Feeding Therapy

Photography by Caroline Miller

“A Paediatric feeding disorder is defined as impaired oral intake that is not age appropriate, and is associated with medical, nutritional, feeding skill, and/or psychosocial dysfunction.” (Goday, et al. 2019).

Difficulties with eating and/or drinking can have an impact on health, learning and development, and social problems. 

Causes of Feeding Problems

Low Birth Weight 
Breathing conditions such as asthma, chronic lung conditions, tracheostomy and ventilation
Nervous system disorders such as cerebral palsy
Syndromes impacting on development
Reflux or other gastrointestinal disorders
 Sensory processing disorders
 Behavioural problems
Reflux or other gastrointestinal disorders
 Anatomical abnormalities such as cleft lip and/or palate; laryngomalacia; trachoesophageal fistula

Signs of Feeding and Swallowing Difficulties

Difficulty latching for breast or bottle feeding 
Fusses and cries often with mealtimes
Falls asleep when feeding or unable to wake for feeding 
Stiffens and/or arches their back when feeding 
Refuses to eat or drink
Requires force feeding or distractions to eat or drink
Mealtimes are long in duration
Your child will only eat certain textures and not age appropriate food
Difficulty chewing or transitioning to new textures
Struggles with breathing during feeding 
Not gaining weight adequately 
As a result, feeding disorders can result in poor nutrition, dehydration, aspiration (food or liquid going into the airway), recurrent pneumonia, anxiety and stress surrounding mealtimes.
Due to the multi-faceted nature of eating and/or drinking difficulties, it is important to note that this may need to be addressed holistically by a multidisciplinary team dependent on assessment findings (such as speech therapy, dietitian, occupational therapist, paediatrician, gastroenterologist, ear-nose-throat specialist, etc.)

At Thrive Therapy Services we provide assessment and therapy for children with feeding difficulties. Contact us for a consultation should you be concerned.