• Is developing oral-motor coordination to begin bottle or breast-feeding, including a suck-swallow rhythm

0 – 5 MONTHS

  • Takes nutrition primarily through breast milk or formula from a bottle
  • Begins to explore rattles and toys orally
  • Begins to bring hands to the mouth
  • Makes cooing and gurgling sounds during play
  • Cries in a manner that is purposeful and communicative

5 – 8 MONTHS

  • Begins accepting spoon feeding of semisolid foods, such as stage 1 or 2 jar foods or baby cereals
  • Sometimes displays munching pattern with thicker jar foods
  • Begins sitting in a high chair
  • Produces emerging babbling and sound play
  • Holds a bottle and tips it accordingly to receive liquid
  • Begins to use cup around 8 months with an adult holding the cup and tipping slowly

8 – 12 MONTHS

  • Begins to eat soft-solid foods and some first finger foods and to produce more noticeable up and down movement of the jaw during chewing
  • Picks up and puts to mouth foods such as Cheerios, soft vegetables cut into pieces, and small pieces of toast
  • Is becoming adept at closing lips on a spoon to clear the food off
  • Holds a spoon (will not necessarily feed himself, but will hold and experiment with his or her own spoon)
  • Begins eating cold and warm foods of varying temperatures
  • Tolerates massaging of gums
  • Produces increased drooling with emergence of teeth
  • Continues to mouth objects

12 – 15 MONTHS

  • Starts to hold the cup and take a few sips on his own
  • May begin drinking from a juice box with a straw
  • Blows on a simple and easy instruments or infant blow toys
  • Starts to hold the spoon and get it to his or her mouth with lots of mess
  • May be able to take a bite of a sandwich when it is held by an adult
  • May drool less, even with teeth emerging
  • May continue to mouth toys, but becomes more selective
  • Is introduced to the concept of toothbrushing


  • Is pretty independent with mealtime in terms of feeding self, using utensils, and drinking from a cup or straw
  • Should be able to request foods or choose foods when given options
  • May have favorite foods
  • Tolerates foods of all temperatures
  • Has vocabulary of at least 50 words and starts to put two words together
  • Imitates adult’s words and facial expressions

3 – 5 YEARS

  • Eats independently
  • Participates in mealtime routines at home and at school
  • Is willing to try new foods on a limited basis
  • Is able to blow bubbles and age-appropriate whistles and blow toys
  • Produces speech and language that is similar to that of an adult with occasional articulation, grammer, or syntax errors
  • Is able to imitate rapid oral-motor movements and up to three-syllable words
  • Is able to chew gum when taught in an appropriate manner
  • Brushes teeth independently