by Dr Shruti Nathwani, Paediatric Doctor: MBBS BSc MRCPCH
“As a Paediatrician, I always get asked about milestones and whether or not they are being reached appropriately. Milestones are based on an age range i.e. 6-9 months or 9-12 months and are great to use as guidance. They are based on the average population and most children will reach milestones slightly differently. Healthcare professionals know what the upper limit of those milestone ages are and when there is cause for concern. For example, if a healthy child born at term is not walking independently by the age of 18 months, a healthcare professional would want to investigate further.
Ways to encourage development
What is not frequently spoken about is how development can be encouraged. For example, supervised tummy time is a great way to encourage your little one to roll over. Tummy time helps strengthen the neck muscles. This in turn encourages independent head lifting and allows your little one to roll over eventually. Most of your child’s development can be encouraged and aided. In this article, we focus on how doddl cutlery helps encourage self-feeding. Using doddl cutlery can really aid development of self-feeding from very early on with refinement of fine motor skills.
Palmar to pincer grip
Infants go very quickly from using their palmar grip (6-9 months) where they hold large food items, to pincer grip (9-12 months) which is used to pick up finger foods which eventually end up in their mouth. The transition from the pincer grip to using a spoon properly (at around 18 months) for example can take a little bit longer. And that’s where utensils like doddl cutlery can encourage fine motor development during this time.
Offering cutlery that is not only easier to grip but with a metal head that is similar to everyday cutlery, encourages not only the use of a spoon but helps refine skillful feeding. Doddl have quite fantastically designed a utensil that bridges the gap between a plastic baby spoon and a normal spoon. Their cutlery ranges include a baby cutlery set that is designed with a shorter handle for the palmar grasp that develops from 6 months +. And their children’s set is designed with the pincer grip in mind.
My son Jason started showing a real interest in using a knife when he was around 18 months. The doddl knife has safely been designed to be used by children and now at 2.5 years, he skillfully chops a lot of his own fruit and vegetables with supervision.
Embrace the mess!
Practice really does help, even It ends up being really messy. Repeated exposure and modelling can both help encourage self-feeding.
Note: Always supervise your child when they are learning to feed themselves.”
Dr. Shruti Nathwani is the founder of @thechildrensmedic, an educational Instagram account focused on evidence based medical guidance surrounding newborn, infant and child health. She uses her own experiences as a mother and Paediatric Doctor to support parents throughout their parenting journey sharing practical tips and knowledge along the way.
Disclaimer: Please note this article is made available for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for competent medical advice. If your child is unwell, you must consult a medical professional in person.