When Should Your Child Be Feeding Him/Herself?

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Happy Wellness Wednesday, Ladies!

What a fabulous week here at Blossoming Mommy and Baby! With the OFFICIAL launch of Grounded and Glowing, we are MOVED beyond words by your continual desire to grow, learn, and truly BLOSSOM as a woman and mother.

With that being said, many of you (past graduates of our pregnancy prep program, especially!) have requested a guide on when your child(ren) should be feeding him/herself.

The occupational therapist in me is SO excited to answer this question for you! I want you to take notes and of course…everything with a grain of salt, my dear- as each child and developmental processes will be unique per child.

For now, kick back, relax, and enjoy this audio blog on all things children and eating! Tune into episode 93 HERE and don’t forget to download and to share with a girlfriend who has young kiddos of her own! For your convenience, I have also included a written portion to today’s show below. ENJOY 

Be sure to download and subscribe to the Blossoming Mommy and Baby Show on your podcast app for bi-weekly updates right to your phone!


Okay, ladies! Great questions submitted this week! Let’s jump in to today’s lesson on all things children and feeding, shall we?

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As an occupational therapist, I work with children and adults of all ages. Likewise, feeding is definitely  a skill that falls within our scope of practice. As a general disclaimer and rule of thumb, my advice and this article/podcast should NEVER take place over your medical provider, your occupational therapist, or other health care professionals working close with you and your children.

Today, we’ll be covering three main topics:

  1. The major milestones of self-feeding

  2. Tips + Tricks for encouraging success

  3. Product Recommendations

Topic #1: The major milestones of self-feeding

Okay, Mommas! Here is my quick cheat sheet for typical developmental milestones in regards to self-feeding and your little. Remember, this is just a general outline. Some littles fall on either side of this developmental checklist. AND the best advice I can give you should you have any concerns is to be in close communication with your doctor and occupational therapist!

  • 0-3 months: Oral reflexes (Suck/Swallow/Rooting) are prominent! During this stage, your infant should also be developing more hand to mouth movement . Typical development: Bottle Fed. Nipple Feeding.

  • 4-6 months: During this period, your infant should be brining his/her hands to midline more frequently. Yes, this means he/she should be able to hold that soothing bottle at midline now! Additionally, your little may be interested in exploring with different cereals and purees (spoon fed) and will present with more head and neck control. Sigh…. yes, your little is GROWING!! 

  • 6-9 months: Okay Mommas… it’s TRUE. Little bean is growing and getting more strength and control with his/her fine motor skills, visual motor skills, oral motor skills, and trunk. You may even notice your little sprout sitting up straighter! During this stage, closure of the mouth over the spoon and finger feeding (pincer grasp) begins!

  • 10-12 months: Increased interest with a variety of foods, including mashed and thicker food items! Your little may also begin to explore more with cup drinking (with assistance) and progressed finger feeding of table foods! The olfactory system (smell) also begins to really kick in here, Mommas!

  • 13 months + : Independence has arrived. Over 12 months, your little should be grasping utensils, bottles/cups, and more! Continued progression with independence and refined skills is expected.

Topic #2: Tips + Tricks for encouraging success

  • Give them time and opportunity to practice these skills! (Remember, don’t rush these precious moments)

  • Watch for allergies or reactions to newly introduced foods

  • Hold small foods (if age appropriate) to facilitate pincer grasp (which is a precursor to fine motor skills!) from your child! Great ideas include: puffsmeltables, squeeze pouches

  • Get a stay-dry bibs and be OKAY with the mess 

  • Praise, Praise, Praise positive and effort from your child!

Topic #3: Product Recommendations

Mommas, what did you learn today? Are you inspired? So proud of you and excited to watch your little truly BLOSSOM! Please share this article with a friend if you found it helpful and be sure to tune into the audio version on the blossom to be fit show (podcast app).

Listen in to Episode 93 HERE!

XOXO,

Jennifer