How can feeding therapy help my child?
Research has supported that individuals with the following diagnoses and/or medical histories can benefit from feeding therapy services:
-Autism spectrum Disorders
-Sensory Processing Disorders
-Failure to thrive/low weight
-History of aspiration
We understand that having a child with feeding challenges is tough. You might feel confused, frustrated, or even defeated. These are common and valid emotions, but it does not need to stay this way! It is important to know that you are not alone. As a team, we can and will develop a plan to help you and your child reach your greatest potential. It is our goal to help you feel empowered, confident, and competent when it comes to feeding your child!
Breastfeeding and/or Bottle-feeding: As the main source of nutrition/hydration for infants, it is worrisome when there are difficulties with breast and/or bottle feeding. Your child might have difficulty latching or sustaining a latch, coordinating breathing with sucking and swallowing, coughing, crying, frequent spit-up and/or need for burping breaks. As a mother, you might feel pain, discomfort, failure, or frustration when your child is having difficulty. It is important to remember that it is not your fault and you are not failing because your baby is having difficulties with feeding skills. We are here to help you navigate these challenges and benefit from the positive interactions that are to be had during feeds, including the emotional bonding that occurs in a stress-free feeding environment.
Transition from Tube/Button Feeding to Oral Feeding: When your child relies on alternative means of nutrition, it can feel permanent and daunting. We believe in partnering with the child’s entire care team and caregivers to strategize a plan to safely and systematically wean off of the tube feedings if the patient is medically ready to do so. First and foremost, a thorough evaluation is necessary to determine if your child is ready to handle the acceptance and manipulation of certain textures, and consume an adequate volume of foods/liquids orally to sustain adequate growth and development.
Limited Diets With/Without Reliance on Nutritional Supplements: We understand that daytime routines can be difficult if your child's food inventory is extremely limited or if they are reliant on nutritional supplements. It is instinctual to feed your child at any means necessary, even if that means junk food all day. Change is possible when we work as a team and meet your child at their current skill level. We strive to create a therapeutic environment where you and your child can be comfortable handling and exploring food together, to build confidence in tasting that food and expanding their food inventories. We do not believe in force-feeding. Treatment may focus on shaping the mealtime environment, responses and modifications when a child refuses, building necessary oral motor skills, and finding your child’s safe level of “yes” that still encourages progress. Right Bite is here to see you and your child through the process.
Concerns for Lack of Weight Gain: There are many factors that can contribute to a child’s inability to gain weight appropriately and/or a diagnosis of Failure to Thrive (FTT), including but not limited to underlying medical etiologies, gastrointestinal issues, food allergies, and/or feeding problems. Oftentimes, it takes an interdisciplinary team approach to determine the reason a child is having difficulty gaining weight. Having a feeding therapist on your child’s team is vital because the feeding therapist can help your child achieve the functional skills needed to consume food/liquids orally. The feeding therapist will also serve as an advocate for your child and communicate directly with the rest of the relevant medical team regarding your child’s care.
Texture Advancement: Introducing and advancing your baby from purees to solids can be tough - just walk through any baby food aisle! While recommendations made by baby food companies are good for some, they may not be the best fit for all children. We acknowledge that there are a lot of approaches to introducing solids, and although they are all with great intent, going in “full throttle” with one approach might not be the best fit for your new eater! If your child is gagging, choking, throat clearing, spitting out food, refusing to participate in meals, or vomiting, your child may benefit from a thorough feeding evaluation to rule out any skill-based issues. Some children benefit from a structured texture advancement program with a feeding therapist. We are here to help you through advancing your child’s journey to solid foods.
Stress at Mealtimes: Mealtimes should be a positive time for you and your child to engage, connect, and explore. The sad reality is that many caregivers report feeling stressed and defeated after mealtimes. We are here to help support you and your child through the challenges of mealtimes, and turn them into strengths! Mealtimes are not meant to be hard, if you are feeling stressed or confused as to whether your child would benefit from feeding therapy, give us a call to discuss your child’s journey - we’d love to hear from you!
It is our number one priority to help your child unlock their full potential and establish sustainable skills for optimal growth, brain development, and overall health for a lifetime.
If you are ready to help your child unlock their greatest potential, call us at (210) 256-9859. We are ready to start this exciting journey with you!