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Mouth Stuffing and Food Pocketing in Young Children

Chipmunk cheeks – is it typical?
Has your toddler or perhaps infant actually filled the mouth of her with blueberries – 1 after the following – without chewing and swallowing? Perhaps she stores them in the cheeks of her and at the top of the mouth of her and you consider foods a couple of hours later on!
Is this typical?
Can it be behavioral?
Is it a sensory processing issue?

In a nutshell, food stuffing and pocketing is possible when kids are eating way too quickly and have not perfected chewing skills, but if pocketing food turns into a chronic problem despite utilizing the preventive measures shown in this content, it might be the time to seek expert advice.
​ To understand why the child of yours may overfill or pocket the mouth of theirs, let us briefly discuss her dental development.

Oral awareness and mouth development Starting at birth, we would like the infant of yours to develop to ease herself by putting the very own hands of her into the mouth of her. When we do this, she learns the landscape of the mouth of her. This type of self soothing with hands is reassuring to infants and is just what we wish them to do!
Your child eventually learns how you can deliver toys more into the mouth of her and additionally learns to teethe and gum on these secure teething toys. This’s a developmental milestone that must be encouraged. She very first learns just where the mouth of her is, after which she learns about the boundaries within her mouth, like the tongue, the tough palate as well as the rear of her mouth.
The baby of yours will also learn to start and close the mouth of her around toys and the hands of her, and she quickly learns that putting a toy straight again in her mouth could cause her to gag. She likewise learns when her mouth is simply too little for a big toy. In the OT community, we call the improvement and this particular mouthing of oral play skills. This’s just what we want to discover babies doing before six months of age.
Mouth stuffing and food

When your kid starts feeding herself, that is able to happen around six months in case you are doing Baby led Weaning, she may learn that she can put plenty of food in the mouth of her. the mouth of her has become larger than it used to be when she was a baby, and she could get excited about eating brand new textures and flavors – and so excited that she jams all of them in her mouth at the same time. Perhaps she stores them in the cheekbones of her, chipmunk style.

What would you do?

In the situation of pocketing and mouth stuffing, protection is the greatest remedy.​

Avoiding the kid of yours from stuffing in the very first place is the best and most powerful method to handle chipmunking.
How can you avoid mouth stuffing?

​Be your child’s speed bump – help her delay the speed of her of eating by providing just one or maybe 2 pieces of food on her plate or tray. If she is old enough, offer her the choice of serving herself with little spoons, getting only one blueberry at the same time.
Offer frequent sips of drinking water from an open cup or even straw cup. Model drinking water with meals yourself. This can help your kid wash down food and can slow down the pace of her of eating.
Novelty utensils as GrabEase, animal bento picks, along with Pick Ease, and also blunt toothpicks, demand much more good motor control and can slow her eating speed.
If the food is a bread item, use cookie cutters to make different sizes which might really feel completely different when she may take bites. You are able to also try out FunBites Food Cutter to slice other food and sandwiches into bite sized pieces.
Older toddlers may fully understand taking totally different size bites. Ask the kid of yours to take a mouse sized bite, then a dog sized bite, then a dinosaur sized bite. Work with different sizes until she recognizes that she is able to regulate just how much food enters the mouths of her by the bites she takes.
Speak to one another at mealtimes and also promote additional language abilities – do not simply chat about chewing the food. Indeed, at times we have to remind the kids of ours to munch on and take sips of h2o, though we also need them to recall that mealtime is a good experience. Model and imitate secure, slower eating abilities as well as just take sips of warm water yourself.
Be sure that your kid is not seeing a device or maybe TV during mealtimes, because this can market mindless eating.
Ask yourself in case you are pressuring the kid of yours to consume – sometimes kids things meal in the mouths of theirs since they are expected to carry a specific amount of bites (perhaps to “earn” dessert) but truly do not wish to consume that food. We recommend taking our toddler program to help you make mealtime much better with no bribery or even by using pressure.

Your child’s mouth has already been overstuffed with foods – the next thing?
While prevention is essential with overstuffing, if stuffing occurs it is important to maneuver food from her mouth safely.

  1. Encourage the kid of yours to chew, but in case she will not ask her to spit out the meals, have a sip of h2o, and begin again.
  2. Offer her a tiny bite as the upcoming bite of her and make use of the strategies listed above.
  3. If the kid of yours will not spit out the meals, will not chew and swallow, as well as will not drink some water, you might need to eliminate the meals from the mouth of her. Be very careful, as you might push food even more back in the mouth of her. Use the finger of yours to slide foods to the side and advanced, not returned. This might be a bad experience for the kiddo of yours and should be merely used as a last measure. This’s not advised whenever your child is gagging while learning how to eat and must simply be applied in case you are able to obviously see the food.

When should you need assistance?

In case you frequently get food kept in your kid’s mouth minutes to time after a supper, it might be the time to seek expert advice. While it can certainly be behavioral, food stuffing might additionally be considered a red flag your kid isn’t chewing the food of her and might not be experiencing the meals within the mouth of her. A lack of dental sensation is able to result in stuffing because excess food will help your kid understand the boundaries of the mouth of her better. She might seek chewy or crunchy textures or maybe might crave very highly flavored foods (spicy, sour) to “wake up” the oral sensations within the mouth of her.