Feeding challenges are common in children, especially toddlers. However, some children have difficulties eating that can benefit from therapeutic intervention. As a parent, it’s important to spot the signs that your child’s feeding difficulties may require professional evaluation and treatment.
The PediaPlex team offers comprehensive, specialized care to children with various feeding and swallowing difficulties. If your child fears certain foods, gags while eating, or often has trouble swallowing, it’s time to seek professional help.
Feeding therapy employs evidence-based therapeutic strategies to support your child in developing good feeding habits.
Signs your child may need feeding therapy
Look out for the following signs during or immediately after eating that may mean your child has a feeding disorder:
- Choking or gagging
- Holding breath
- Respiratory infections
- Noisy feeding
- Excessive bloating
- Eating limited foods
- Difficulties chewing foods
- Difficulties drinking from a cup
- Difficulties eating enough food
- Limited self-feeding abilities
- A history of g-tube
Infants and children with feeding difficulties may struggle to gain weight and achieve nutritional requirements without dietary supplements and special formulas.
How can feeding therapy help my child?
Feeding therapy helps children develop healthy feeding skills, strengthens oral motor abilities, and helps resolve sensory food concerns.
Feeding difficulties in children happen when a child is unable or has trouble getting the necessary amount of food to support their growth and development, which could be due to medical, nutritional, feeding, or emotional issues.
Feeding issues include restricted appetite, fear of eating, and selective intake.
Depending on your child's needs, feeding therapy may include working with a speech-language pathologist, an occupational therapist, a qualified dietitian, and/or a psychologist.
A speech-language pathologist, for example, teaches youngsters how to tolerate different textures or flavors in food and exercises to develop motor and age-appropriate self-feeding abilities.
When sensory sensitivity is a concern, it’s beneficial to work with an occupational therapist specializing in feeding therapy.
Schedule a feeding evaluation
If you’re concerned about your child’s feeding, bring your child in for a feeding evaluation with the PediaPlex team. The therapist will gather information regarding your child's medical history, developmental milestones, current diet, and any concerns. The feeding evaluation may also involve the therapist observing your child:
- Chewing food and non-food items (teething toys)
- Drinking liquids
- Feeding themselves
- Eating meals they enjoy
- Eating or handling complex foods
After completing the evaluation, our team discusses the findings and recommends a treatment plan. If your child is experiencing trouble swallowing liquids or foods, our speech-language pathologists can evaluate your child for dysphagia. This process includes assessing the muscles of the mouth and throat as well as performing special tests to evaluate swallowing.
Feeding difficulties can affect any child, although children with developmental differences are more likely to experience feeding challenges. If you notice your child struggling with eating, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts at PediaPlex.
With locations in Southlake, Fort Worth, and Frisco, Texas, our multidisciplinary team supports your child in reaching their food and nutrition goals. Call the nearest clinic to schedule an appointment for a feeding evaluation with a PediaPlex provider. Our dedicated team supports children and families through developmental milestones.