Welcome to part 4 of our 4 part series on feeding!
Have you ever wondered how your baby should be seated when feeding? Especially when you first introduce solids and they can’t yet sit up on their own? Well, you’ve come to the right place! But first, let’s discuss why posture is so important for feeding.
Why is Posture Important?*
Your body has priorities – breathing is number 1, maintaining a stable posture is number 2, and eating is number 3. If your baby feels supported and they don’t have to focus so much on maintaining posture during meals, it frees up their developing brains to focus on the food. Good postural support also provides them with security, better fine motor coordination (moving their hand to their mouth, for example), and better range of motion in their jaw. On top of all of that, good posture supports breathing too, which brings us back to the body’s first priority.
Postural Recommendations Based on Age
- From about 6 months to 8 or 9 months you can feed your baby in an infant feeding chair or reclining seat.
- At around 8-9 months to 14-16 months you can move your baby to a high chair where they can sit in an upright position.
- Remember the 90 – 90 – 90 rule when looking for a good high chair. Your baby should have a 90-degree angle at their hips, a 90-degree angle at their knee, and a 90-degree angle at their ankles.
- From 14-16 months on you can move your baby’s high chair to the family table and remove the table from their high chair. (The table on the high chair perpetuates throwing food.)
What Things Can I Try to Help My Baby Keep Good Posture During Meals?
If your baby is having a hard time staying upright during meals, try these things:
- No-skid mat under your baby’s bottom (like the ones you might line your drawers and shelves with). Click here for an example.
- Make sure your baby has a footrest so that there is a 90-degree angle at the ankles.
- Add side supports if necessary. I used old couch pillows with my oldest son, Surya.
- The surface of the tray table should be between your baby’s belly button and breast.
- Your baby’s knees should be over the edge of the seat chair.
If you have any concerns about your child’s speech, language, hearing, or feeding development, please get touch with us. We offer free screenings and are located in the Green Mountain area of beautiful Lakewood, Colorado.
Stay tuned next week for a bonus post where we’ll provide more information regarding reflexes and definitions for some feeding vocabulary introduced in our What Are Typical Oral Motor Milestones? post.
*This information was adapted from Dr. Kay Toomey’s SOS Approach to Feeding.