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Tapestry

Nothing Goes In His Mouth


Upsy Daisy
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I have a new child who has just had his first birthday. He's a lovely baby who is very contented and is settling well.

 

When he started his mum told me that she can't persuade him to feed himself. I have offered him finger food and spoons and although he picks them up he never puts them near his mouth. He also never puts toys or his hands in his mouth but he does ram his comforter (a muslin square) in there when he is feeling stressed (e.g. when mum has just left).

 

I'm not particularly worried about it as I think he'll probably start at some point but I thought I'd run it by you experts to see what you think. Is it common?

 

All feedback gratefully received.

 

Thanks in advance

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thats a new one to me Ive had children who stick everything in their mouths but cannt say Ive had a child that never put stuff in their mouth

 

 

I assume from your post that this child is eating ok just not joining in feeding himself

 

have you tried letting go of the spoon once its in his mouth so he either has to take it out of his mouth himself or leave it to fall

like wise finger foods if you hold them until he takes a bite and then let go will he make any effort to hold the food or will it just sit with it hanging from his mouth until it falls?

 

he may not have realise that putting stuff in his mouth can be fun, does he have a bottle or trainer cup will he hold that to his mouth?

 

I dont know what to suggest? I hope you make a breakthrough soon.

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I started to post about this last night, but in the end decided I was talking rubbish.

 

I'm not sure what to suggest either, but something Sally Thomas was saying in a recent training has stuck in my head. She was talking about how from birth, the nerve endings around babies' mouths are the most sensitive - obviously at this stage to ensure they learn to suckle properly. This carries on for some time, and is why babies always put things to their mouths to explore because their fingerpads are not as sensitive and so can't take in enough information to tell the baby about the properties of what they're looking at.

 

I'm wondering if this child has every mouthed items to explore toys, fingers etc?

 

Like Alison, I'd be interested to know about his feeding generally - presumably you've tried all the usual tricks to get him to join in feeding for himself and since my experience is only with my own children, I don't feel able to advise you.

 

Good luck - hope you get some better advice and support than mine!

 

Maz

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Thanks for your replies.

 

I haven't tried letting go of the spoon or the food - perhaps that's one to try this week. He eats really enthusiastically when he is spoon fed. He just doesn't seem to think of putting it in himself.

 

I'm used to babies exploring everything with their mouths like you say, Maz, but he only puts his comforter anywhere near - absolutely nothing else.

 

He isn't really interested in the food on the high chair tray either which seems really unusual. I dropped some jelly on purpose last week and he barely glanced at it. If I hand him the spoon he throws it straight on the floor.

 

I will give him lots of things like yoghurt and spaghetti to explore on the tray as a bit of a sensory experience to encourage him to touch food at least.

 

I keep reassuring his mum that he will get round to it when he is ready so I hope I'm right!

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I will give him lots of things like yoghurt and spaghetti to explore on the tray as a bit of a sensory experience to encourage him to touch food at least.

Does he engage with other sensory experiences such as shaving foam/goop etc? How does he react to getting dirty? I wonder if he just doesn't like the way things feel very much?

 

Certainly is very odd.

 

Maz

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I have only had him for four days so far so I haven't tried gloop or shaving foam yet. He wouldn't touch the grass I tried to put him down on last week but my oldest did that too at the same age.

 

I don't think he has much experience of being messy. First child and grandchild on both sides. I asked his mum to make sure he always wears old clothes that can be allowed to get dirty so she has gone out and bought a few outfits specially for when he is with me. If it just that he's not used to messy play he'll soon get over it in my house!

 

It will be really interesting to see how this develops as I get to know him better.

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It could also be he is very used to having food fed to him, first child etc.

 

or dare i say too much cleaning and child at some stage was not allowed to get dirty . My son hated food on his face and we did not do the constant face cleaning I've see some mums do.

 

do feel whatever you do will need extending and encouraged at home too, no good you getting him doing things and then not consolidated at home.

 

Inge

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Hi Alison

 

I have read and re-read this thread - desperately trying to think of a way to help! (You always help me when I have a question!)

 

I haven't ever experienced anything like this - interested to know whether he holds his own bottle/trainer cup or whatever he uses........

 

My youngest didn't like the 'feel' of grass either........

 

Has mum spoken to Health Visitor?

 

Not much help there - good luck with it all.

 

Sunnyday

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No he doesn't hold his own trainer cup, he just sits and looks at it until you pick it up for him! It is quite strange to watch him play without using his mouth to explore things.

 

I tried not quite getting the food to his mouth at snack time this morning and he just leant more and more forward rather than use his hands. He started to get upset quite quickly so I stopped.

 

I will ask mum at an appropriate moment if she has discussed it with the HV.

 

He's asleep at the moment so hopefully he'll wake up good and hungry and I'll see what happens over lunch.

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I came across this thread on another forum (its American!) Thought you might find it useful.Its over a period of time and the end shows the baby was ok by 15 mths although mom sounds worried at beginning.They do make us stress don't they!

 

My baby won't put things in his mouth

Edited by Guest
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Thanks biccy.

 

That is really interesting and very reassuring. That child sounded exactly like the one I am posting about so it looks like he will get his head round it in time as well.

 

I knew posting on here was a good idea!

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Have you thought about both of you sitting in front of a mirror and playing with your mouth and tongue, both into the mirror and looking directly at him. You could use the mirror to put the finger food on or yoghurt then do it with him and lick your fingers?

Just a couple of thoughts. I must admit, I'd be a bit worried too. Hope he discovers his mouth soon!

Sam

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A new one on me too.

 

As you say he's happy to 'place' his comforter in his mouth, maybe you could try putting the comforter around the spoon handle, placing this in his hand and see if he will then move the spoon towards his mouth.

 

:o Just trying to think 'out the box' so to speak, starting from what the child does do now and from the childs interests. xD

 

Do let us know how this progresses won't you.

 

Peggy

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Thanks everyone I've got lots of ideas to work with over the next few weeks and I will make a point of starting where he is.

 

I however just had another look at the thread biccy directed me to and having looked at it again I realise that the child in question is autistic so perhaps not so positive after all. I haven't seen anything else to give me cause for concern so hopefully that's not relevant. I'll just keep stum and watch to see how things develop.

 

I'll keep you all posted.

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I realise that the child in question is autistic

 

It appears that way although working out the child's age (19 mths) it seems very early to make that kind of diagnostic.There other internet conversations about the issue so I think the main thing is that it does happen and others have been through similiar difficulties.

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Autism is quite a difficult diagnosis at this age as it involves a triad of impairments some aspects of which will not be evident at this age, and it will need a psychologist and Dr to be involved to give an expert diagnosis. I would be very reluctant to suggest this at this moment in time based on the evidence. If you felt this was the case this would need very sensitive handling with the parent, as this is a life-time condition which will have very serious consequences for the future.

Look for

Behaving as if other people don't exist.

Little or no eye contact.

No response when spoken to.

Face empty of expression except when there is extreme joy, anger, or distress.

No response to cuddling.

If something is wanted, a person's hand may be pulled towards the object.

May respond to rough and tumble play well, but when the play stops, there is a return to the aloof pattern.

Seems to be in a world of their own.

Repetitive behaviour.

Repeated ordering of objects.

Hand flapping.

Several of these would need to be present, not just one or two.

You will need to keep a close eye on his development especially of communication skills.

 

One suggestion for your child would be for him to see other children feeding themselves as children love to copy each other.

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Sorry I misread your post re the autistic child. I shouldn't be posting at that time of night when I'm usually in bed. :o I'm a morning person. Just been out mowing the lawn.

 

Do you think that perhaps he is so used to having everything done for him, and possibly been strongly discouraged from putting anything in his mouth to keep him safe, that he has gone past the point where he would have done this naturally for himself. He probably thinks he should be fed this way now. It seems like a case of persevering and making it as much fun as possible.

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I think you've made an important observation here - which could just be a quirk of behaviour or could be an early sign of atypical development. I think you're right to address it with parents adn perhaps record it as next steps to support him

You could also encourage him to use his mouth in other ways - pulling faces, blowing bubbles and raspberries, using musical instruments

role model pretend play with a doll or teddy to feed etc

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just had to share this with you.

 

I thought about Peggy's reminder about starting where the child is so I watched him at a couple of mealitimes very carefully and noted that the only time he touched food was to throw it on the floor.

 

I also did lots of sensory activities with finger paints, katchup, water, etc on the highchair tray.

 

Next I started holding the food on the highchair tray for a moment and he would take it out of my hand to throw on the floor. I began to hold on to the food and, as his fingers touched it, I lifted it to his mouth and the clapped and praised him. He responded with smiles so I have been doing this with finger food every lunchtime.

 

Today he had a couple of small pieces of bread left on his lip afetr taking a bite. HE PUSHED THEM INTO HIS MOUTH WITH HIS FINGER! I couldn't believe it. :o

 

As if that wasn't enough a few mouthfuls later I wasn't getting it in quick enough so HE PUSHED MY HAND UP TO HIS MOUTH. xD

 

Well I know it is only a couple of first steps but I feel like the cat that's got the cream and I had to tell someone.

 

The next question is do I tell his mum or do I treat it like first his steps and let her see it at home first? (She knows what I have been working on with him and I've encouraged her to try some messy play in the highchair at home too.)

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Great news :o Not sure about mum, My first instinct is to tell her of the progress because if nothing else it will relieve her of her anxieties.

 

When my son was small my mum was babysitting when he walked his first steps, yes I was disappointed that she was first to witness this milestone, but at the end of the day, I got over it and it's the child that counts more than the adults 'feelings'. If she knows he has achieved this she will be able to further encourage it at home, don't want him to have different expectations from adults between home and setting. (hope that makes sense).

 

You can explain how you achieved this, ie: what has worked so that she has an idea of how much or little encouragement to give.

 

 

Peggy

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Thanks everyone.

 

His mum raised the subject of his eating when she picked up tonight by coincidence so the decision was made for me. She asked whether he is making any progress with me. I told her about him pushing the food in off his lips and she was really pleased. He has not shown any sign at home so we talked about how she can consolidate his progress there.

 

It's so good to be getting somewhere!

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