Feeding at a Glance: Birth to 24 Months (source: www.asddrsears.com)


Food Sequence

Food Presentation

Developmental Skills, Implications for Feeding

Birth to 6 months

Breastmilk and/or iron-fortified formula satisfies all nutritional requirements. Solid foods not nutritionally needed, but infant may want

Breast and/or bottle

Designed to suck, not chew
Rooting reflex; searches for food source
Tongue-thrust reflex pushes out solid foods
Sensitive gag reflex

6 months

Starter foods:
California avocados, bananas, pears, applesauce

Strained, pureed Fingertipful Spoonful

Tongue-thrust and gag reflexes lessen; accepts solids Sits erect in high chair Begins teething

7 to 9 months

Wilk salmon, California avocados, mashed potatoes, peaches, barley cereal, carrots, squash, teething biscuits, pear and apple juice

May drink from cup
Finger foods begin
Pureed and mashed foods

Holds bottle
Thumb-and-forefinger pickup begins
Fascination with tiny food morsels
Begins mouthing chokable food and objects (parents beware!)
Bangs, drops, flings
Reaches for food and utensils
Munches food

9 to 12 months

lamb, veal, tofu, poultry, noodles, bagel, beans, rice cakes, peas, egg yolk, yams, cheese, oatmeal, yogurt

Lumpier consistency
Finger foods mastered
Bite-sized, cooked vegetables
Melt-in-mouth foods
Holds trainer cup

Self-feeding skills improve
Holds bottle and cup longer
Points and pokes, smears, enjoys mess
High-chair gymnastics increase
Tries to use utensils, spills most

12 to 18 months

whole milk, papaya, cottage cheese, apricots, ice cream, grapefruit, whole eggs, grape halves, beef, strawberries, tomatoes, fish (salmon, tuna), pasta, graham crackers, broccoli, wheat cereal, spinach, honey, cauliflower, pancakes, melon, muffins, mango, kiwi

Participates in family meals
Eats chopped and mashed family foods
Begins self-feeding with utensils

Has prolonged attention span
“Do it myself” desire intensifies
Tilts cup and head while drinking, spills less
Holds spoon better, still spills much
Begins walking – doesn’t want to sit still and eat
Picks at others’ plates

18 to 24 months

Eats toddler portions of sandwiches, stews, nutritious puddings, sauces, smoothies, shakes, pate, dips, toppings, spreads, soups
Toddler food “language:” avocado boats, cooked carrot wheels, cheese blocks, broccoli trees, o-shaped cereal, toast sticks, cookie-cutter cheese melts, sailboat salads, peanut butter

Grazes – deserves title “picky eater”
Nibble tray
Weans from bottle
Uses spoon and fork

Molars appear – begins rotary chewing
Spoon-feeds self without spilling much
Learns food talk, signals for “more,” “all done”
Wants to eat on the run—needs creative feeding to hold attention at table
Has erratic feeding habits