Feeding & Swallowing
How do I know if my baby is hungry?
Some signs of readiness to feed are:
- Your baby is awake or is more active before it is time to eat
- If baby is awake but crying, you can use a pacifier to calm him/her before feeding
- If baby is asleep he/she is easy to wake up by changing the diaper or blanket, or giving a pacifier
- Arms and legs are close to body
- Sucking on hands and pacifier
- Rooting (looking for the nipple)
What are some signs of distress during feedings?
- Color change (pale, blue, or blotchy)
- Increased sleepiness or sagging cheeks and chin, which may mean your baby does not have the energy to continue.
- Restlessness, increased fussiness or crying, and/or arching back
- Wrinkled forehead
- Fingers stretched out
- Yawning or hiccupping
- Drooling, spitting up
- Breathing problems (nasal flaring, grunting, retractions)
What can I do to help my baby eat successfully?
- Dim lights, no talking, don't rock, and move baby quickly
- Swaddle your baby in blankets with his/her hands near the face
- Touch the baby's lips with the nipple and wait for him/her to turn toward the nipple and open the mouth. This is known as rooting.
- If the baby does not root, then your baby is saying he/she is not ready to eat at this time.
- Let your baby decide when to suck and when to breathe.
What harmful interventions should I be aware of?
The following may be harmful to your baby:
- Forcing the nipple into baby's mouth.
- Pumping milk into baby's mouth.
- Pushing the nipple against the roof of the mouth or twisting or turning the nipple into the baby's mouth.
- Moving the baby's jaw or squeezing the cheeks.
- Pushing the baby to feed during a pause.
- Continuing to feed if the baby is showing signs of distress.
Speech-Language Pathologists are available to serve all age groups. Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Services include:
- Performing *videofluoroscopic swallow studies to determine whether your child is aspirating (the entry of food/liquid into the airway)
*A videofluoroscopic swallow study examines the flow of solids and liquids during swallowing. During the examination (x-ray) different consistencies of food/liquid are mixed with barium and fed via bottle or spoon. The anatomy and physiology of the swallow is then determined.
Recommendations and interventions may include:
- Determining appropriate nipple types and sizes for your child.
- Determining appropriate liquid consistency.
- Demonstrating appropriate feeding positions.
- Demonstrating oral stimulation to aid in feeding success.
For more information, please contact a Speech-Language Pathologist at any of the following Professional Therapy Services locations.