, what is the proper food type for each?
What can a parent(s) do to promote meeting the appropriate feeding milestones?
One thing parents can do to set their infant up for success as a future eater is give them toys, teething tools, and even foods for mouthing. Mouthing is how babies become familiar with various textures and sensations. It is how they become familiar with sensations of softness, firmness, and hardness that are similar to the sensations they will encounter as they transition from bottle, to cup, to spoon. Mouthing prepares the mouth for next steps in oral feeding. Babies learn about the shapes and sizes they will later put in their mouth to consume and how to move their lips and tongue around them.
Next, parents should provide opportunities for developmentally-appropriate food exploration and allow kids to get messy. This is difficult for parents but it is important for kids to “experience” their food in order to develop normal sensory processing of various tastes and textures. Allowing children to spoon-feed, drink from a straw, or bring a spoon to their mouth allows them to develop the fine motor and oral motor skills necessary to eat and drink. They may make a huge mess now but as their skills develop, more will go in their mouth and less on the floor. Start each stage slowly and be patient. The first time they taste peas it may not be in “love at first bite”. Kids need several exposures to foods in order to become familiar with them. It takes time to learn to spoon-feed, drink from a cup, and chew. Once your child reaches the age for each food type, begin introducing new foods one at a time.
When should a parent(s) be concerned about their child’s feeding/eating development? When should they see their pediatrician?
If your child is not gaining weight, not transitioning through the developmental stages of eating, or is fussy at mealtimes it is time to see your pediatrician.
For additional information, below are recommended references to learn more:
- For additional information on Special Kids Feeding Therapy services, please visit http://www.specialkidstn.com/feeding-therapy
- Read more on “Getting Started” with Special Kids by visiting www.specialkidstn.com/getting-started
References are for informational purposes only and they are not intended to replace physician and/or feeding therapy treatment(s).