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A Timeline of Developmental Milestones in Eating

A Timeline of Developmental Milestones in Eating

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Right from the time of birth, babies undergo physiological and cognitive changes. These changes occur at stages depending on their exposure to different learning processes. During the different stages of development, infants acquire skills that last a lifetime.

Monday, June 25th, 2018

The acquisition of skills helps babies in all spheres of life. Physical developments consist of baby’s first attempt at walking, holding objects, discovering new movements. Cognitive development helps babies to understand a mother’s instructions and comprehend the different stimuli in its environment. Language skills develop when babies start imitating sounds they hear in the company of family members and people. 

All of the above activities are beneficial to an infant’s growth. One of initial processes that requires the uses of such skills is feeding and eating. You might have noticed the changing behaviour and habits of your infant during meal times as time progresses. We provide a timeline of these developmental stages that help you understand the changes occurring in your baby.

1. Feeding Skills at 4-6 months:

  •  Babies at this age have basic motor and cognitive skills.
  •  They can recognize objects like bottle, bowls, and spoons and use their hands to touch, pat objects near them.
  •  Babies of this age can co-ordinate sucking and swallowing.
  •  The sucking reflex is fully developed, making it easier to feed with a spoon.
  •  Babies, at this stage, can be fed in a semi-reclined position.
  •  Boiled food that is mashed and/or pureed can be fed to the infant.

2. Feeding Skills at 6-8 months:

  •  At this age, babies can hold bottles and objects on their own.
  •  They can also drink from a cup or a bowl when you hold it.
  •  You will also observe that the baby starts munching on food, using the tongue to move food morsels while eating.
  •  Babies start eating in a more upright position.
  •  Babies can eat mashed or pureed staple food like potatoes, carrots, fruits.

3. Feeding Skills at 9-12 months:

  •  Babies can also hold a spoon, bowl, and toys on their own with voluntary biting and chewing.
  •  12-month-old babies have a controlled and sustained bite and develop the ability to move food around the mouth.
  •  At about this time, babies can sit upright during meal times.
  •  You can introduce cooked vegetables and fruits that finely chopped or diced, and finger foods 

4. Feeding Skills at 12-18 months:

  •  Babies can drink from a cup or a bowl without assistance.
  •  Many times, you will notice that your baby tries to imitate adults by scooping a bowl with a spoon, bringing the spoon closer to the mouth and biting it.
  •  By this time, babies start eating regular staple food like chopped vegetables and meat.

5. Feeding Skills at 18-24 months:

  •  An 18-month-old can differentiate between food and non-food items.
  •  The habit of drinking from a bottle slowly diminishes.
  •  They can hold a cup or a bowl in their hands.
  •  Babies, at this age, generally tend to scoop food and feed themselves.
  •  Babies also develop food preferences and start playing with food and exploring food items with their fingers.

Babies’ developmental milestones allow you to introduce different eating habits in their feeding regimen. With these changes, you can prepare for the next major stage in feeding your infant: Self-Feeding.
 

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