Infant Feeding Problems as a Birth Disorder Symptom

When It’s an Underlying Medical Condition

In some cases, infant feeding problems indicate that your child has a medical condition. In particular, swallowing disorders are common.  Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing and it can occur in different stages. The process of swallowing involves a number of stages.  In the oral stage, babies will chew or suck on their food. Next, in the pharyngeal stage, an infant swallows the food and it moves into the throat. The throat might close off in some cases in order to prevent chewing problems. Finally, there is the esophageal stage. This happens when the esophagus relaxes and tightens as a way of swallowing food. From here, it pushes the food into the stomach where it begins the process of digestion.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you notice feeding problems, it is important to contact your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible. When a feeding problem go untreated, it can turn into a serious health problem in which your child is not getting the right nutrients. Additionally, it is important to check with a pediatrician to make sure that your child doesn’t have an underlying birth injury, such as cerebral palsy.

How do doctors choose to treat this condition?  It depends on the circumstances. Often, doctors will recommend that you give your child medication. The doctor might also prescribe individualized feeding therapy, or they might suggest a nutritional change as well. If your child has an issue with trying new foods, the doctor may try to introduce him or her to new textures and suggest techniques for making food enjoyable, in an attempt to increase the amont of food consumption.

There are situations where a feeding problem can lead to hospitalization. It is crucial to always pay close attention to your child’s feeding habits and monitor them for changes. Any shift in eating habits may indicate that something  is wrong with your child’s health. In many circumstances, doctors can address the problem before it leads to hospitalization. Typically, your pediatricians, caregivers, and dieticians work together to address this problem before it becomes serious. Many times, this requires placing your child on a specific diet.

Article Citations

  1. How to approach feeding difficulties in young children, Korean J Pediatr