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Eating and drinking

What aids are available for eating and drinking? In speech therapy practice, special spoons or cups are often used to enable patients to participate in the important act of eating. Click through our range - all products have been developed by experts and have already been tested and approved by a large number of families.

How does my baby learn to eat properly? 

When a child is born as a mature baby, it is equipped with natural reflexes to take in food. As an infant, it is, as the name suggests, either breast milk from the breast or bottle or infant formula from the bottle. According to many specialist sources, breastfeeding serves as the "first orthodontic treatment", provided the baby is latched on correctly and there are no anatomical restrictions (e.g. cleft lip and palate or restrictive tongue tie or others). The baby should take as much breast as possible into its mouth, which also means that the baby must open its jaw wide in order to dock properly. A breastfeeding preparation course is recommended in any case, and breastfeeding advice can also ease any uncertainties or help with difficulties. 

When should you start letting your baby eat with their hands? 

In principle, it is difficult to give a general age indication - we recommend sticking to the WHO guidelines for the time being, which state: 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding thereafter (taking into account complementary food maturity), introduction of suitable complementary foods and continued breastfeeding up to the age of 2 years and beyond, as long as mother and child want it. 
Eating with the hands fulfills a very important purpose: exploring and getting to know the textures and foods on offer. 

What are the signs that the baby is ready for complementary food? 

The signs of being ready to eat are 
  • the baby can sit upright independently, possibly with slight support in the lower back 
  • the baby can hold its head independently 
  • the baby can grasp food independently and bring it to the mouth (hand - mouth - eye coordination) 
  • the tongue thrust reflex has largely disappeared/integrated 
  • the baby shows movements of the jaw 

Just as in motor development, there are also developmental steps relating to the mouth. In order for a baby to learn to sit up, it is important for them to lie on their stomach (tummy time) and to have sufficient daily opportunities to train and perform age-appropriate movements. It is not advisable to "keep" the baby in infant carriers or baby bouncers for a longer period of time. There are not enough opportunities to build up muscles, learn movements and integrate reflexes. When learning to eat, it is therefore also important to offer age-appropriate food to give the muscles enough opportunities to be trained
From an orofacial myofunctional point of view, we advise against exclusively feeding purreed foods. Purree can be sucked off the spoon and no longer needs to be moved in the mouth before it is swallowed. Learning the sideways movements of the tongue and also the movements of the jaw are extremely important milestones in order to avoid abnormalities later on. 

Which utensils are suitable for my baby to start complementary feeding? 

In our store you will find various spoons and other options for training the muscles in an age-appropriate way. For example, the Prospoon from Ark Therapeutic was specially developed by an American speech therapist to offer food and encourage independent eating. In this category you will find spoons that are suitable for babies and also teething rings that can be used to pick up food. The P-Tube Grabber has a hollow extension so that porridge, puree or vegetable sticks can be offered in an age-appropriate way and the muscles are trained through the increased muscle activity. 3 different degrees of hardness also make it possible to increase the required muscle activity - standard, as the softest version, is suitable for beginners. 

Which cups are suitable for my baby? 

From a myofunctional point of view, open cups are recommended. You are also welcome to use existing utensils. There is nothing to stop you using a shot glass or an egg cup to offer water, for example. At the beginning, your baby will only need very little water, if any at all. Again, follow the WHO recommendation. As a second best option, so to speak, straws are also suitable for your baby's fluid intake. The popular Bear bottle comes with a LipBlok (also available separately), which prevents the straw from being inserted too deeply. The use of sippy cups is not recommended from a myofunctional point of view. The hard mouthpiece is often far too large and prevents the natural movement of the tongue to the palate. Straw cups or open cups should be preferred to sippy cups. Cups that can only be drunk from by biting or other movements should not be used.