Feeding is the earliest form of communication between parents and their newborn baby, and many of the muscles used for feeding are also responsible for speech. As babies learn to drink and eat, they are laying the foundations for their communication development.
What are feeding difficulties?
Babies, toddlers and older children can have problems sucking, swallowing and/or chewing. Sometimes this occurs due to delays in development, or from difficulties moving the muscles of the tongue, lips and jaw. Children may cough, choke or gag during meals, or they may have difficulties making the transition to solid foods. Some children can have problems adjusting to new foods and different textures. At times it can be difficult for children to make the transition to cup drinking or self-feeding, and to join in at family mealtimes.
Feeding difficulties can be stressful for the child as well as the family. Struggles with feeding and eating can have a significant impact on a child’s health and development.
How can Speech Pathologists help?
Speech Pathologists have training and experience in the anatomy (tongue, lips, and jaw) for feeding and swallowing, as well as communication development. Speech Pathologists can assist with diagnosing feeding and swallowing difficulties, and providing recommendations and strategies for management. This is often done in conjunction with your child’s GP, or other supporting health professionals, such as Lactation Consultants, Occupational Therapists or Dietitians.
Lindfield Speech Pathology provides assessment and therapy for babies, toddlers and children with feeding and swallowing difficulties.
Some of the feeding problems we work with include:
- Difficulties with breastfeeding or bottle feeding
- Sucking or swallowing difficulties during feeding
- Transitioning to solid foods
- Managing lumpy foods or finger foods
- Self feeding
- Food refusal or aversions
- Fussy or selective eating
- Fatigue during meals
- Difficulties with family mealtimes
Contact Us for more information.