Pediatric Feeding Milestones

Feeding ability varies from child to child, however most follow a general progression with defined feeding milestones. Learn the important stages of feeding by clicking on the tabs.

Feeding Milestones Ages 0 to 5 Months

Feeding Milestones for Ages 0 to 5 Months

  • Should swallow liquids but will push most solid objects from mouth due to the following reflexes:
    • Rooting reflex – baby should to seek out and grasp breast or bottle nipple.
    • Suck and swallow reflex – baby should begin suckling or sucking movements when lips are touched and his or her tongue should be moving liquid to back of the mouth for swallowing.
    • Tongue thrust reflex – Baby’s tongue will move out of the mouth to allow feeding from a breast or bottle, but this will inhibit taking in food from spoon or cup.
    • Gag reflex – Baby will quickly move an object, like a spoon or solid food, forward out of back of mouth.
  • Baby should have a diet that consists of breast milk and / or infant formula with iron.
  • Baby can close lips to seal mouth

Feeding Milestone Ages 4 to 6 Months

Feeding Milestones for Ages 4 to 6 Months

  • Gag reflexes should diminish.
  • Tongue thrust and rooting reflexes should subside.
  • Should be able to take food into the mouth from a spoon.
  • Should be able to move his or her tongue up and down.
  • Should be able to sit up with your help.
  • Should start using his or her lips to draw in food off of a spoon.
  • Should swallow semi-solid food like infant cereal, strained fruit and strained vegetables.
  • Should start up and down munching.
  • Should open his or her mouth when you hold up a spoon.
  • May drink from a cup with help, but expect some spilling.

Feeding Milestones Ages 5 to 9 Months

Feeding Milestones for Ages 5 to 9 Months

  • Your baby will be able to control the position of food in the mouth to position food between jaws for chewing.
  • Your baby will be able to munch food.
  • Your baby will begin to eat mashed food.
  • Your baby will be able to eat from a spoon very easily.
  • Your baby will begin to eat food with his or her hands.

Feeding Milestones Ages 10 to 12 Months

Feeding Milestones for Ages 10 to 12 Months

  • Should be able to move food from side to side in mouth.
  • Should begin to curve lips around the rim of a cup.
  • Should begin to chew in a circular manner.
  • Should be able to eat finely chopped food.
  • Should be able to eat small pieces of soft food
  • Will start to use a spoon but will often opt to self feed with his or her hands
  • Should be able to drink from a cup with little spilling.
  • Diet will consist of diced soft fruit or vegetables, strained meat or poultry, cottage cheese, yogurt, soft cheese, soft bread and crackers, breast milk, iron-fortified formula or fruit juice.

Feeding Milestones Ages 12 to 18 Months

Feeding Milestones for Ages 12 to 18 Months

  • Should be able to use a spoon proficiently
  • Should be able to feed him or herself quietly.
  • Should be able to bite through harder foods if teeth are present.
  • You can introduce whole milk and eggs into the diet.

Feeding Milestones Ages 18 to 24 Months

Feeding Milestones for Ages 18 to 24 Months

  • Should be able to chew and eat most foods, but you should still cut up food into small non-circular pieces that pose a choking hazzard, like hot dogs.
  • Should be able to eat with mouth closed.
  • Should be able to drink from a cup proficiently without spilling too often.

Feeding Milestone Ages 24 to 36 Months

Feeding Milestones for Ages 24 to 36 Months

  • Your kid should be able to enjoy almost all foods.
  • Your kid should be able to help you cook and clean up too.

Click here for important Speech and Language Milestones.