A Mistake in Baby Feeding Will Affect the Growth and Development of Many Aspects

Many novice mothers make a mistake in feeding their child - lack of developing chewing ability of the child, which will lead to nausea and vomiturition as soon as the child eats, and even affect the growth and development of the child in many ways.

Many novice mothers believe that their children will retch when they eat because they have a narrow throat, but this is not true, it has to do with the child’s ability to swallow.

Babies always take "paste" supplementary foods when they are just able to eat supplementary foods, as they grow older, the milk teeth begin to appear, many novice mothers will still feed babies with soft foods because they are afraid that the babies cannot chew and swallow, failing to "update" the supplementary foods with the age. They do not realize that this will lead to a lack of chewing exercise, which will further affect the baby’s ability to swallow.

According to a foreign survey, 1.7% of children aged 2-3 and 0.8% of children aged 4-5 do not "know" how to eat solid foods. In addition, 1/3 of children can eat, but cannot chew well, or swallow it whole, or spit it out when they cannot chew it[1].

Grinding foods to make it proper for swallowing is one of the main functions of chewing. Chewing requires the tongue, oral cavity, teeth, facial muscles, lips to work together to successfully grind or bite the foods in the mouth, and then swallow it into the stomach[1]. In other words, chewing ability can be achieved only after long and frequent practice, and the level of chewing ability will directly affect the child’s ability to swallow solid foods.

Chewing Ability Is Closely Related To Children’s Growth and Development

In fact, this ability not only affects the child’s swallowing function, but is also closely related to the child’s other growth and development, and not being able to chew can cause many growth and development problems in children.

Increase of Gastrointestinal Burden

People often believe that digestion starts from the stomach and intestines, but in fact, it begins in the mouth, where the chewing of teeth and the breakdown of saliva are also a kind of digestion. In this case, children with poor chewing ability do not need to chew foods with "paste" supplementary foods, or just chew foods a few times and then swallow it whole. which increases the burden on the stomach and intestines because the initial process of chewing with saliva is ignored. If your child eats in this way, the poop is not in normal form.

Damage To Brain Memory Function

Chewing seems to be a very simple action, however, the brain will rapidly operate during this action. The chewing officially begins when food is cut into small pieces by the teeth and enters the mouth. At this time, the brain perceives the size, position, hardness, and consistency of the food through sensory neurons distributed in the upper jaw, tooth roots, and other areas, and adjusts the level of muscle force, the frequency of contraction, and the angle of jaw opening.

According to a Japanese study, experimental rats that failed to achieve full chewing exercise during developmental stage had underdeveloped nerve cells in their brains and relatively low learning and memory abilities. The researchers fed the two groups of experimental rats solid and powdered foods respectively for about 3 months from the developmental stage (3 weeks after birth) and then compared their cerebral functions.

It was found that the experimental rats that ate powdered foods had poorly developed bones and muscles in the palate and were relatively poor in spatial learning and memory. After analyzing the hippocampus of the brain of experimental rats, it was found that the number of neuronal cells in the hippocampus of experimental rats eating powdered foods was only about half of that in the control group, and the hippocampus is mainly responsible for memory and learning[2].

Impacts on Facial Development

Adequate chewing exercise will make the facial muscles constantly contract and stretch, so that the facial muscles can be fully exercised, thus achieving a better facial development. Besides, bones also need sufficient stimulation to achieve good development. Adequate stimulation will promote the cells that make up bones to keep dividing and proliferating, thus accelerating the development of bones.

If children cannot chew, facial muscles and jaw are not fully exercised, which affect both the facial development and the appearance.

Poor Tooth Development

Nowadays, there are more and more children with double rows of teeth, and their permanent teeth are growing before they lose their deciduous teeth, which is closely related to the dietary habit. Teeth are mainly used for chewing foods, which promotes the growth and development of the roots of the milk teeth and their natural resorption and loss. If the child always eats too soft foods, it is easy for the teeth that should be "lost" to occupy the position of permanent teeth, thus generating the double row of teeth. If the child always eats more hard foods, such as apples, carrots and other fruits and vegetables, the most milk teeth can lose naturally.

In addition, when child always eats too soft foods will, his/her gums and teeth will not be sufficiently squeezed and exercised through adequate chewing, which will affect both the sturdiness and alignment of the teeth.

Unclear Pronunciation

Parents may think that their children’s inability to chew has nothing to do with pronunciation, however, it is closely related to the pronunciation. In the process of speaking, the tongue needs to maintain a certain form to make an accurate pronunciation. But if the form that the tongue needs to maintain for a certain pronunciation makes the child feel uncomfortable, he/she will give up speaking with that accurate pronunciation, but with an inaccurate one instead, with a form that requires not too much effort to the tongue.

The chewing exercise of young children can train the coordination and flexibility of the muscles of the mouth, tongue, lips and other corresponding organs, and its coordination and flexibility can directly affect the clarity of young children’s pronunciation[3], and the chewing ability directly affects the development level of young children’s language.

Chewing ability exercise needs to be gradually upgraded with the baby’s age

The baby is able to make the act of chewing when he/she is not yet teething. Since then, the mother should start to exercise the baby’s chewing ability, and gradually upgrade the hardness of the foods to improve the chewing ability with the baby’s age.

Generally, the development of baby’s chewing ability changes with the process of providing supplementary foods, which will roughly go through the following four stages.

1. Swallowing stage - about 6 months: some babies at this stage have already started to grow their milk teeth, so mothers can provide paste-like supplementary foods for babies, such as rice flour or various kinds of pureed semi-solid foods, which babies can basically swallow directly.

2. Slow chewing stage - about 7-9 months: most babies at this stage have grown 2-4 milk teeth, and are also in the oral stage with strong demands, so mothers can provide some teething cookies or finger foods for your babies, such as the boiled pumpkin stripes, fatmelon stripes and carrot stripes. Finger foods require the baby to make a biting and chewing acts compared to paste-like foods.

3. Careful chewing stage - about 10-12 months: most babies at this stage have grown most of milk teeth, so mothers can provide the large-grained crushed foods instead of finger foods for babies, such as minced meat or baby melts, and the finger foods can still be provided, but they can be a little harder.

4. Chewing stage - 1 year old above: in this stage, all the baby’s teeth are basically grown out, so mothers can provide solid lumpy foods for babies, such as sectioned vegetables and fruits, noodles, rice, small pieces of dumplings, ravioli, until the baby is about one and a half years old, mothers can provide the babies with a complete piece of apple on babies’ hands to make them eat it by themselves.

In other words, children over 1 year old can basically eat the same foods as adults, including rice, noodle, dumplings, buns, vegetables, meat and fruits, as long as they are not particularly hard to chew.

In addition to providing foods with different traits for the child at different stages, mothers should also pay attention to the dental care during the teething stage. Good teeth are the prerequisite for chewing food, just as people said that eat everything with good teeth!


[1] Liu Suiqian, Zhang Qun, Liu Ying, Hao Min. Chewing ability must be developed before it’s too late [J], Fashion Baby, 2018, (02)

[2] Huang Dongzong, Zhang Qiao, Jiang Hua. Research Progress on Correlation between Mastication and Memory [J], Chinese Journal of Prosthodontics. 2019, 20(06)

[3] Huang Ying, Chewing Factors and Countermeasures Affecting Older Children’s Expressive Language Skills [J], Heihe Education. 2018, (03)