What are the feeding/swallowing milestones and when should my child reach them?

Oral motor developmental milestones are ones specifically related to feeding and eating. At birth we see a child open its mouth to suck, and the tongue moves in and out in preparation for breast/bottle feeding. We also can see strong taste preferences learned from the taste of milk feeds. At 6 months the gag response declines as the mouth becomes more used to the feel of food, and the introduction of lumpy foods begin. The child will be able to move food side to side, with some food spilling out the front. We will also see the child start to hold food and bring food to their mouth with their hands. From 6-9 months we see teeth begin to develop, and now the child can chew softer lumps while keeping most food in the mouth. They will accept spoon feeding, and can suck liquids from a cup. From 9-12 months the child will progress to thicker, more textured foods, and chewing matures to more side to side movements rather than up and down. We will also see more self-feeding with a spoon, and the transition from bottle to drinking from an open cup. This is when taste preferences are learned and a wide variety of foods are introduced. From 12-24 months the child can eat most textures offered, and will have developed more preferences to tastes. Most infants will feed themselves with a spoon, and oral movements are more precise. From 24-36 months the child can cope with most foods offered as part of a family meal. They can hold a cup without spilling, use a fork, and eat a wide range of foods. It is also crucial to look at motor, cognitive, and social developmental milestones when evaluating feeding. Deficits in any of these areas can be connected with problems when eating, and it is always great to look at the child’s overall development, not just their oral-motor skills.

Below is a good resource for all of these developmental milestones in detail. https://infantandtoddlerforum.org/media/upload/pdf-downloads/3.5_Developmental_Stages_in_Infant_and_Toddler_Feeding_NEW.pdf

Want to know how a Speech Therapist can Help?

Schedule your infant, child, and teen for an evaluation today and see how a therapist can help your family.
Call (828) 398 0043 or click on the schedule button.

Post navigation