Although six-month-olds lack a complete collection of teeth, they can chew and swallow real food. Having your kid mindful of the back molar space where their teeth will finally explode is the key to helping them learn to chew effectively.
Learn how your baby's mouth works to chew food comfortably, common errors parents make while spoon-feeding, and how you can help your infant be a more independent eater!
Your main priority: Tongue Lateralization.
First of all, when children learn how to chew, we as specialists are concerned with tongue lateralization. In layman's terms, this refers to a baby's ability to move their tongue side to side. You see, when we chew, we naturally guide food to either side of our mouths so that we can chew with our teeth!
To help encourage this, especially during spoon-feeding, take a hand-over-hand method & guide the spoon to either side of their mouth when feeding! Guiding the food to the side also encourages babies to chew with the back molars. Chewing with the back molars can help develop a baby's jaw strength and prep them for feeding on more solid foods in the future.
Teaching Back Molar Chewing with Sensory Stimuli
To reach the back molars, use teethers long in nature such as a Lil' Foodie Chew Teether Tube. From a gross motor standpoint as well, teethers train the overall motion of bringing food to one's mouth in babies. In addition, babies may lack the tongue motor coordination to guide food to their molars, so providing long teethers can easily reach these areas in a baby's mouth.
Using sensory teethers is such an easy way to train chewing in babies and toddlers, especially within the 6-month range. The sensory textures on Teether Tubes like Lil' Foodie Chews provide the stimuli to help them map their mouths out from a sensory standpoint.
Most importantly, when babies use long teethers, they better understand the boundaries of their mouth - from the sides to the back and the front of their mouth!
All in all, when teaching babies how to chew, it can seem like a daunting and complicated process. But just know your baby is smart and intuitive. Their oral sensory processes are crucial in taking in certain stimuli & responding with the appropriate action. Just simply guide food & teethers alike to the sides and the back of their mouths and your baby will be chewing in no time!