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A Simple Guide To Develop Eating Skills for Toddlers

A Simple Guide To Develop Eating Skills for Toddlers

A Simple Guide To Develop Eating Skills for Toddlers

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During the first 6 months of life, all nutritional requirements can be fulfilled by breast milk. After the exclusive breastfeeding period, the nutritional requirements of the Little One can no longer be fulfilled by breast milk. Other than that, their oral motor abilities (basic skills pertaining to oral movements including the tongue, teeth, lips, and jaw) will continue to develop, and this will cause the Little One to show interest in other types of food aside from breast milk. To fulfill the nutritional requirements and support the growth and development process of the Little One, the provision of complementary food beginning at 6 months is very important. The provision of complementary food is done gradually, based on the type, quantity, frequency, texture, and consistency. This transition period occurs at the age of 6-23 months, which is a vulnerable period in their growth process because if the nutritional requirements are not fulfilled, malnutrition may occur and their growth and development process may be inhibited. To avoid confusion, the table below can guide parents to understand the developmental phases of the eating abilities of the Little One and what can be conducted to stimulate these:

AGE (MONTHS)

ORALΒ MOTOR DEVELOPMENT

GENERAL MOTORIC DEVELOPMENT

EATING ABILITIES

TEXTURE

FREQUENCY

6-9
  • Biting and chewing, upward and downward movement of the jaw
  • Swallowing with the mouth closed
  • Placing food between the upper and lower jaw
  • Sit alone or request assistance
  • Start using the thumb and index finger to point at objects
  • Able to eat puree, crushed, or minced food, and biscuits.
  • Able to eat with a spoon easily

Start with smooth porridge, soft, relatively thick, and proceed gradually to rougher food

Breast milk is provided 2-3 times per day as needed

Depending on their appetite, can be provided 1-2 times per day in between main meals

9-12

  • Tongue movements to the left and right, as well as circular movements
  • Begin to grasp the edge of a cup using their lips
  • Sit on their own
  • Holding a spoon on their own
  • Holding food and eating it
  • Able to consume soft and hard minced food
  • Attempt to eat with their own hands

Food that are soft minced or rough filtered, are increased to be rougher so that the food can be held or grasped using the hand

Breast milk is provided 3-4 times per day as needed

Depending on their appetite, can be provided 1-2 times per day in between main meals

12-23

Circular chewing movements, stable jaw

  • Walking
  • Standing
  • Able to consume family food
  • Able to eat on their own with assistance

Family food, either minced or filtered if necessary

Breast milk is provided 3-4 times per day as needed

Depending on their appetite, can be provided 1-2 times per day in between main meals

The above guide can be used to stimulate eating skills in the Little One based on their age. A successful provision of complementary food is when it is provided in accordance to the developmental phase of the Little One. Avoid pampering or underestimating their abilities. At the age of 9-12 months, the Little One is already ready to learn to eat by themselves. Other than training them to be more independent, this can also train their motoric abilities. In the provision of complementary food, there are four points that should not be missed:
  • Who. The eating session can influence the relationship between parents and their children. The Little One should learn that eating requires concentration. Therefore, when feeding the Little One, parents should ensure that their attention is focused on them.
  • When. Create an eating schedule so the Little One understands the concept of hunger. As much as possible, attempt to stick to the schedule. As a reference, parents can see the schedule below, which should be modified to the abilities and requirements of the Little One.

Time/Age

6-8 months

8-10 months

10-12 months

12-23 months

06.00

Breast milk

Breast milk

Breast milk

Breast milk

08.00

Milk porridge

Milk porridge

Whole steamed rice

Rice + family menu

10.00

Fruits

Fruits

Fruits-biscuits/milk porridge

Fruits-biscuits

12.00

Breast milk

Filtered/rough steamed rice

Whole steamed rice

Rice + family menu

14.00

Breast milk

Breast milk

Breast milk

Breast milk

16.00

Fruits

Biscuits

Fruits-biscuits/milk porridge

Fruits-biscuits

18.00

Filtered steamed rice

Filtered/rough steamed rice

Whole steamed rice

Rice + family menu

20.00

Breast milk

Breast milk

Breast milk

Breast milk

  • How. The children should eat in a sitting position. When feeding the Little One, teach them to open their mouth widely. This should be done while maintaining eye contact and communicating with the Little One. To do this, parents should ensure that their eyes are at the same level as the Little One.
  • Where. To encourage discipline, train the Little One to always eat in the dining room. Another benefit of the introduction of complementary food is to build healthy eating habits that will be beneficial for the growth and development of the Little One. So, parents should ensure that they do not miss this golden opportunity.

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