First year feeding skill milestones

Here’s what you can expect from your baby’s first year feeding skill milestones

Feeding skills your baby will learn in their first year

The first year of weaning will be full of firsts, here’s what you can expect

First year weaning milestones 474

Quite often the only sure thing about feeding a child can be its unpredictability, but fortunately all children roughly figure it out and follow the same path through to becoming munching toddlers who can eat by themselves. Meanwhile, on the road to eventually eating by his or herself remain mindful that all babies develop these skills at their own pace.

During the later half of their first year it’s important to keep offering your baby more and more complex food textures. Some babies are more sensitive to different textures and will need more practice to accept them but don’t give up and go back to only smooth foods. So that they learn to manage having lumps in their mouth, continue to offer lumpy food and a variety of soft finger foods to encourage chewing, sucking and swallowing.

Developing your little ones eating skills is helped if you can desensitise them to a host of different textures. Plus, babies who are offered a limited range of foods can be more prone to fussiness.

The aim of the game is that by the age of 12 months your baby should be joining in family meals eating minced or chopped family foods as well as self-feeding firmer finger foods.  

It can be difficult to know when your baby is ready for new food experiences but there are 3 main phases to this journey;

1. Starting solids

Food textures to introduce:
Smooth foods, mashed foods, soft finger foods for sucking – and playing!

Feeding skills to learn:
Moving food from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing. Taking food from a spoon and after the first few weeks managing thicker purees and mashed food 

2. Around 7-9 months

Food textures to introduce:
Mashed foods with soft lumps 

Feeding skills to learn:
Moving lumps around the mouth, chewing lumps, self-feeding using a palmar grasp (a whole hand grasp). Plus, sipping liquids from a cup or lidded beaker

3. Around 9-12 months

Food textures to introduce:
Firmer Finger foods
Minced and chopped family foods 

Feeding skills to learn:
Chewing minced and chopped food, attempting self feeding with a spoon and self-feeding finger foods using finger and thumb ‘pincer’ grasp.

Even if the going feels a little gruelling at times, remember that your child will eventually learn to eat on his or her own - and above all focus on eating healthily, eating together and making mealtimes relaxed.

First year feeding skill milestones