Table 4 - Feeding-related psychosocial milestones: birth to 36 months

From the following article

Swallowing and feeding in infants and young children

Joan C. Arvedson

GI Motility online (2006)


StagePsychosocial milestones

Source: Adapted from Chatoor et al.11

Birth to 3 monthsCues for feeding: arousal, cry, rooting, sucking
(homeostasis)Caregiver responds to cues (leads to self-regulation)
Infant quiets to voice
Hunger–satiety pattern develops
Infant smile promotes interaction with primary caregiver
Pleasurable feeding experiences right arrow greater environmental interaction
3 to 6 months (attachment)Primary interactions—"falling in love"
up arrow Reciprocity of positive infant and caregiver interactions
Consistent cues
Anticipation of feeding
Pauses likely socialization, not necessarily for burping or to indicate satiety
Smiling, laughing, social, alert
Preferred feeders are parents
Calls for attention by 6 months
6 to 36 months (Separation/individuation)Responds to "no"
Imitates movements, and gradually imitation of speech
Play activity to explore environment (7–9 months)
Facial expression used to indicate likes and dislikes
Follows simple directions
Self-feeding emerges
Mealtimes become more predictable
Speech becomes important
Direction following—gradually 2–3 step commands
Mealtimes become part of whole family schedule
Rapid increase in language 24–36 months
Independent feeding by end of period