Facilitating First Tastes

At this stage, the goal of facilitating first tastes is for positive oral feeding experiences, not quantity or nutritional content of intake:

  • ensure that the child is awake and able to maintain a quiet alert state before offering tastes
  • ensure child can coordinate non-nutritive sucking and breathing before initiating tastes
  • children with delayed or disordered oral reflexes, and/or oral sensorimotor dysfunction may require specific treatment techniques, rehabilitation, or teaching new skills, to improve physiology and facilitate oral sensorimotor function
  • facilitate midline positioning and flexion that promotes hand to mouth experiences which is an example of feeding readiness


Oral reflexes may be elicited using a number of specific stimuli. The following strategies may be considered when working with parents and infants to facilitate typical oral reflexes:

  • aid or arouse the infant into a calm alert state
  • in the presence of oral hypersensitivity, systematic desensitization should be considered while addressing oral sensorimotor patterns with oral intake