Little J has always been a great eater. We haven't had the struggles with eating baby food or table food common to other children with Down syndrome. Why? I don't know. I did stand my ground with the doctors and nurses when they were encouraging me to bottle feed him instead of breastfeeding. It wasn't easy, but I had experience nursing four other babies and I knew I could do it. I also knew that Little J could do it, it would just take longer to coordinate all the muscles needed for nursing successfully. His heart condition didn't help matters either, but we continued on and he learned. He grew slowly, but that's not uncommon in children with Down syndrome and heart conditions. I think nursing worked his facial and tongue muscles more than if he was bottle fed in turn helping him transition to table foods easier. Also breastmilk is always changing which may help the baby accept new tastes. I cannot forget to mention that I like to eat and maybe he just got that gene from me. Other possibilities for not encountering any major feeding issues may be the shape of his mouth, size of his tongue, and curve of his upper palate. It's so easy to take for granted the mechanics of the mouth, but after having a child with Down syndrome nothing is taken for granted. One small change in the shape or size of the mouth can bring a myriad of feeding/eating issues.
Now that he's 21 months it's time to strongly encourage the use of utensils. I've been giving him a spoon ever since he started sitting at the table with us. Often times he just threw it on the floor, but lately he's actually been holding the spoon. I thought giving him sticky foods would make it easier to get food to his mouth on the spoon. Things like pudding, oatmeal, yogurt, etc. work well for this. The idea is that he'll dip the spoon in the bowl and then put the spoon to his mouth. When he tastes the yummy yogurt he'll continue dipping the spoon into the bowl and putting it to his mouth. In theory this should work. In reality this it what happens.