Feeding and Swallowing Clinic

What Should Children Eat and When?

From birth to 6 months of age

       
  • Breastmilk
  • Infant formula
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From 6 months to 1 year:

  • Breastmilk
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  • Solid foods: strained fruits, vegetables, cereals, meats
  • No cow's milk or egg whites till after 1 year.
  • No nuts till after 1 year (or later, if family history of allergies).

There are no nutritional advantages but there ARE  disadvantages to introducing foods earlier than 4 month of age.

Readiness for Solid Foods:

       
  • Can sit unsupported.
  • Physically able to suck food from a spoon without pushing it back out with the tongue.
  • Reaches for food, shows interest in food.
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What About Developmentally Delayed Children?

       
  • Introduction of solids may be delayed until they develop the above supporting skills.
  • Children who cannot sit unsupported will need custom seating systems to hold them upright during eating.
  • Children who cannot control head and neck movements, or cannot coordinate the muscles of the mouth may be limited to liquids or alternate forms of feeding (G and J tubes).
  • Some children will be able to eat pureed foods but will not develop biting and chewing skills.
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  • Children with brain damage or certain diagnoses may be at higher risk for choking and aspirating food. These children mayl need alternate forms of feeding.
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The Window of Opportunity

The window of oral-motor development closes around 10-12 months of age. If an infant is not introduced to oral eating or oral stimulation by this age, introducing oral eating later on will be extremely difficult.