Many parents worry about their baby’s food intake, whether breast- or bottle-feeding or trying to transition to solids or from tube to oral feedings. It can be a very isolating and frustrating experience. Here at The Women's Center our team of skilled Occupational and Speech therapist's can provide a specific treatment plan to get your baby back on track. The approach to infant feeding therapy is holistic, examining multiple factors that can influence success, including sensory processing concerns, positioning difficulties, and/or oral-motor skill deficits (like sucking difficulties) that are making feeding problematic.
Consider an infant feeding therapy evaluation if the following signs/symptoms are noted:
Difficulties with breastfeeding?
Nipple damage ( cracking, bleeding, bruising, misshapen nipple when unlatching)
Repeated bouts of mastitis or plugged ducts
Pain when nursing that continues throughout the feeding
Decreased milk supply
Discouragement with breastfeeding
Difficulty achieving a good latch despite help from a lactation consultant on positioning, technique, etc.
“Lazy” nurser or falls asleep quickly with feedings
Excessively frequent feeding
Decreased weight gain
Fussiness at breast/colic
Profuse suck blisters on the lips
Difficulty flanging lip or opening mouth widely for latch
Poor latch or shallow latch
Latches well initially but slides down the nipple repeatedly during a feeding
Clicking noise when sucking
Difficulties with bottle feeding?
Coughing, choking, or gagging during feedings
Feedings take excessively long (30+ minutes)
Clicking when sucking or appears to chew the nipple
Frustration when feeding (i.e. crying, unlatching repeatedly from bottle)
Spillage from corners of mouth when feeding
Wide jaw excursions that interrupt the seal on the nipple when sucking
Poor weight gain
Difficulties with transitioning to solids?
Most babies transition to table foods and cup/straw drinking between 10-14 months; there is a wide range of “normal” based on individual differences and exposures. However, the following red flags may indicate the need for a skilled evaluation to determine if there is an underlying issue inhibiting a baby’s ability to transition from a bottle or breast feeding to solids/cup drinking:
Prolonged gagging with exposures to new foods or attempts to chew foods (gagging is normal in the process of learning to eat, but should fade quickly with exposure to new foods)
Refusing/turning head away with attempts from an adult to feed
Appears interested in new foods but vomits or gags when places them in the mouth
Appears distressed with exposure to new foods
Resists touching or tasting new foods consistently
Appears to suck on foods vs. chewing them
Takes a prolonged period of time to chew foods
Crying/agitation routinely during mealtimes
Unable to transition to a cup or straw from a bottle
Accepts limited variety of foods
Coughing/choking when feeding
History of not putting objects in the mouth for exploration (non-food)