Developmental Milestones for Feeding Therapy
Feeding therapy is a type of therapy that helps children who have difficulty eating. It can help children develop the skills they need to eat independently and safely.
There are a number of developmental milestones that children typically reach by certain ages. These milestones can vary from child to child, but they can provide a general guide for parents and caregivers. If a child is not meeting these milestones, it may be a sign of a feeding disorder.
Some of the key developmental milestones for feeding include:
- Birth to 6 months:
- Sucking and swallowing
- Rooting and gag reflex
- Opening mouth to take food
- 6 to 12 months:
- Chewing and swallowing solid foods
- Holding food in hands
- Using tongue to move food around mouth
- 12 to 18 months:
- Drinking from cup
- Eating a variety of foods
- Using utensils
- 18 to 24 months:
- Eating most foods offered
- Sitting at table for meals
- Following simple instructions about eating
- 24 to 36 months:
- Eating independently
- Enjoying mealtimes
- Trying new foods
If you are concerned that your child is not meeting these milestones, it is important to talk to your child’s pediatrician or a feeding therapist. They can assess your child’s development and recommend appropriate treatment if needed.
Feeding therapy can help children with a variety of feeding difficulties, including:
- Sensory processing disorder: This disorder can make it difficult for children to tolerate certain textures or tastes.
- Oromotor dysfunction: This disorder involves difficulty with the muscles and movements involved in eating.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This condition causes stomach acid to back up into the esophagus, which can cause pain and discomfort.
- Pica: This disorder involves eating non-food items.
Here are some tips for helping your child reach their feeding milestones:
- Offer a variety of foods. It’s important to expose your child to a variety of foods, even if they don’t seem interested at first.
- Be patient. It may take time for your child to learn to eat new foods. Don’t get discouraged if they don’t like something right away.
- Make mealtimes fun. Mealtimes should be a positive experience for your child. Make mealtimes fun and enjoyable by talking to them, singing songs, or reading stories.
- Don’t force your child to eat. Forcing your child to eat can make them more resistant to eating. Instead, offer them small amounts of food and let them decide how much they want to eat.