For the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts with a focus on issues related to feeding – how to know what’s normal for your infant and toddler or when to seek help. This week’s installment focuses on bottle and breast feeding. Future posts will discuss reflux and spoon feeding readiness, pacifiers and sippy cups, and picky eaters.
Is mealtime a stressor for you?
Many parents of newborns and toddlers have difficulty with getting their child to eat enough (and efficiently) at each feeding and these issues can cause stress. Since babies and toddlers are unable to tell us exactly what the problem is, we have to watch for various signs and symptoms to determine what their struggles are. Little ones may have deficits with oral motor coordination skills and/or swallowing function that can have a large impact on their feeding efforts.
Here are ten quick questions to consider to make sure your baby is developing healthy oral movement patterns:
- Does your baby take longer than 30 minutes to feed (bottle or breast)?
- How often are you feeding your baby?
- Do they latch to the (bottle or breast) nipple right away?
- Do they look relaxed/calm during feeds?
- Is the milk splashing out of their mouth?
- Do they fall asleep before you can finish the feed?
- Does your baby spit up frequently after feeds?
- Is your baby’s skin changing color when feeding?
- Is your baby taking frequent breaks throughout each feed? Does their breathing change when feeding?
- Have you had to try multiple bottle nipples?
Even though feeding issues can be serious, all of these symptoms can be improved with intervention, and the earlier the better. If your baby has any of these signs/symptoms, consider talking to a licensed speech pathologist/feeding specialist to make sure your baby is not at risk for serious complications or feeding concerns.
Many of our therapists at Kid’s Creek Therapy have feeding experience and some are trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about how we can help your child, contact us for a free consultation.
Jessica Orlick, MS, CCC-SLP
Photo Courtesy of Rick Carter/flickr. Title banner added.