Developmental Feeding Milestones
Nippling from breast or bottle with rhythmic suck-swallow-breathe pattern. Feeding in a reclined position (45 degrees). Takes 2-6 ounces 6 or more times/day. Hand to mouth exploration begins.
Baby engages in more active sucking. Feeding in a semi-reclined position (45-85 degrees). Volume of each feeding increases as number of feedings in a day decreases. Pureed foods often introduced during this time.
Baby anticipates puree from the spoon with an open mouth posture. Active lip closure allows them to use their upper lip to remove food from the spoon. Soft and dissolvable solids introduced with self finger feeding skills emerging. Cup and straw drinking are often introduced.
Mashed, ground or chopped table foods are introduced as babies develop a controlled bite and munching skills. Babies are learning to move food from the midline to the sides of the mouth. Pincer grasp is improving with an increase in finger feeding. Cup drinking is improving with some tongue protrusion under the cup for stability.
Chopped table foods are frequently provided with noteable improvement in biting and chewing skills. Licks food off of lips and moves food within the mouth. Self feeding with a spoon is emerging. Increased cup or straw drinking with better stability.
Children are exploring solids that require stronger chewing skills with small pieces of harder solids being presented. No longer losing significant amounts of food or liquid when eating or drinking as lip closure while chewing is developing. Messy self feeding with a spoon.
Children gain more control of self feeding and cup drinking. Longer sequences of drinking are displayed with little to no spillage from the mouth. By 2 years children are typically able to manage most table foods and self feed well with a spoon. Chewing skills are maturing to a rotary chew pattern. Use of a fork is introduced.
Choking hazards remain and safety precautions should be followed such as cutting hots dogs, grapes and cheese sticks into small pieces and avoiding popcorn.