Feeding and Swallowing Problems: Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of feeding and swallowing problems?

  • Chronic poor growth
  • Compromised nutritional status or malnourishment
  • Food refusal/picky eating
  • Decreased variety and volume of oral intake
  • Choking, gagging, coughing and vomiting while eating
  • Inability to chew/swallow
  • Delayed attainment of self-feeding skills
  • Behavioral or learned feeding problems

Children who have been using a feeding tube for feeding may have difficulty developing or may even lose their oral skills needed for feeding without a feeding tube. Some children may have trouble transitioning back to oral feeding from the tube.

What are the signs and symptoms of a feeding and swallowing problem?

  • Coughing or choking while eating or immediately after eating
  • History of chronic lung problems (for example diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia)
  • Vocal cord dysfunction
  • Food being suctioned out of the child’s tracheotomy
  • Difficultly gaining weight thought to be the result of oral motor or pharyngeal dysfunction
  • Difficulty initiating a swallow