Children's Hospital Colorado

Feeding and Swallowing Problems in Children

What is a feeding and swallowing problem?

A feeding or swallowing problem affects a child's ability to eat or drink in a developmentally appropriate and safe way. Feeding difficulties may affect many aspects of a child's health, development, growth, nutrition and overall well-being. The impact of a feeding problem can weigh heavily on a child’s family. A swallowing problem may affect a child's ability to swallow foods and liquids safely, putting them at risk for choking.

What causes feeding and swallowing problems?

A wide range of issues can lead to feeding and swallowing problems including medical conditions, interruption in normal feeding development, developmental delays, pain and abnormalities in anatomy.

Who can have feeding and swallowing problems?

Children with developmental or medical issues are at the highest risk for having a feeding problem. Examples of these children are infants or toddlers who were born premature, have had medical therapies interrupt normal feeding development, children with esophageal, gastrointestinal or aerodigestive disease, children with neurologic disease, and children with developmental delays or behavioral concerns.

Contact the Pediatric Rehabilitation department

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