Is your baby refusing the bottle? Is your toddler a fussy eater? Does your infant have reflux? Is weaning a challenge? If so they could benefit from feeding therapy…
What is feeding therapy?
Feeding therapy is the treatment of difficulties with any aspect of eating or drinking. This may be a delay in the development of eating skills such as getting stuck only eating pureed foods, or could be a physical problem gagging or choking on foods. It may be reflux related whereby your child finds it hard to feed which makes feeding stressful for you and your baby. Feeding therapy typically involves the following steps...
Identifying the presenting issue and underlying cause which is done with a comprehensive specialist feeding and swallowing assessment
Identifying your short term and long term goals for your childs feeding and developing a plan together to achieve them
The therapy itself usually involves a degree of parent education. Feeding (even if your child is self feeding) is a dynamic process and involves the parent AND the infant or child. This is why its important to address any concerns, worries or fears you may have around your childs eating and to reframe them so they don't impact on your childs feeding experience. These may typically be worries that your child isn't eating enough, concerns about your childs growth, or fears that if your child doesn't feed or eat well in the day they won't sleep well at night.
Feeding therapy will be tailored to your childs individual needs. Treatments may include
changes to your infant/childs feeding routine (timings etc)
changes to the types of foods or milks your baby or child is eating or drinking
changes to the textures of the foods or drinks your child has
changes to the mealtime dynamic or mealtime environment eg use of distractions
use of techniques to enhance the quality of the feeding or develop new skills
Feeding therapy treatments may be supported by
provision of recipes or food/drink modification ideas
sample daily routines based around your childs typical day/night
modelling or demonstration of techniques to support your childs eating or feeding
I am experienced in treating all types of feeding issues...
Breast feeding and lactation
Preterm feeding difficulties
Bottle feeding challenges (including bottle refusal, reduced intake and extended feeding times)
Gagging, coughing and choking on food and drink
Dysphagia (swallowing problems)
Trouble with biting and chewing (oral motor difficulties)
Food phobia or fear of eating and trying food (food neophobia)
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
Medical conditions resulting in eating or feeding issues (e.g laryngomalacia, and cardiac conditions)
Developmental conditions impacting on eating and drinking (e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome)
Tube dependency and tube weaning (nasogastric and PEG)