I’m frequently asked to recommend feeding or oral-motor products for babies with Down syndrome. So I’m creating a list of my favs! Notice this isn’t a list of must-haves; rather, it is meant as a resource of options.
Maroon spoons – these are widely used for working with children who have problems such as poor lip closure, oral hypersensitivity, or tongue thrust. The narrow, shallow bowl of the spoon makes it ideal for feeding therapy. Order the small size.
Infant toothbrush – Made by NUK, I really like this finger brush for stimulation inside the mouth, on the gums, cheeks, and palate before the baby gets teeth. Work with your SLP or OT for exercises and massage tailored to you baby’s needs.
Take and Toss Cups with Straws – While your child is learning to drink from a straw this cup is a great alternative to the Honey Bear. Unlike the Honey Bear, this cup is intended for the child to hold. It’s very rigid sides make it difficult for 12-18 month olds to squeeze, but a parent can squeeze the sides to give a little help while they learn.
Baby Mum Mums – These rice husks are excellent when your baby is learning to chew or teething. They melt like Gerber Puffs making them less likely to choke on (still require close supervision). I get mine at Wal-Mart.
Hand and Foot Teether – A nice alternative to the chewy tubes or chewy P’s and Q’s. This little teether is soft and bendable; the hand is perfect for chewing practice on the molars.
Baby Food Mill – For bulk baby food I used a mini-food processor, but for on-the-go grinding or transitioning between stages (stage 2 to stage 3) this food mill is my personal favorite.
Textured spoons – The textured bottom of the spoon provides oral-sensory stimulation, and the small, shallow bowl is great for little mouths. I use this when transitioning between smooth and lumpy consistencies.
I had so much fun with this post I just may do another list soon! Remember to ask your feeding therapist if these tools are appropriate for your child’s developmental needs.