1-3 months: Typically a child’s lips are able to form a tight seal around the nipple. Sucking and swallowing should be rhythmical and coordinated.
6 months: A child is able to accept and swallow pureed foods presented by spoon. Children enjoy mouthing toys and teething biscuits.
9 months: A child can use the upper lip to remove food from the spoon. Mashed table foods can be introduced at this time.
12 months: A child can bite and munch a soft cookie. Children typically tolerate soft finger foods and mashed table foods at this age.
18 months: A child can drink from a cup with assistance, but experiences some liquid loss from the cup. Children experiment with a variety of tastes and textures at this age.
24 months: A child can chew most table foods easily. At this age, children typically tolerate all food textures, but do show food preferences. Children can drink well from a cup or straw.
Parents and caregivers are typically the first to notice when a child has difficulty with feeding and/or swallowing. Because these challenges can result in malnutrition, dehydration and respiratory problems if left untreated, parents need to recognize symptoms of a feeding disorder.
These symptoms can include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Failure to thrive
- Oral motor difficulties
- Difficulty with solid foods or table foods (i.e. gagging, spitting out, vomiting)
- Children fed via tube (i.e. G-Tube, NGT, OGT)
- Behavioral feeding difficulties
- Feeding/Swallowing difficulties secondary to neurological impairment
- Difficulty sucking
- Picky eaters
- Coughing or choking with feeding
- Recurrent respiratory infections
- Changes in breathing patterns with oral feeding
- Hyper/Hypo sensitivity