Children's Hospital Colorado

Infant Feeding and Swallowing Problems (S2:E6)

Feeding an infant brings about joys and challenges for every family. Infant eating can also lead to parental concern for a variety of reasons, and it's even possible for issues to appear in babies who are otherwise developing typically.

When a child is facing developmental delays, however, the likelihood of feeding and swallowing problems in infancy increases substantially. It can be difficult for babies to coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing, which can lead to further problems such as choking, coughing and the inability to complete a feeding.

Listen to experts on pediatric feeding discuss swallowing problems in babies

In this episode, we discuss the identification and treatment of feeding and swallowing problems in babies with Laura Pickler, MD, and Nancy Creskoff Maune. Dr. Pickler is the Chief of Family Medicine and Medical Director of the Feeding and Swallowing Program at Children's Hospital Colorado. Nancy is an occupational therapist in the program with an extensive background in the evaluation and treatment of infants and children with feeding and swallowing problems.

As Dr. Pickler and Nancy explain, prompt identification of swallowing problems is crucial. If intervention occurs early enough, pediatricians can prevent problems from worsening.

In this episode, our experts discuss:

  • How to recognize the signs of feeding and swallowing problems in babies
  • The most common presentations of feeding difficulties that primary care pediatricians encounter with infant eating
  • Differentiating between feeding problems versus swallowing problems in babies
  • The visual and auditory signs of pediatric swallowing and feeding problems
  • The referral criteria for a videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS)
  • Different approaches to feeding and swallowing issues for breastfed versus bottle-fed babies
  • Approaching feeding and swallowing problems in a breastfeeding baby whose mom is returning to work
  • Questions to ask and what to look for to avoid missing crucial problems
  • The importance of observing a feeding to evaluate mealtime behavior, stressors and physical findings
  • A primary care physician's toolbox of questions surrounding feedings
  • Recommended resources on feeding and swallowing for pediatricians

Treating feeding and swallowing problems in babies at Children's Colorado

When infant eating doesn't come easily, the whole family can be affected. The pediatric feeding experts at Children's Colorado provide a comprehensive, family-centered approach to the assessment and treatment of feeding and/or swallowing-related difficulties. Our clinic team includes physicians, nurses, speech-language therapists, occupational therapists and social workers who work together to provide the comprehensive support babies and parents need. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.

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