I often have parents ask me "Would my child benefit from a feeding evaluation or feeding therapy?”. According to FeedingMatters.org, a pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) is defined as "impaired oral intake that is not age-appropriate and is associated with medical, nutritional, feeding skill, and/or psychosocial dysfunction." It's estimated that 1 in 37 children under the age of 5 are affected by pediatric feeding disorders.
So I wanted to share some common feeding difficulties that warrant seeking out a feeding specialist to assess your child:
1. Frequently coughing and choking while eating and drinking.
2. Always in distress during meal times
3. Has less than 15 foods in their diet or only eats foods from limited food groups. (This isn’t a strict red flag but overall if your child has a very limited diet, they may benefit from an evaluation)
4. Pocketing food in their cheeks or unsafely always overstuffing their mouth
5. Not eating enough to meet nutritional needs or gain weight appropriately.
6. Prolonged use of bottle (past 16 months), and difficulties transitioning to solid foods
7. Enteral feeding (NGtube, Gtube, GJtube, etc.)
8. Difficulty bottle feeding or breastfeeding
9. Difficulty with feeding and swallowing due to a complex medical diagnosis
Feeding therapy can be helpful for any age. If you have concerns about your child’s feeding development, always consult with your child’s doctor or call Childworks Therapy Clinic to voice your concerns. Our therapists are specialty trained in helping children with feeding and swallowing difficulties. It's our goal to help children and families feel confident during meal times!