Building eating skills and coordination

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  • Capable of sitting independently.
  • Picks up and holds small objects in his hands.
  • Shows excitement when he sees food, often reaching for the spoon.
  • Spoon-feeding provides experience coordinating lips, tongue and cheeks for eating.
  • Advancing motor skills and hand-eye coordination build his independence.
  • More variety in the diet exposes baby to new flavors and textures.

At about six months, your baby is sitting in a high chair with pretty good control over his head and body. He’s developing his grasp, and is now able to pick up and hold small objects in his hand. As he’s being fed, your baby will show excitement when he sees food and will often try grabbing for the spoon. These improved motor skills are giving him a greater sense of independence.

Lips are a wonderful tool
His eating skills are also making big strides. Spoon-feeding allows him to practice coordinating his lips, tongue and cheeks so he can eat. Moving his lips may sound simple, but it’s an important skill your baby needs to eat cereal and baby food. Figuring out how to close his lips around the spoon then using them to clear food off the utensil is a big job. With his lips and jaw working hard, drinking from a cup held by Mom is also a new experience for him. You’ll also see him starting to move his jaw up and down. This is called “mashing,” and it’s his first step toward learning how to chew.

Variety is important
While your baby’s main source of nutrition is still breastmilk or infant formula at this stage, your Sitter may be ready for combinations of grain, fruit, vegetable, and meat baby foods. Offering variety is important because it exposes him to different flavors that will hopefully make him more accepting of new foods in the future. The groundwork for healthy eating habits is being laid down now as he learns about new foods and flavors.

Did you know?

Mashing is a term used to describe your baby’s beginning up and down jaw movement.

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