Pediatric Feeding Therapy

It’s not uncommon for children to turn their noses up at certain foods: Approximately 20 percent of parents identify their 2- to 5-year-old kids as picky eaters, according to WebMD. However, if mealtimes are a constant struggle and you’re concerned that your child’s issues with eating could affect their health and well-being, you might want to consider pediatric feeding therapy.

Signs Your Child Needs Feeding Therapy

This type of treatment might benefit your child if they display the following signs, symptoms and behaviors:

  • Gagging, choking or spitting up frequently during meals
  • Refusing to eat more than 20 different foods
  • Getting tired of specific foods and no longer accepting them
  • Insisting on only eating foods with specific textures, tastes or temperatures
  • Not eating entire food groups such as vegetables, fruits or meats
  • Needing to leave the room in the presence of non-preferred foods or not allowing those foods on their plate
  • Losing weight or failing to gain weight at a healthy rate
  • Feeding complicated by diarrhea, frequent vomiting, constipation, eczema or other rashes
  • Relying on milk for the majority of nutrition after 1 year old
  • Crying or having trouble breathing while feeding
  • Taking small bites and only drinking small amounts
  • Refusing to eat or drink at all
  • Experiencing sensory issues such as difficulty eating in a noisy environment

What Causes Feeding Issues

There are numerous reasons why children might have trouble eating and swallowing, including the following, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA):

  • Sensory processing issues
  • Breathing difficulties stemming from asthma and other conditions
  • Face and neck muscle weakness
  • Stomach issues such as reflux
  • Nervous system conditions such as cerebral palsy
  • Behavioral problems
  • Cleft lip or palate

Treatment for Feeding and Swallowing Disorders

Trained pediatric speech or occupational therapists can help your child overcome problems with eating and swallowing through feeding therapy. Our therapists develop specialized treatment plans based on each patient’s unique needs and symptoms, in coordination with parents and caregivers. If a child’s feeding issues negatively affect their health and development, individualized oral-motor and sensory therapy can address and improve sensitivity to various tastes, textures and temperatures.

To learn more about pediatric feeding therapy, please contact our therapists by calling 847-707-6744 or emailing