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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Down Syndrome: Helping Your Child Eat Independently
Down syndrome can learn to eat by themselves with your
help and encouragement. Eating independently is a developmental milestone that
involves the use of small muscles (fine motor skills), large muscles (gross
motor skills), and hand-eye coordination.
Before teaching your child self-feeding skills, look for signs of
readiness, such as the child's reaching for food. Your child may also like to
play with food and try to put it in his or her mouth.
Use these tips to help your child learn to eat
Down syndrome often affects the muscles in the mouth, causing the
tongue to stick out. This may interfere with feeding, including breast-feeding,
bottle-feeding, and eating solid food. Most children overcome these types of
problems, although they will likely master eating skills at a later age than
If you have problems feeding your baby or don't think he or she is
getting enough nutrition to grow properly, talk with a
registered dietitian who works with children who have
Current as of:
July 1, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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