The Early Learning Institute (TELI) | January 19th, 2015 |

Early Intervention Therapy for Feeding Problems (Pt.1)

early intervention and feeding challenges

Addressing Feeding Problems through Early Intervention Therapy

Early Intervention Therapy can be very helpful for children with feeding issues. teli’s Occupational Therapists provides some insights for  premature infants.

Do you have a Premature Infant with Feeding Issues?

Is your child just a picky eater or is there something more happening?

There is nothing more relaxing than cuddling up for a feeding time with your infant. Parents take great care in feeding their children the right food at the right time and enjoy seeing the progression from breast milk or formula to table foods and beyond. But what if a parent’s numerous attempts result in a frustrating experience for both parent and the child?

What resources are available through teli to address feeding issues?

teli Occupational Therapists work with families to help them understand and work through feeding challenges, whether it be a premature infant having difficulty latching onto Mom’s breast or a toddler not transitioning to table foods. Feeding issues are very difficult for parents.  Often they may feel inadequate in providing for their child’s most basic need. But Early Intervention Occupational Therapy can help!

What could be the cause of my premature infant’s feeding issues?

Assessing what exactly the particular cause of the feeding issue is the beginning step. In a premature infant, the delayed development of oral motor skills to enable them to manage a successful suck, swallow, and breath rhythm may be the primary challenge. In addition to the physical development, positional adjustments are essential to ensure both the child and parent are properly positioned to make feeding easier and less exhausting.  teli therapists are very familiar with these hurdles as well as the  potential solutions to help you address your premature infant’s feeding issues.

In addition to positional adjustments, oral motor stimulation that guide the lips, cheeks, jaw, and tongue can assist the infant to learn efficient sucking and help these families. Frequent feedings with positional support help to address the infant’s hunger and difficulty feeding for a prolonged time.  While easier said than done, patience is essential for both the infant and the parents.

What resources are available at teli to help my child?

At teli we have a team approach to work with the family and the child to transition your little one into new territory.  The team at teli includes Developmental Specialists, Physical Therapists, Nutritionists and Speech Therapists who work in conjunction with the Occupational Therapists to address specific issues you child may encounter. We have a breadth of experience with feeding issues.  Our approach is to give parents the strategies and tools specific to their child’s needs and provide a resource to give them peace of mind.

Some basic feeding strategies to consider:

  • Keep meal time to a reasonable time no longer than 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Keep meal routines regular including the setting and the time.
  • Don’t force feed your child.  You will both begin to associate meal time with tension and stress
  • Minimize distractions while eating. Turn off the television and make it a time for the family
  • Reduce empty calorie consumption. Juices  may fill them up to the point they aren’t hungry at meal time

Learn more about understanding developmental milestones for your child… and contact teli for help!

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