Infant Milestones

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Eating and Drinking

Eating & Drinking (sucking, drinking, eating solid foods)

Below are some of the typical milestones to expect as your child grows, followed by some red flags that might indicate a problem.


By 1 month of age, your child will:

  • Have a rooting reflex where he will turn towards the breast or bottle when the side of his mouth is stroked
  • Have a suck and swallow reflex where she will open her mouth wide enough to latch onto the breast or bottle
  • Bring her hands to her mouth by 2 months


By 3-4 months of age, your child will:

  • Sucking, swallowing, and breathing are well-coordinated

By 5-6 months, your child will:

  • Start to pat the bottle or breast with her hands during feeding
  • Start to eat small amounts of mashed food
  • Start to suck on or bite on a baby cookie
  • Use some up and down chewing movements

By 7-8 months, your child will:

  • Eat ground or junior baby foods
  • Try to drink from a cup held for him, but may lose a lot of liquid, may take large mouthfuls of liquid and cough/choke
  • Move his tongue up and down, and to the side when chewing food
  • Mouth and munch on the spoon, toys, and baby biscuits
  • Hold his own bottle

Between 9-12 months, your child will:

  • Take longer sequences of sucks with cup drinking, but may still have trouble coordinating drinking and breathing
  • Move her jaw and tongue a lot when chewing and moving food around in her mouth
  • Start to feed himself finger foods
  • Start to hold a spoon during meals, but may not feed herself with it yet
  • Bite and chew foods by himself

Red Flags for Eating and Drinking Problems

If your child is showing some of the following signs, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor or another health professional, such as an Infant Development Consultant, speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, dietician or public health nurse.

  • Arching or stiffening of the body during feeding
  • Coughing or choking during feeding
  • Being very irritable/fussy during or after feeding
  • Taking a really long time to feed (more than 30-45 minutes)
  • Frequent spitting up
  • Getting sick often with pneumonia or chest infections
  • Gurgly, hoarse, or breathy voice
  • Less than normal weight gain or growth
  • Lots of leakage of food or liquid from the mouth
  • Coughing, gagging or throwing up during or after meals
  • Stuffing mouth with food
  • Holding food inside pockets in mouth for long periods
  • Difficulty accepting new textures of food, avoidance behaviours to specific foods and textures (gagging, vomiting, blocking the spoon with hands or closed lips, crying, pushing food away, etc.)
  • Abnormal bowel movements that last longer than a few days (diarrhea, constipation, loose stool)
  • Skin reactions to foods (dry patches, hives, rashes) Note: If your child seems to be having a severe allergic reaction to a food (difficulty breathing, turning red, developing hives or rash on the face/chest), you should seek medical help immediately.
If you have concerns about your child, please feel free to contact us to speak to a professional. You can also make a referral to our program at anytime.