This Mother’s Day weekend I reflect on the last 26 years that I have been a mother, as well as the last 17 years I have also been a pediatric occupational therapist. I have met mothers from many walks of life, from many cultures and backgrounds. Poor, middle class or wealthy, the mothers I have known share a universal bond. We rejoice when our children are happy, we hurt when our children hurt.
One of the most challenging problems a mother can face is when her child refuses to eat. She may tell herself: “This goes against nature!” “This should not be happening!” “Kids should know how, and they should want to eat”. As a mother, seeing a child you love struggle with eating can cause self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy as a parent. I am frequently asked: “Did I do something wrong?”. It is easy for us mothers to turn inward to search for something we did that could have caused our child to have these difficulties. Perhaps there is an underlying medical issue. Sometimes there is nothing apparent. Sometimes this just happens.
It is not your fault. It is OK to reach out for help. Eating is a skill and it can be taught. If your child demonstrates ANY of the following, you do not have to “wait and see”. Reach out to a feeding therapist and request a feeding evaluation. Beyond Function offers feeding therapy. Call today for an appointment.
If Your Child:
- Turns away and/or arches back during nursing or bottle feeding
- Has wet or raspy breathing sounds after eating
- Takes longer than 30 minutes to finish nursing/bottling
- Struggles to transition to baby or table foods i.e.: turns head away from spoon, throws food, cries or fusses during a majority of meal times
- Gags when eating or even when just being offered food
- Starts out with a good variety of foods and sequentially stops eating many previously preferred foods one by one
- Struggles to gain or maintain a healthy weight