It’s a common assumption that children will just naturally eat without any issues, but the reality is more nuanced. The journey of feeding a child can present challenges that may not be immediately evident. Feeding issues often take root early in a child’s life and, if unaddressed, can progressively escalate over time.

From the very beginning, factors such as sensory sensitivities, oral-motor challenges, or difficulties with coordination during feeding can influence a child’s relationship with food. These challenges may start subtly, but without intervention, they can amplify as a child grows.

Recognizing and addressing feeding issues early is crucial for the overall well-being of the child. It involves understanding the intricacies of their sensory experiences, oral-motor skills, and the dynamics of their feeding environment. By fostering a holistic approach to feeding, we can pave the way for a child to develop a healthy and enjoyable relationship with food that positively impacts their growth and development throughout their lifetime.


Signs of a Potential Feeding Issue

Infant (0-4 months)

You should see:

  • Sucking
  • Suckling
  • Poor latch
  • Unable to drink from breast
  • Constantly pulling off
  • Unable to open mouth
  • Chomping
  • Clicking
  • Loss of milk at corners of mouth
  • Slow feeds
  • Refusal to eat
  • Vomiting

5-7 months

You should see:

  • Child is able to swallow pureed baby food
  • Moves food back in mouth
  • Cleans spoon on both sides
  • Closes lips to eat
  • Consistently choking
  • Refuses certain foods
  • Resists eating from a spoon
  • Food spills out of mouth at a fast rate
  • Leaves residue and food on spoon

8-9 months

You should see:

  • Moves food from teeth ridge to teeth ridge
  • Tongue moves like a wave horizontally
  • Child is eating soft mashed and meltable foods, e.g., cereal squares, puffs, lentil snaps, yogurt melts, freeze dried strawberries
  • Food gets stuck on roof of mouth
  • Does not munch on food; will suck on food and swallow whole
  • Digestive issues emerge
  • Can only use one side of mouth
  • Pocketing of food on one side of mouth
  • Turns spoon up to pour food in mouth

9-10 months

You should see:

  • Lateralize tongue to both sides,
  • Uses diagonal patterns for eating
  • Child can eat hard munchables, e.g., melon strips, dried mangos, hard biscuits
  • Pocketing increases
  • Scrapes food with teeth off of spoon
  • Uses hand to support jaw
  • Tilts head to move food
  • Will only use one type of spoon
  • Drinks from only one bottle, cup, etc.

10-11 months

You should see:

  • Munching patterns emerge
  • Uses circular movements to eat
  • Child can now eat soft cubes, e.g., soups, diced peach cups, canned vegetables, banana chunks, avocado chunks, small pieces of bread, muffins
  • Uses hand to push food in mouth
  • Uses hand to move food in mouth
  • Uses water/liquid to swallow foods
  • Picky eating begins

12 months  

You should see:

  • Uses all the skills previously learned
  • Child is now eating mixed textures and soft table foods, e.g., hashbrowns, cooked apples, canned tuna, sweet potato fries, lunchmeats, meatballs, steamed vegetables, fish sticks, mozzarella sticks, veggie burgers, cheese pizza, ravioli, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets
  • Gets creative in refusing foods
  • Systematically, in the next year, eliminates foods they cannot handle; attribute the issue with the food vs. a weakness, tightness, or coordination issue
  • Compensations continue to become more sophisticated
  • Will get up from table/wander
  • Use avoidance behaviors such as crying, whining, and tantrums


If you notice any of these indicators or signs of potential feeding issues in your child, we are here to help! Unfortunately, feeding challenges persist and tend to intensify, potentially leading to an increasingly restricted diet for the child. Reach out to us today, and together, we’ll guide you and your child toward a path of success and the joy of shared meals.

Give us a call to start your journey forward: (248) 939-4030

Our Space

Nestled in Farmington Hills, Michigan, our space exudes a homely ambiance, providing a welcoming contrast to a typical medical setting. Vibrant and inviting, our facility is designed to make children feel at ease and foster their well-being. The treatment rooms boast comfort and color, creating a pleasant environment. Additionally, our beloved play-based sensory room adds an element of excitement, making therapy sessions something children eagerly anticipate.

Learn More