The children born nowadays are generation alpha. They are born with many capabilities. They are more skill developed than their grandparents. Some basic skills like eating skills has developed too. They just need proper guidance and proper equipment to nurture the skills.
The babies are born with sucking skill. The food must be sucked into the mouth and swallowed without chewing. Therefore the food is in liquid form as milk. This skill is in the first four or five months of life.
As the baby gets older , the problem arises , they develop the skill of drinking the liquid but in early attempts to drink , the baby sucks in more air. This causes choking or even vomiting. If the baby is more hungry, it will gulp the liquid and suck air. To solve the problem,by 4 or 5 months, sipper cups can be introduced. This training cup with holes allows the liquid to come through a little at a time.
If the cup has two handles , the 6 month old baby will grasp each handle with one hand. If it has only one handle , the baby will grasp the handle with one hand and use the other hand to support the cup. The baby carries the cup to the mouth and will suck on the rim of the cup , tilt it and tries to get the liquid from it. By 18 to 20 months most babies drink with very little spilling.
At 6 months, the baby plays with a spoon by sucking , banging and throwing it. He can be shown how to carry it to the mouth and how to turn it slightly to get the food from the spoon into the mouth. By 18 months babies can feed themselves with little spilling.
Babies chew or try to bite on anything they can hold in order to ease the pain caused by teething. It is a natural behaviour that takes place even before the teeth cuts through the gums. The baby should be allowed to hold a piece of apple , toast , papaya , or any crunchy food most of the time. The caregiver should watch closely and if the baby takes a large bite , it can be quickly removed from the mouth before the baby chokes on it.
Babies do not know exactly how to go about chewing they may spit , hold food in the mouth or chew only with the front teeth. After a while they learn to use gums and tongue and few teeth to mash the food. It is a messy period and parents need lots of patience. If the baby had a lot of trouble chewing, soft diet is preferable for a while. Swallowing liquids is a natural reaction but swallowing solids must be learned.
By 18 months , the baby begins to use a fork. Few babies can use their forks efficiently before they are 3 years old. Shortly before the age of 2 , the toddler can use a knife to spread butter or jam on bread and to cut soft foods. By 5 years they learn the use of knife. By the second birthday, the baby is ready to use a glass in place of a cup. At first the baby will hold the glass with both hands. Before the age of 5 , the hands become larger and stronger, the child will gradually shift to the use of one hand.
Babies differ in their readiness to learn the skills of self feeding. Therefore it is impossible to give exact ages at which any one baby can be expected to use the different eating utensils.
Self feeding skills are difficult skills. Because of this, only the groundwork can be laid from the beginning. If this basis is good , the tasks will become habits.
For learning self feeding skills, two important points have to be considered. First, the babies are distracted easily so they should have their meals in a quiet place without any distraction like television or mobile phones. Second, it is easier to learn eating skills if the utensils are suited to a baby’s strength. If they are exactly like adult utensils, only smaller, the baby can learn the right way to use them from the start.
Generation alpha are smart, only a little help and support will help them to be a smart , happy individual.