Everyone who’s fed a baby knows that if they occasionally spit up or refuse to eat, it shouldn’t be cause for alarm. But if an infant regularly shows signs that they are having difficulty eating, they may have a feeding problem. In this blog we’ll discuss symptoms of feeding disorders, what may cause them, and how they might be managed.
What are symptoms of a feeding disorder?
While different babies will show different symptoms, common ones include:
- Refusing to eat and drink
- Arching the back while feeding
- Long feeding times
- Chewing problems
- Drooling problems
- Coughing or gagging during feeding
- Trouble coordinating eating, drinking, and breathing
- Poor weight gain
- Frequent spitting up
- Crying while feeding
- A stuffy nose while eating
What could be causing their feeding disorder?
Feeding disorders can have a number of causes, including:
- Acid reflux
- Premature birth
- Airway abnormalities
- Heart disease
- Muscle weakness
- Nervous system disorders
- Medicinal side effects
How do we treat my child’s feeding disorder?
Your child’s doctor can run tests to see what might be causing your baby’s feeding problem. However, it is important to remember that feeding is a complex process that involves many different body systems, CEENTA pediatric ENT doctor Jad Jabbour, MD, MPH, said.
“It may sometimes take several providers and several tests to figure out the reason for a child’s difficulty,” Dr. Jabbour said. “When problems with any part of the airway are suspected to be contributing to the feeding difficulty, evaluation and treatment with an ENT can be very helpful.”
Your child’s doctors may recommend a number of different treatments, depending on what the source of the problem is. This can range from changing the temperature and texture of your child’s food to medical treatment to physical therapy to surgery. If airway abnormalities or breathing difficulties are thought to be at least part of the problem, an ENT will be an important part of the treatment team.
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