I am reading this absolutely fantastic book right now by an expert speech and feeding therapist named Diane Bahr. She is teaching me all sorts of things I never knew about babies’ mouths and I am becoming absolutely fascinated with feeding therapy (something I’ve never really been that interested in). I actually borrowed the book from my friend/co-worker — a speech therapist — in an effort to help out my own baby boy. Long story short, he’s an intensely oral baby who seeks tons of input for his mouth and has a bit of catching up to do in the whole drinking-from-sources-other-than-mama department.
This book has led me to discover some really valuable tools that babies can chew on.
The second is called a “Tri-Chew” and can be found online here.
These chew tools are made out of medical grade materials and can be used to:
- give additional input to babies’ mouths and jaws for those whose are seekers like my little one.
- promote discriminatory oral exploration (VERY important for development of feeding and speech skills!).
- decrease oral sensitivity.
- strengthen babies’ jaws to help those who struggle to drink from bottles, sippy cups, straws, and open cups due to the fact that they bite down for stability to compensate for jaw weakness.
- alleviate (and prevent additional) tooth grinding.
- help with teething and sore gums.
- help with the transition from puree to solid foods.
- move the gag reflex farther back on the tongue to assist with learning to eat more solid foods.
- teach babies to move their tongues side to side, a skill needed in order to advance to eating solid/finger foods.
- help babies become familiar with textures that simulate those encountered when eating solid foods.
- improve focus, organization, and help babies calm.
The author of the book was helpful enough to include info about how to use these chew tools and where to get them. Both can be purchased through ARK Therapeutic’s website. The blue Baby Grabber can be found here and the yellow Tri-Chew can be found here.
If you do decide to purchase any of these, be sure to read all instructions included for use and care, and always ALWAYS supervise baby while using them.
If you feel your little one is struggling more than his or her peers and it is causing either of you distress, talk to their pediatrician about whether they should have an evaluation done to asses their feeding and oral motor skills so you can figure out how to best help them. The evaluation should be done by either a speech therapist or an occupational therapist trained in feeding.
I am oh so glad I have discovered these tools, and I hope they will be helpful to some of you, too!
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