Feeding difficulty in children is surprisingly common. Research studies tell us that it can occur in 25% of children with typical development and up to 80% of children with developmental delay. (Manikam R1, Perman JA., 2000) Yet, despite this fact, many parents and caregivers feel isolated and alone when dealing with their child who has a feeding problem.
How do you know if your child has a feeding problem? Check out this post we did on what a feeding problem can look like.
We often hear from our families and caregivers that having a child with a feeding problem is very stressful for the entire family and they feel isolated and alone. These are some of the things we often hear:
- Feeling frustrated and sad that your child struggles with feeding.
- Social activities with other children and play groups are difficult because your child won’t eat what the rest of the kids are having.
- Going out to eat is impossible because there is nothing on the menu that your child will eat.
- Fear that your child will experience gagging and vomiting when eating.
- Caregivers making separate meals -one meal for the family and a separate meal for your child with feeding difficulty.
- Resorting to fast food for many meals.
- Feeling pressure from other family members who don’t understand what it’s like to have a child who won’t eat.
- Feeling afraid that your child will lose weight.
- Feeling guilty because a parent is supposed to be able to feed their child.
- Feeling like every one else’s child eats and yours is the only one that doesn’t.
- Feeling overwhelmed by the cost of feeding therapy or special formula or food needed for your child.
All of these statements and feeling are very real experiences for parents with children who struggle with eating and swallowing. We would like parents and caregivers to know that you are not alone and there is help and support!
How to get help!
- Feeding Matters: www.feedingmatters.com . This is a parent run support group for families of children with feeding difficulty. You can even request a peer mentor to have someone to talk with.
- The Feeding Flock: https://feedingflock.web.unc.edu . This is a research team dedicated to partnering with families to nurture children with feeding difficulties. Families are invited to join the face book group.
- Pediatric dysphagia: babies with swallowing/feeding difficulties. This is an active face book group for parents of children with swallowing/feeding difficulty.
- Feeding Tube Awareness : http://www.feedingtubeawareness.org was founded in 2010 to support parents of children who are tube-fed, while raising positive awareness of tube feeding as a lifesaving medical intervention.
- Talk with your feeding therapist about connecting you with other families with similar experiences.
- Talk with your feeding therapist or family doctor about recommending a family psychologist that can help with the stress and difficulty of caring for a child with feeding and swallowing difficulty.