Your baby is now one year old and still has no signs of self-feeding. Or probably you’ve got a problem with how they spill almost all the food. Simply put, they are not yet stable enough to hold the spoon and feed themselves. Should that be a cause for worry? Not so. Everyone has their speed of growth, and therefore you can’t compare your kid with your neighbor’s or your second born with the first one who began feeding themselves at the age of 9 months.
How eating & self-feeding relate to occupational therapy
Pediatricians don’t only treat problems with eating and self-feeding. They are also important in occupational therapy and other activities of daily life for children. When a child struggles to move food from the plate to the mouth or even manipulate food in their mouth, they have mealtime challenges that occupational therapists analyze to understand the reasons behind. Is it difficulty in hand-eye coordination or fine motor skills needed for finger-feeding or using utensils? Difficulties sitting in one place long enough to attend to and complete a meal? How much easier it would be to see things from a distance. Children struggle with many daily living activities. Some allow us to work on our hands. Don’t try too hard Output: Other activities of daily living include those that young children enjoy – such as playing, exploring, sleeping, skincare, health services etc.
Developmental progression of eating & self-feeding skills
Here is an outline of determining if your baby’s eating and self-feeding skills are on track
The baby suckles in anticipation of the spoon coming near, Munching chew pattern, attempts to secure a tiny object (a piece of food) with a few fingers or whole hand, makes contact but is often unsuccessful. They place both hands on the breast or feeding bottle, and when holding any object, they would want to try it into the mouth.
At this age, the baby can bite the food on the spoon and clean it after biting. At this stage, it can voluntarily bite some soft food and grab some. Again, they can now eat food from the center and not sides. They use fingers to scoop pieces of food and use the thumb and index finger. The baby can hold and drink from an open cup with the mother’s support.
At this stage, they can take controlled cookie bites, drink from a straw and demonstrate a true suck. They can chew using the rotary pattern from one side of the mouth to the other. If well trained, they begin to use the index finger and the thumb to hold small items and feed up to half the food.
The child can close the mouth while chewing and bite the cup to stabilize their jaw. They can feed using a spoon with proper coordination from the mouth to the cup. They can also make some controlled bite on a soft cookie.
A baby’s development is progressive, and the most important thing for every mother is to allow them to grow with proper support. Celebrate every milestone and prepare for the next.