Swallowing and Feeding Disorders in Children and Adults

Children as little as pre-term and newborn babies may suffer from an inability to latch, suck or swallow. We are able to assist and are proud to say that we are now stockists of Medela products. Two of our favourite tools to use is the:

Haberman Special Needs Feeder

This bottle is unique and will be offered to our babies who suffer from severe reflux, has a cleft lip/palate, elevated hard palate or related structural deformities.

Supplemental Nursing System (SNS)

This device helps with our babies who struggle to latch and suck sufficiently to get milk out of the breast. This can be attached to a mother’s nipples or be used alternatively to finger feed.

What are some signs or symptoms of feeding and swallowing disorders in children?

Children with feeding and swallowing problems have a wide variety of symptoms. Not all signs and symptoms are present in every child.

The following are signs and symptoms of feeding and swallowing problems in very young children:

  • arching or stiffening of the body during feeding
  • irritability or lack of alertness during feeding
  • refusing food or liquid
  • failure to accept different textures of food (e.g., only pureed foods or crunchy cereals)
  • long feeding times (e.g., more than 30 minutes)
  • difficulty chewing
  • difficulty breast feeding
  • coughing or gagging during meals
  • excessive drooling or food/liquid coming out of the mouth or nose
  • difficulty coordinating breathing with eating and drinking
  • increased stuffiness during meals
  • gurgly, hoarse, or breathy voice quality
  • frequent spitting up or vomiting
  • recurring pneumonia or respiratory infections
  • less than normal weight gain or growth
As a result, children may be at risk for:

  • dehydration or poor nutrition
  • aspiration (food or liquid entering the airway) or penetration
  • pneumonia or repeated upper respiratory infections that can lead to chronic lung disease
  • embarrassment or isolation in social situations involving eating
What are some signs or symptoms of swallowing disorders in Adults?

Several diseases, conditions, or surgical interventions can result in swallowing problems.

General signs may include:

  • coughing during or right after eating or drinking
  • wet or gurgly sounding voice during or after eating or drinking
  • extra effort or time needed to chew or swallow
  • food or liquid leaking from the mouth or getting stuck in the mouth
  • recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating
  • weight loss or dehydration from not being able to eat enough
As a result, adults may have:

  • poor nutrition or dehydration
  • risk of aspiration (food or liquid entering the airway), which can lead to pneumonia and chronic lung disease
  • less enjoyment of eating or drinking
  • embarrassment or isolation in social situations involving eating

For more information on a demonstration of our Medela products or for more information on feeding, feel free to contact us.

Also reference www.asha.org for more information on feeding.