Picky Eating vs. Problem Feeding

While mum is persistently trying to feed him, her son is resisting by blocking his mouth with his cute little hand.

Did you know that a wide range of studies suggest that 20% of children, on average, struggle with some type of feeding or growth issue during the first 5 years of life? That’s 1 out of every 5 children!

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Michelle Skeldon, MS, CCC-SLP, is a pediatric speech pathologist who specializes in feeding and swallowing disorders at Milford Regional Medical Center Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine. Contact info below.

Learning to eat is a developmental milestone that many children achieve without difficulty, however, there are a wide range of issues that can make

eating a difficult and stressful experience for kids and their families. These can include developmental delays, sensory issues, oral motor skill delays, and swallowing difficulties.

You may think that speech-language pathologists (SLP’s) can only help with communication and speech but they are also trained to help with eating and swallowing!

A speech-language pathologist can complete a clinical feeding evaluation to assess your child’s eating and provide helpful recommendations and, in some cases, weekly visits to help your child learn to eat appropriately.

Discuss a referral for a clinical feeding evaluation with your child’s pediatrician if:

  • Mealtimes last longer than 30 minutes and are considered stressful for the family
  • You are short-order cooking for your child because they will not eat the family meal

Or if your child:

  • Frequently gags on food
  •  Refuses to try most foods offered to him/her
  • Eats a limited number of foods (e.g., only eats “carbs” like snacks, pasta, and bread)
  • Requires a distraction during meals (e.g., will only eat while watching a video on an iPad)
  • Refuses most or all fruits and vegetables
  •  Will only eat foods of a certain brand or in certain packaging (e.g., will eat name brand Cheeze-It crackers but refuses the store brand)
  • Coughs or chokes while eating or drinking
Michelle conducts feeding evaluations and therapy at our location at 42 Cape Road in Milford. If you have or know a child who is having difficulty eating, discuss a referral for a clinical feeding evaluation with the child’s pediatrician. To schedule an appointment for a feeding evaluation, please call 508-422-2388.

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