Feeding and Swallowing Milestones: 12 to 18 Months

[en Español]

These milestones cover feeding and swallowing development in children.

Childrens nutritional needs change as they grow and may be different from other children their age. It's important to check with your child's pediatrician for feeding recommendations that are specific to your child's needs.

Each child develops uniquely even within the same family, and may meet certain milestones earlier or later than others. If your child does not meet many of the milestones within their age range, visit ASHA ProFind to find an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) for an assessment.

What can my child do?

  • Sits upright with feet on floor or on a flat surface (can sit in highchair, booster seat, on floor, etc.).14
  • Feeds self with utensils or fingers.4, 12, 14
  • Drinks from a sippy cup without help; can drink from an open cup with some spilling.12


How does my child eat and drink?

  • Uses tongue to move food from side to side in mouth.14
  • Drinks from straw without help and without spilling.14


What types of food should my child be eating and drinking?

  •  Foods made of mixed consistencies (IDDSI Level 7).4, 12, 13, 14
  •  Human milk, pasteurized whole milk, water.2, 3, 5, 6


What can I do to help?

You know your child best, so don't wait to get help if your child is having trouble breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or eating solid foods. Getting help early can prevent problems with eating and can foster a healthy relationship with food for you and your child.

  • Help your child learn their hunger and fullness cues. This creates healthy eating habits and a long-term positive relationship with food.
  • Serve a variety of foods to your child. Don't get discouraged if they don't like it the first few times.
  • Children learn through play, so expose them to new foods by making meals exciting or playful. For example, have a picnic lunch outside, or finger paint with applesauce.

ASHA Corporate Partners