Childhood development is complex and it’s not always easy to tell if your child’s development is considered “typical.” If you’re worried that your child’s feeding development may be atypical, here is a tool for you to use. These are the developmental milestones for feeding that average children meet by certain ages.
1. Between 12 months to 18 months, typical development includes:
- Self-feeding: grasps spoon with whole hand using pincer grasp (i.e. coordination of your index finger and thumb to hold an object/food)
- Your baby should suck food off a spoon
- Holds cup with two hands
- Your baby should now have a well-coordinated suck/swallow/breathe sequence (4-5 consecutive swallows) and rarely cough or have choking spells.
- Holding and tipping a bottle
- By 15 months, your baby should be tolerating a variety of food textures
- By 18 months, a more mature pattern of chewing is developed where food is pushed from the tongue to the teeth and moved back to the tongue to prepare for swallowing.
- Your child will have good lip closure while chewing and not lose food when eating. He/she should take a controlled bite of a hard cookie, and may demonstrate some behaviors to assist with the bite (i.e. tip head slightly back or move arms/legs while biting).
- Your child now has excellent hand-to-mouth skills and may be able to drink from a straw.
- At this time your child should be walking, refining gross and fine motor skills, climbing stairs, and grabbing and releasing objects with precision