I took the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding with Dr. Kay Toomey in Denver, CO last month. The SOS Approach “is a trans-disciplinary program for assessing and treating children with feeding difficulties and weight/growth problems from birth to 18 years. It integrates posture, sensory, motor, behavioral/learning, medical and nutritional factors to comprehensively evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth problems.”

I am so excited to start incorporating some of the techniques I learned at that conference into my therapeutic approach. It also sparked my desire to do a four part series on feeding development. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!

Feeding is a complicated process that integrates many different body systems. In order to think about what typical feeding development is we need to break the development down into it’s component parts: motor milestones for feeding and posture, postural foundations, oral motor milestones, and the food continuum. Today I’ll cover motor milestones for feeding and posture.

Motor Milestones for Feeding and Posture*

What follows is a breakdown of motor milestones for feeding and posture. Remember, every child develops differently and what’s included below is a range. If you have questions about your child’s development, please contact Speech & Health in Lakewood, CO for a free screening.


Important Motor Milestones for Feeding and Posutre

2.5 – 3.5 months: Babies begin to gain control of their heads and may even be able to hold their own heads up for brief periods.

4 – 6 months: Babies begin to explore things orally, like their hands and maybe some toys.

6 – 7 months: Babies might be able to sit independently for 3-5 seconds at a time.

8 – 10 months: Now babies can rotate their trunks in either direction while sitting.

10-12 months: Babies can sit independently in various positions.

12-14 months: Your toddler (yup, toddler, already!) can grab a spoon with their whole hand.

14-16 months: Now your toddler is getting more efficient in feeding himself finger foods.

18-24 months: Your toddler can scoop purees with a spoon, and maybe even dip some foods.

24-36 months: Your toddler/preschooler uses his fingers to fill a spoon, is improving in using a fork, and is doing fairly well with open cup drinking.


Progression of Baby Foods

2.5 – 3.5 months: Some families choose to introduce baby foods at around this time.

4 – 6 months: Continued feeding or first introduction of baby foods.

6 – 7 months: Continued feeding or first introduction of baby foods.

8 – 10 months: Introduction of meltable solids.

10 – 12 months: Introduction of soft cubes, soft mechanicals, and open cup drinking.

12 – 14 months: Introduction of the use of utensils with parent assistance.

14 – 16 months: Your toddler continues to increase skill and refine the use of utensils and drinking from an open cup.

18 – 24 months: Continued refinement of utensil use and open cup drinking.

24 – 36 months: Continued refinement of utensil use, open cup drinking, and eating with more efficiency.


Come back next week for more information on what some of these terms mean.  What is a meltable solid anyway?


*This information was adapted from Dr. Kay Toomey’s SOS Approach to Feeding.


As always, you know your baby best. Please contact us if you’re concerned about your child’s hearing, speech, language, or feeding development.  We are always happy to help!