Are you wondering if your baby has the pre-feeding skills needed for baby-led weaning? These skills demonstrate a baby’s readiness to eat and drink safely and successfully. The ezpz Oral Development Tools (ODT’s) can help baby achieve these critical skills for mealtime development.
What are ODT’s? The ezpz ODT’s consist of three sensorimotor devices that were designed to help babies practice their pre-feeding, munching, biting, chewing and eating skills. The key is that all three of these tools are baby-led, meaning that baby controls how these tools are placed into their own mouth, and the built-in handles are made specifically for baby’s hands.
The Tiny Developmental Tool has sensory bumps at the tip of the tool to stimulate lip closure, which can also help to decrease drooling. This tool has an opening in the center, which allows for tongue elevation to help improve swallowing. Plus, this tongue elevation movement supports the development of the speech sounds t and d.
The Mini Developmental Tool was developed to facilitate jaw strength for chewing and swallowing skills. It has an adorable smiley face design and sensory bumps to provide texture and tactile input to the mouth. This shape encourages jaw stabilization and lip spreading movements for feeding. Additionally, these mouth exercises are the same placement for speech sounds such as the e, s and z.
The Happy Developmental Tool was designed to be about the length and thickness of an adult pinky finger. This is the size and shape that can help facilitate munching and chewing skills for baby-led weaning! It also helps to stimulate tongue lateralization for eating and preparing the mouth for a strong swallow. The tip of this tool also encourages lip rounding movements to help prepare your baby for straw drinking.
How do the ODT’s Differ from a Teether? Generally speaking, teethers help baby soothe and manage mouth pain. As a pediatric feeding and swallowing specialist, I have (and recommend) teether use for young babies. However, with my clinical work in baby led weaning and pediatric feeding therapy I found that I needed to elicit more skills from my babies then the average teether could offer. Since there were not appropriate pre-feeding tools in the marketplace to help parents teach their babies to learn how to chew and eat, I designed them.
Now parents can offer baby a safe way to stimulate their sensory and motor systems to improve feeding skills! The ODT’s help build tone and strength of the lips, tongue, cheeks, gumline and jaw. These muscle movements are the foundation for starting solids safely and successfully. And the best news is once your baby has feeding skills you can offer cold strips of food to ease sore gums instead of the average teether. Score!
When Should You Use ODT’s? You can use them before, during or after mealtime. For example, I use them with babies before mealtime to help prepare for the sensory and motor movements needed to eat and drink. I place these tools in the refrigerator to get cooled, then offer them for 5 minutes before a meal to help wake a baby’s mouth before they start eating!
I also use the ODT's during mealtime. For example, I dip the Tiny Development Tools in breastmilk and formula and offer it to baby. I also use the Mini Developmental Tool because it has eye depressions on the smiley face that I use to hold purees like yogurt and hummus.
Lastly, I use them after a meal to check for pocketing. If you see leftover food in their mouth, you can offer an ODT for them to chew on to help elicit a swallow to clear any residual food.
I hope these tips encourage you to offer Oral Development Tools to your baby. If you use these ODT’s with your little one, please let us know how it goes! #OralDevelopmentTools #ezpzfun