A Quick Primer on Feeding and Swallowing Disorders in Infancy

It is not unusual for infants to have certain food-related issues. This can include but are not limited to difficulty in sucking breastmilk, spitting up, rejecting any kind of new food and most commonly, refusing to eat at certain times. Some of them may also have problems with grabbing the food properly, inability to chew and suck etc. Let’s go through some of the essential pointers that will tell you more and help you decide whether or not you need to opt for swallowing therapy for children

Dysphagia can occur at Different Stages:

Dysphagia is the medical term for feeding and swallowing disorders in infancy or in adults. Talking about infants, it is divided into various stages such as:

  • Oral Stage: This stage consists of chewing, sucking, moving foods and/or the liquids down the throat. But this is difficult for them.
  • Pharyngeal Stage: In this stage, the infant starts to swallow and move the food down their throat. The mechanism is such that the food doesn’t enter the airway and hence, there is no choking.
  • Esophageal Stage: In this stage, the openings of the esophagus relaxes and tightens, thereby pushing the food in the stomach.

If there is an issue in any of these stages you need to opt for feeding and swallowing therapy. Next up, look at some common signs and symptoms, which will help you make an informed decision:

How to detect problems with infant feeding and swallowing

Some of the sure-shot ways to detect eating disorders in your baby include:

  • Being extra fussy or lacking alertness while feeding
  • Refusing to eat certain liquid food items
  • Difficulty in eating different textures of food
  • Moving the body and the back during feeding
  • Long feeding times
  • Issues in chewing
  • Frequent coughing or gagging during feeding
  • Lots of drooling
  • Frequently spitting the food or throwing up
  • Poor weight gain or growth issues
  • Recurring pneumonia
  • Nasal stuffiness and hoarse/breathy voice

Calling it a Day

These symptoms also tell us that the infants who have feeding and swallowing issues are at an increased risk of dehydration, lung diseases and suffer from poor nutrition. If you find any of these signs in your baby, you need to contact a therapist who can help you diagnose the exact problem accurately. They will use their expertise to make sure that your little one can eat properly and therefore, get all the essential nutrients. Now that you have a fair share of knowledge on this, you can also help other moms and their kids, should you see them having similar problems? For more such write-ups, keep watching this space.