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Pediatric Feeding Disorder


Pediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD) is impaired oral intake that is not age-appropriate and is associated with medical,nutritional, feeding skill, and/or psychosocial dysfunction.


  1. Medical

    1. labored breathing with and without feeding

    2. color changes in lips or face when eating or drinking

    3. sweating when eating or drinking

    4. gurgle or squeaking sounds with and without feeding

    5. Reoccurring upper respiratory infections

    6. crying, arching, coughing,

    7. grimacing when eating or drinking

    8. suspected food allergies

    9. multiple formula changes

    10. vomiting

    11. never seems hungry

    12. physical discomfort when eating or drinking

  2. Nutrition

    1. unable to eat or drink enough to grow or stay hydrated

    2. insufficient or too rapid of a change in weight or height

    3. lack of a certain nutrient, i.e., iron, calcium

    4. need for nutritional supplements

    5. reliance on a particular food for nutrition

    6. need for enteral feeds for nutrition-NG, GT, TPN

    7. constipation

    8. limited dietary diversity for age

      1. too few fruits and/or vegetables

      2. limited or no protein source

      3. too few foods eaten on a regular basis

  3. Feeding Skill

    1. labored, noisy breathing or gasping

    2. coughing, choking, gagging or retching

    3. gurgles or wet breaths

    4. loud and/or hard swallows or gulping

    5. unable to eat or drink enough for optimal growth

    6. excessively short mealtimes (˂ 5 minutes)

    7. excessively long mealtimes (˃ 30 minutes)

    8. need for thickened liquids

    9. need for special food or modified food texture

    10. need for special strategies, positioning or equipment

    11. grazing between scheduled mealtimes

    12. refusal to eat, drink or swallow certain food textures

    13. needs distraction to eat such as screen time

    14. needs excessive praise/threats/bribes to eat

    15. difficulty chewing age-appropriate foods

    16. unable to eat in new or unfamiliar situations

  4. Psychosocial

    1. unable to come to or stay with the family at meals

    2. refusal to eat what is offered or to eat at all

    3. disruptive mealtime behaviors

    4. unable to eat with others present at mealtimes

    5. child stress, worry or fear during meals

    6. caregiver stress, worry or fear when feeding child

    7. presence of bribes, threats, yelling at mealtimes

    8. need for distraction and/or rewards for eating

    9. unpleasant mealtime interactions between caregiver and child

Reach out to us for a feeding evaluation if you have concerns with any of the signs and symptoms listed above. We can reached at (920) 803-1617.

Blog written by: Mazal Karan, MS, SLP-CF


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