Feeding your child is something you do many times every day, and if it isn’t going well everyone in the family can suffer. From newborn babies having trouble latching to school-age kids with limited diets and high anxiety about trying new foods, Focused on Feeding is dedicated to helping families in Anderson, SC and the surrounding communities get to the bottom of the challenges and on track to great eating.
Feeding and swallowing is a complex process that depends on all of the systems of the body working well together.
- to be able to manage our breathing as we shift between using our throat for food and air
- enough strength and postural control to keep our body stable
- a digestive system that keeps food moving, and moving in the right direction
- countless muscles in the lips, cheeks, jaw, tongue and throat that can work together to get food into the mouth and safely on the way to the stomach
- to be able to manage the sights, sounds, smells and textures of the mealtime experience
A breakdown in any of the areas above can cause a feeding problem to start and help it to continue. There can be (and often is) more than one factor involved. And while a feeding or swallowing problem almost always has its roots in something physical, even tiny babies quickly learn behaviors to keep themselves feeling safe and comfortable during feeding. This means that we need to take a close look at medical history, feeding history, motor skills, sensory processing, routines and behavior when we’re trying to understand a feeding problem and make it better.
Here is one thing to keep in mind:
YOU DID NOT CAUSE YOUR CHILD’S FEEDING OR SWALLOWING PROBLEM.
But there might be some changes recommended, based in the evidence and in keeping with your family goals and values.
What does feeding and swallowing therapy look like? That depends!
It might involve:
- Helping a breastfeeding mom and baby work on positioning and latch to improve milk transfer
- Finding the right equipment and strategies for a baby with a cleft palate eat safely and efficiently
- Working on the skills needed for introduction and advancement of “by mouth” trials for babies who are tube fed
- Learning to transition to textured and solid food
- Building mealtime routines and strategies to reduce “picky eating”
- Supporting kids with highly limited diets through the anxiety that comes with trying new foods