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The Best Baby Teethers to Boost Self-Feeding Skills

Baby is 6 months old and ready for solid foods!! It’s time for introducing solid foods with purees, meltable solids like Healthy Times Organic Baby Teethers and soft, squishable whole foods like avocado, steamed squash and slices of soft fruits. Since babies are exploring new foods with their hands while learning to bring food up to their mouths, foods like these will offer safe practice for exploration with their lips, jaw and tongue and encourage confident, safe swallowing.

Here are three creative ways to use Healthy Times Organic Baby Teethers to boost self-feeding skills — they might surprise you!

1. Crumble them:

This tip comes in handy for busy, on-the-go parents! Start by crushing Healthy Times Organic Baby Teethers in a small, clear bag or reusable cloth bag designed for storing food. Drop strips of soft avocado — or another soft, squishable whole food — into the bag and let baby help you shake it to coat the slippery food.

The crumbs will make it that much easier for your baby to pick up and explore with her hands and mouth, plus the added taste and texture will provide tactile input for her sensory system. Learning to enjoy all kinds of foods isn’t just about flavor — it’s also about creating sensory experiences, and texture is one way to do that.

You can also sprinkle crumbs on top of puree for added texture and encourage baby to use her finger, a spoon or even a fresh teether to feed herself. By adding teether crumbs to your baby’s puree, you’ll be introducing texture that also melts away as baby manipulates the puree with her tongue, lips and jaw. For babies who are just learning to self-feed and learn to chew, start with crumbs that are consistent in size, avoiding any random, larger pieces, so that your baby can manage the new texture easily.

No-Mess Teethers, Irresistible ShapeLearn More

2. Dip them:

Dip the end of the teether in your baby’s favorite puree to start the dissolving process and to add a new flavor and texture. When feeding your little one, always sit face to face, making it easier for her to watch how you eat.

Show her how to grasp the end of the teether, which is slightly curved for baby’s little hand to grab and hold, and put the other end directly on your first molar, demonstrating how you crunch on the sides of your mouth. Baby may not have teeth there yet, but the meltable teether will begin to crumble between her gums as she practices her first up-and-down bite and chew on her path to eating solid foods.

Babies start chewing with a “munching” motion before mastering a rotary chew by age 2. By encouraging placement on the gums, you teach baby to break up the pieces, use her tongue to keep the pieces on her gum line and then move the chewed pieces onto the center of her tongue for swallowing. This method will also help to reduce uncomfortable gagging, which most commonly occurs when baby gets a small piece of food stuck on her tongue. In addition, the extra moisture of the “dip” will help baby swallow comfortably.

3. Chop them:

Break Healthy Times Organic Baby Teethers into pea-sized chunks to help develop baby’s pincer grasp. Babies first use a raking motion with all their fingers and their thumb to gather and move food into little fists. To encourage baby to use her index finger and her thumb, place just a single piece of the teether on her plate, table or high chair tray. You’ll notice that she will work to pick up the small piece. The uneven shape and ridged texture of the Healthy Times teether will make it easier to grasp than round, smooth or flat cereal or crackers. This is a good first-step as she learns to eat finger foods.

At 6 months of age, babies begin to grasp pieces of food with the raking motion. By 8 months, an immature thumb-forefinger grasp will begin to emerge. It’s exciting to watch baby’s immature grasp develop as she learns to pick up the tiniest pieces of food, using the tip of her thumb and forefinger by 12 months of age with precision! 

Healthy Times Baby Teethers are an ideal snack for babies and toddlers because they contain organic ingredients like pea protein and quinoa to help kids stay satisfied in the car, at restaurants, during playdates and when family members are caring for baby. Learning to chew and swallow all kinds of food takes time, but there are so many opportunities in baby’s day to practice self-feeding and to enjoy the journey together.


About the Author: Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, is an international speaker on the topic of feeding babies, toddlers and school-age kids. She is the co-author of the award-winning Raising a Healthy Happy Eater: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating (2015) and Baby Self-Feeding: Solutions for Introducing Purees and Solids to Create Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits (2016). The tips in her latest book, Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables with 100 Easy Activities and Recipes (2018) are based on the latest research and Melanie’s 20 years of success as a pediatric feeding therapist. Melanie’s advice has been shared in a variety of television and print media, including The New York Times, CNN.com, Huffington Post and Parents Magazine. Visit her at www.MelaniePotock.com for more articles, professional tips, and helpful videos to raise your adventurous eater!

DISCLAIMER

The content provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not recommended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical questions or concerns. See additional information.