How Food Therapy Reshapes Pediatric Feeding Experiences for Lasting Benefits

How Food Therapy Reshapes Pediatric Feeding Experiences for Lasting Benefits

Eating healthy fuels our children to laugh, run, play, and live life to the fullest because nutrition is the basic need of the body. However, pediatric feeding disorders or PFD can be a barrier to your child’s growth, as they lead to a poor diet and cause malnutrition.

According to a nationwide prevalence study, PFD affects 1 in 37 children under five years old, making it one of the biggest concerns for parents and caregivers. 

If you are also struggling to feed your little one, Therapyland is here for you. In this article, we’ll explore how food therapy can help you and your child have a stress-free mealtime. 

👉Also Read: Empowering Children with Feeding Therapy: How Feeding Therapists Make a Difference

The Complexities of Pediatric Feeding Challenges in Children with Eating Disorders

Feeding difficulties in individuals with PFD go beyond the scope of ordinary picky eating habits. You may often find yourself grappling with various challenges that can make feeding a source of stress and frustration rather than a moment of familial bonding. 

Here are the reasons why your offspring might not behave like typical children when you try to feed them, especially new foods.

Behavioral Issues

Individuals with eating disorders may exhibit behaviors during mealtimes that complicate feeding, such as rigidity, insistence on routine, or anxiety-related responses triggered by food stimuli. These behaviors can further exacerbate feeding challenges and may affect your child’s everyday routine. 

Restricted Skills 

Oral motor skills such as chewing and swallowing are necessary for healthy feeding. Many children who lack these skills find it daunting to eat properly, which contributes to multiple feeding problems. These difficulties can also make children stubborn to specific food textures. For example, an individual who struggles to chew may refrain from eating solid foods like nuts.

High Sensitivity

Not all picky eaters have sensory issues, but they are common in children with autism and other developmental disorders. Certain tastes and smells can become overwhelming and aversive for these individuals, hindering their ability to accept a diverse range of foods. 

What’s the Impact of Pediatric Feeding Disorders On Children?

To be healthy and grow properly, a child requires 1,000 to 1,500 calories (depending on growth and activity level) and 2 to 4 ounces of protein every day, according to the Mayo Clinic

Feeding disorders can affect a child’s ability to meet these requirements, thus having a profound impact on their overall growth, development, and well-being. 

Poor child’s eating habits not only lead to nutritional deficiencies and physical health consequences but they also contribute to cognitive and developmental delays. 

At Therapyland, we understand the challenges of feeding picky eaters with PFD. Our board-certified feeding and occupational therapists are here to help you navigate the everyday struggle of mealtime routines. Call us at 678-648-7644 today for a detailed consultation and to help your child meet his nutritional needs.

👉 Also Read: Transformative Journey: How ABA Therapy in Alpharetta Nurtures Young Minds

How Does Feeding Therapy Work?

Unlike traditional dietary planning, feeding therapy is a play-based behavioral approach that addresses the underlying reasons behind feeding difficulties. Trained professionals such as an occupational therapist and a speech-language pathologist (speech therapists) conduct eating therapy sessions, where they create a positive environment for children to eat healthily.

The direct treatment uses the following pediatric feeding therapy techniques to make mealtimes safe and enjoyable for children:

Feeding Evaluation and Food Orientation 

Analysts understand that children with a feeding disorder can react differently when introduced to particular food textures. The feeding therapist takes playful orientation sessions, where they understand baby food preferences and help your picky eater interact with different foods. As a result, the therapy expands your little one’s diet by including the essential nutrition they need.

Skill-building Activities 

Feeding therapy involves engaging children in various activities aimed at improving their eating skills and increasing their comfort with different foods. Based on your child’s behavior, therapists include several chewing and swallowing exercises, gradually making the individual’s diet more balanced. 

Parent and Caregiver Involvement

Parents play a crucial role in feeding therapy, and therapists involve them actively to implement the strategies learned during the therapy sessions. Feeding therapists provide you with the guidance and support you need to encourage your child to eat properly outside of the therapy center.

Eating therapy is a child-directed approach that empowers individuals to develop healthier eating habits and achieve better overall outcomes in their nutritional intake and developmental well-being.

The results from this therapy are usually long-lasting, as it works on the core foundation that helps children establish a relationship with food.

👉 Also Read: 13 Ways to Celebrate Autism Acceptance Month in April

Healthy Eating Begins at Therapyland: Contact Us for Feeding Therapy

Like your love and care, your child also needs a balanced diet (full of nutrition) to flourish into a teen, so don’t let those challenges hinder his growth.

At Therapyland, we have a team of highly qualified and certified therapists who understand pediatric feeding disorders and tailor therapies to meet the unique needs of every child. 

Through individualized treatment plans and evidence-based feeding strategies, our therapist works closely with you and your child to develop essential eating skills, while improving their dietary repertoire.

Let’s discuss how Therapyland can help your child overcome feeding challenges and enjoy every meal. Get in touch for more details about our therapy services, and to schedule an appointment.