A feeding difficulty is a complex medical condition. Feeding issues can result in poor growth, nutrient deficiencies as well as developmental delays. Due to the fact that the process of feeding involves numerous systems throughout the body, addressing the issue is multi-faceted. Feeding difficulties can stem from various issues, such as dysphagia, reflux, history of intubation and/or feeding tubes (such as in a NICU stay), food allergies or anxiety.
Feeding difficulties are very challenging for a large majority of families. Parents may become frustrated, overwhelmed and stressed. At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, we have a unique, multi-disciplinary approach to treating feeding difficulties that provides a more effective treatment result.
The feeding team is comprised of four members that represent the following disciplines:
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The following are common reasons for referral to a feeding team for evaluation (1):
- Limited variety of accepted food/selectivity. See my previous blog on “Problem Feeders”.
- Limited volume of accepted foods. The child takes very small bites of certain food and then pushes it away.
- Food refusal, including from the bottle or breast during infancy.
- Gagging, coughing and/or choking with meals.
- Difficulty progressing with table food.
- Aversion to certain food textures.
- Vomiting with meals.
- Poor feeding skills or inability to chew and swallow well.
- Fear or anxiety when eating certain foods or new foods.
If you or your child’s doctor is concerned with feeding issues, please contact a Family Child Advocate at North Shore Pediatric Therapy to schedule a feeding team evaluation for your child. Based on the evaluation, the team will recommend a plan for treatment in which disciplines may need to be involved. Although not all cases will require all disciplines to be involved for treatment, a thorough assessment from a strong multi-disciplinary team will ensure that your child will experience the best possible outcome.
1. Cerezo CS, Lobato DJ, PInkos B, LeLeiko NS. Diagnosis and treatment of pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders: the team approach. Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition. 2011;3(8):321-323.