Infants and children sometimes have trouble learning to eat and swallow correctly. If your baby or child is having trouble with breast or bottle feeding, or seems to be a picky eater as you introduce solid foods, Melissa can help teach you and your baby strategies to improve PO intake and mealtimes.


Symptoms

Melissa provides clinical services and support to parents and infants who struggle with breastfeeding and/or bottle-feeding. Common symptoms treated include:

- Weak suck
- Loss of milk
- Shallow latch
- Slips off the nipple
- Clicking or gulping sounds
- Excessive drooling
- Bottle refusal
- Gassiness
- Discomfort after feeds
- Only feeds when asleep or when soft music is played
- Gagging, coughing or choking on saliva or milk
- Painful nursing
- Constipation or reflux
- Muscle weakness
- Tracheomalacia or laryngomalacia
- Gumming or chewing nipple
- Poor weight gain
- Prolonged feeding times
- Falls asleep during feeds
- Inability to breastfeed without a nipple shield
- Snoring, noisy breathing or mouth breathing
- Decreasing milk supply

Difficulties of sucking in infants may occur due to: lack of sucking reflexes which decrease the suction force, frenulum restriction, lack of coordination between the actions of sucking, swallowing and breathing; improper positioning of the mother and /or the baby; absence of sealing (closing) of the lips around the breast nipple, and inadequate movement of tongue and jaw during breast feeding.

Treatment

After completing a comprehensive feeding assessment, Melissa may recommend feeding therapy to remediate areas of need. During treatment Melissa may work on:

- Oral motor skills (ex. chewing, biting, tongue movement)
- Breast and/or bottle feeding skills
- Improving latch for breast and bottle feedings
- Changing the nipple used for bottle feedings
- Helping your child coordinate the suck-swallow-breath pattern better
- Cup drinking
- Eating foods with more/mixed texture (ex. mac-n-cheese, yogurt with pieces of fruit) or less texture (ex. smooth yogurt, pudding)
- Adding new foods to your child’s diet
- Increasing strength/endurance for feeding
- Increasing oral intake
- Increasing tolerance of messy play
- Self-feeding skills and using appropriate utensils
- Using optimal positions/seating during meals

Melissa has attended numerous trainings and incorporates a variety of strategies throughout feeding therapy. Melissa is trained in AEIOU Systematic Approach to Pediatric Feeding, which is a holistic approach that emphasizes acceptance, exposure, independence, observation and understanding to treat complex etiologies, manage tube dependency, transition to solid foods, treat sensory aversions, improve oral motor skills, achieve home carryover. Melissa is trained in the Sensory-Motor Approach to Feeding, which is a sensory-motor based approach that focuses on sensory processing and oral-motor skill development needed for safe, effective, nutritive feeding for all ages and ability levels. Melissa works closely with your child’s medical providers such as the pediatrician, gastroenterologist, pulmonologist (breathing specialist), psychologist, and otolaryngologist (ENT/ear, nose and throat) to ensure continuum of care.