Healthy eating begins early in life.....
Feeding and eating sounds simple, yet there are many non-typical children who have challenging feeding behaviors. It’s easy to get frustrated, lose patience and resort to controlling behavior in order to get children to eat. This often results a power struggle between child and caregiver, and rarely helps children learn to be functional eaters.
Children who struggle with eating and feeding may:
- seem irritable and stubborn
- act stressed at mealtime (takes quick shallow breaths, skin changes color, pupils widen, looks worried, seems agitated)
- have unclear hunger and satiety (full) cues – it might be hard to know if the child is hungry, full or something in between
- be labeled “at risk” for nutritional intake or poor weight gain
- eat very small amounts of food or very large amounts food
- be a picky eater with texture, consistency, flavor, etc. and new foods
- be a messy eater; spits, gags and plays with food
- have neuromuscular and/or cognitive limitations
- have had frequent hospitalizations which resulted in delayed progression with feeding
- have been in a feeding program and is transitioning to home feeding
- be transitioning from a feeding tube to oral feeding
If your child struggles with food, learning how to help your child be a successful eater early in life can reduce the chances of these struggles turning into seriously disordered eating later in life.