Most children experience some kind of feeding difficulty at some point - whether it’s following an illness, when they are teething or going through the “fussy toddler” stage. Some children are also more “at risk” of developing feeding difficulties, for example children with:

  • head, neck or facial abnormalities
  • cleft lip and/or palate
  • motor or neurological disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy, Intraventricular hemorrhage, meningitis)
  • gastrointestinal conditions (e.g., gastro-oesophageal reflux, "short gut" syndrome)
  • heart disorders
  • respiratory disorders
  • autistic spectrum disorder
  • premature and/or low birth weight babies, ex-premature children
  • complex medical problems
  • learning difficulties
  • weak/low tone muscles of the face and neck
  • children who have experienced early negative feeding experiences
  • children who have been tube fed

 

Feeding difficulties may be considered in three different categories: physical difficulties, sensory difficulties or behavioural difficulties. However feeding difficulties rarely fall in to one category – they are often complex and multi-factorial.

Your baby may:

  • take a very long time to feed
  • have difficulties with sucking/swallowing
  • cough or choke frequently when feeding
  • show limited interest/motivation to feed
  • frequently vomit or appear distressed
  • frequently arch back or bring their legs up to their tummy
  • experience nasal regurgitation
  • be slow to put on weight
  • experience frequent chest infections or sound “rattley” during and after eating

 

Your toddler/child may:

  • find it difficult to transition on to solids
  • find it difficult to cope with lumpy foods
  • cough or choke frequently
  • be reluctant to touch food or feed themselves
  • be averse to having anything near or in their mouth (e.g. food/drink, toys, fingers)
  • be averse to exploring different textures with their hands and feet
  • become anxious and /or distressed around mealtimes or at the sight of their bottle/plate/cup
  • pouch or store food in the sides of their mouth/roof of their mouth
  • hold food in their mouth for a long time without chewing or swallowing
  • have difficulties with chewing
  • have difficulties moving on to using a cup
  • only eat certain food groups, certain brand of foods or certain food textures
  • have a limited diet
  • have set routines/rituals around mealtimes and food/drink
  • may gag/vomit at the smell, sight, tough or taste of certain foods
  • experience excessive dribbling
  • sound gurgly when eating

 

Is your child currently reliant on a nasogastric tube or a gastrostomy to meet their nutritional needs? Do you need support to help your child wean off tube weaning (providing it is safe to do so)?

Does your child experience frequent chest infections or sound “rattley” during and after eating?

Please contact me to discuss your concerns and to see if I can help.