Eating and Drinking Skills Between 12 – 18 Months

Socially and nutritionally it is important that your child develop good eating and drinking skills.  Early on when your child is first trying foods you need to offer a variety.  Do not accept that they will only eat a few varieties.  You need to be sure to offer sweet, sour and tangy foods.  Offer a variety of textures (chewy, crunchy, liquid) and food with different levels of difficulty to eat.  You do not want to develop a picky eater!

Early on your child is developing food skills that will effect them socially.  Imagine going to a birthday party and not liking pizza.  Or attending a baseball game and you won’t eat a hot dog.  Maybe your child refuses to eat popcorn at the movies.  Obviously, in today’s world there are other choices to eat but your child is missing out on enjoying varieties of food.  Sleepovers can become awkward when there are limits on food choices.  Do your best to encourage your child to like a large variety of foods.

Review the below list of skills and compare to your child’s skill level when eating.

Between 12-18 months, your child will:

·       Eat ground, mashed, or chopped table foods (including soft pieces of meat) by 15 months

·       Use her tongue well to move food from side to side in the mouth

·       Lose a bit of food or saliva out of the mouth while chewing

·       Bite foods well

·       Eat coarsely chopped table foods, including meats and raw vegetables by 18 months

·       Sometimes chew with lips closed

·       Drink from a cup well without losing liquid out of her mouth by 18 months

·       Feed herself using a spoon, dropping some food off the spoon

·       Start to refuse some foods

How did your child do?  If your child needs some experience trying to improve a few of the skills above, work on encouraging those skills for about 2 months.  If you find your child is not improving, ask your pediatrician for some help.  At ABC, Speech Therapists and Occupational Therapists can help your child.  Visit for more information.

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Developmental Checklist

Is your child meeting their developmental milestones?