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Melanie Potock
BY Melanie Potock

3 Simple Products for Helping Baby Learn to Eat

Perhaps you have an infant in your arms and are wondering about next steps for learning to eat solids? As a pediatric feeding therapist, here are some of my favorite tools to get started!

1. Find your seat!

gracoWhether it be feeding purees or that first crunchy bite of apple, safe swallowing is directly related to being properly positioned in a feeding chair. The Graco™ Blossum 4-in-1 seating system can be used as a high chair, as an infant feeding booster, as a toddler booster or as a youth chair for kids up to 60 lbs.

Once your child is sitting up independently,  be sure to position them upright, with a slight forward tilt to their hipbones (not slumped backward) and feet flat on a footrest.  The Blossum system has an adjustable footrest for growing kids, just for this purpose.

Note: When using the booster seat with preschoolers, be sure to position the backrest so your child’s knees fold at a 90 degree angle and now, add your own footrest.  A sturdy stool under foot does the trick and keeps kids from wiggling at the table.   Another favorite is the Keekaroo Chair at Keekaroo.com, which holds up to 250 lbs. and provides excellent positioning for children approximately 9 months and up plus has a variety of seating accessories to fit every need.

2. Gimme’ Somethin’ to CHEW!

ARK GrabberWhile teethers in the baby aisle are terrific, feeding therapists know a secret place to find some of the best chewies: ARK Therapeutic  Services.  Ark’s Grabber® is a smooth or textured P-shaped chewy appropriate for an infant who has mastered holding a toy and mouthing it.

Babies explore the world via their hands and their mouths.  Textured mouth toys teach them that they can tolerate all types of textures before they progress through smooth purees, then chopped purees and even more solid foods.   F

or children with special needs, your child’s therapist will demonstrate how to progress through the softest to the chewiest Grabber® to help build oral motor strength for chewing.

3. NumNum™

num numThis little dipper teaches the first step to spoon feeding: dipping! The short handle and flat dipper-tip creates the perfect “first” utensil – easy to grab and simple to maneuver into the mouth.    Once your child masters dipping, try graduating to the spoon.

In my next post, we’ll chat about your toddler and discover tools for learning how to scoop with a spoon and more!

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Melanie Potock

Written on May 20, 2014 by:

Feeding specialist Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP and pediatrician Dr. Nimali Fernando are the co-authors of the award-winning book, Raising a Healthy Happy Eater: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating. Melanie in an international speaker, training OTs, RDs and SLPs in feeding therapy and offering parent presentations to the special needs community. Dr. Fernando (Dr. Yum) and Melanie (Coach Mel) joined forces to create the Doctor Yum Preschool Food Adventure as part of The Doctor Yum Project, a non-profit focused on helping families create a culture of wellness in their communities. Dr. Yum gives our more recipes than prescriptions - she's your pediatrician in the kitchen! Together, they created the website www.parentinginthekitchen.com, the new go-to resource for parents who want to learn how to raise adventurous eaters, even if they have a child who is hesitant to try new foods. Their 5 hour video course, The Picky Eater Course, is specifically designed for both parents and professionals who want to truly understand how children become courageous, joyful eaters and learn to love healthy foods!
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