What is infant feeding?
- Infant feeding can improve your infant’s ability to coordinate their suck-swallow-breathe triad which is how they functionally drink from a bottle. This can include bottle/nipple changes, positional changes, environmental changes, and referrals to other professionals, such as GIs, nutritionists, OTs, and PTs.
- Your baby should be evaluated for feeding difficulties if they are younger than 1 year and are struggling to consume a developmentally appropriate amount of milk/formula, having a difficult transition to purées, or not accepting solid table foods.
What is lactation consulting?
- A Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC) is a professional in lactation counseling who is certified to provide breastfeeding counseling and management to families who are considering breastfeeding or have questions/problems during the course of breastfeeding.
- CLCs provide an individualized approach to breastfeeding counseling where each client is evaluated and treated with their personal concerns in mind.
- CLCs assess physical, nutritional, and psychosocial aspects and the mental status of the breastfeeding dyad of mother and baby.
- Pregnant women or mothers are the main client base for this specialty.
- CLCs can help with milk supply, difficulty latching, difficulty sustaining a feed, sore nipples, weaning from breastfeeding, helping mothers return to work, creating a positive dyad between mother and baby, educating the family on the importance of breastfeeding for the infant and the mother, engorged breasts, oversupply, struggling with nursing positions, difficulty with pumping, fears regarding any aspect of breastfeeding, mastitis, and how to recognize baby’s feeding cues.
How to Identify a feeding problem in my infant
BOTTLE – If your infant is
- Pulling away from the bottle,
- Refusing or skipping feedings
- Having excess spit up
- Not eating enough per day
- Arching their back while drinking
- Tongue clicking while drinking
- Leaking fluid from their mouth while drinking
- Coughing or gagging while drinking the bottle
- Showing difficulty latching or sustaining a latch
- Stopping for long breathing breaks while eating.
PURÉE/SPOON – If your infant/child is
- Refusing certain flavors of purée
- Gagging with thicker or textured purées
- Turning their head at the presentation of a spoon
- Crying when placed in their high chair
- Difficulty tolerating touching purée/having messy hands or face while eating
- Not mouthing toys or bringing their hands toward their mouth
- Not reaching towards the spoon as the parent tries to feed them
- Having a preference to drink from the bottle vs transition to eating purée
SOLIDS – If your infant/child is
- Not mouthing toys or placing items in their mouth
- Showing no interest in what you are eating, gagging or vomiting when tasting solid foods
- Not willing to touch solid foods
- Not moving their mouth in a munching pattern by 6-8 months of age
- If their tongue is not moving side to side
- If their jaw is not diagonally jutting while chewing by 12 months of age
- If they only like dry/crunchy snacks
- If they refuse all solids and only eat purée
- If they chew and then spit out harder to chew foods
- If they refuse to self-feed
- If they have brand specific or other food preferences (shape, color, temperature of food), they may need to be seen for an evaluation.
TEAM 4 Kids Making Feeding Easier for you and your Baby
At TEAM 4 Kids, our experts begin with an evaluation process that assesses your child as a whole. We consult with a multidisciplinary team to ensure that all the reasons why your child won’t eat are identified and treated. Our Team consists of Speech-language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Feeding Therapists, Behavior Analysts, and Physical Therapists. We are all committed to helping every parent improve their child’s growth and ability to receive nutrition.