Feeding

Fostering enjoyable and rewarding mealtime relationships for the whole family.

Feeding challenges in children and babies is an area of great stress for parents as well as their child. Our goal is to educate and inspire the family to be able to understand and support their child’s feeding difficulties, to foster enjoyable and rewarding mealtime relationships for the whole family.

Our team includes speech pathologists who are specifically trained and experienced in assessing and managing a range of feeding problems in infants and children from birth to 18 years, including training in:

  • Bobath Therapy
  • NIDCAP training (Newborn Individualised Developmental Care and Assessment Program framework)
  • Paediatric FEES (Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing)
  • Paediatric VFSS (Video fluoroscopic swallow study)
  • SOS approach to feeding.

What We Do

Feeding problems can be attributed to a range of factors:
Assessment

By dynamic assessment, Inner West Paediatrics therapists seek to understand the underlying causes and to pinpoint any areas that may be contributing to feeding or swallowing challenges. A specific treatment plan is then developed in collaboration with the family, and implemented in partnership with all the important people in a child’s life with the aim to develop practical and beneficial feeding plans and strategies to foster positive, enjoyable and rewarding mealtimes and feeding experiences.

Assessment will closely look at the child’s birth, medical and developmental history, oral anatomy and movement of the lips, jaw, tongue and palate, feeding experiences and history, feeding and swallowing skills, diet and potential feeding options.

Management options will be explored with the family with the aim to develop practical and beneficial feeding plans and techniques that will foster safe, effective, skill building and independent feeding for the child and family.

Areas we can support you for successful feeding

Inner West Paediatrics feeding therapists have experience in infant and toddler feeding problems (0-3 years), as well as eating and swallowing difficulties in preschool and school-age children (3-12 years).

Some of the feeding problems that we work with include:

  • Difficulties with breastfeeding or bottle feeding
  • Sucking, swallowing or breathing difficulties during feeding
  • Coughing, choking or gagging on fluid or solid foods
  • Poor endurance & fatigue during breast or bottle feeding
  • Difficulty transitioning to solids, lumps or finger foods
  • Chewing or oral motor problems
  • Fussy, picky, anxious or selective eating
  • Feed refusal or distress with feeding and mealtimes
  • Oral aversions or feeding aversions
  • Tube feeding and tube dependency
  • Stressful mealtimes & mealtime battles

Areas of Specific Experience

Breast feeding

Attachment problems

Long/ineffective feeds

Sucking difficulties

Poor weight gain

Poor breast drainage and mastitis

Sore/cracked nipples

Coughing/gagging during feeds

Infant/parental distress at feed times

The need to compliment breast feeds with bottle feeding

Bottle feeding

Reduced co-ordination of sucking and swallowing

Poor intake

Reduced efficiency

Loss of fluid during feeding

Coughing/gagging/choking

Poor weight gain

Bottle refusal

Drinking

Coughing/gagging

Liquid loss Difficulty with a cup or straw

Poor liquid intake

Refusal of cup

Difficulty drinking independently

Aspiration requiring modified feeds

Solids

Refusal of solid textures

Gagging on foods (especially mashed or lumpy solids)

Difficulty transitioning to age appropriate textures

Slow tedious meals

Poor intake of solids or particular textures

Difficulty chewing

Fussy eating or limited range of foods eaten

Refusal to self-feed with spoon or fingers

Refusal to handle foods at mealtimes

Fussy eating and managing toddler mealtimes

Oral/Tube Feeding

Your child is fed via a tube and you
need advice with:

Oral and tube feeding options ( in terms of selection and provision of appropriate food and liquid textures and types).

Feeding plans whilst a child is on tube feeding or a combination of oral and tube feeds.

A tube weaning program in conjunction with a Dietitian.

Ways to develop feeding skills so your child is able to transition from tube to oral feeding (eg sucking, biting, chewing, drinking