Does your child find it difficult to eat his regular food easily? Does your kid get irritated and show no interest in eating while having his daily meals? Is chewing and swallowing various simple foods a great problem for your growing little one? If you nodded along with a concern, then your dear little one might be suffering from dysphagia. And, if you are wondering what dysphagia is and how to overcome the eating difficulties that it poses, then just give this article a read. Rest all your worries by learning all about dysphagia and various ways to deal with it.
What Is Dysphagia?
Dysphagia is a disorder in kids that is characterized by inability or difficulty to eat or swallow food easily, particularly the inability to swallow the food. Some prominent stages of dysphagia are namely, oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal. When your kid finds it difficult to chew or suck the food, it is called the oral phase. When your child finds it difficult to squeeze the food to let it go down the food pipe, it is called pharyngeal phase. And, when your child finds it difficult to push the food from esophagus into his stomach, it’s called esophageal phase.
Find Below Five Effective Ways To Minimize The Eating Difficulties In Kids With Dysphagia:
1. Occupational Therapy
Seeking occupational therapy or speech therapy can be highly effective in mitigating dysphagia discomfort of your child. The expert therapist will teach your child some effective exercises that will help your kid swallow food easily and more effectively. Also, the therapist will suggest feeding techniques that will help relieve the swallowing issues.
2. Provide Easy-To-Swallow Foods
Babies and kids with dysphagia are often able to swallow thick fluids, such as pureed foods, more easily than thin liquids. So, add a small quantity of rice cereal to your baby’s formula milk or your pumped breast milk, blend the cereal mixture well with the milk to get rid of the lumps, and then offer it to your little one. Such, think, soft fluids make it easy for your child with dysphagia to swallow it without any hassles.
3. Prefer Bottle-Feeding Over Spoon-Feeding
Do not feed your little one baby foods by using a spoon at least in the initial 4 months, as spoon-feeding in infants, particularly with dysphagia, increases the risk of choking since infants lack proper co-ordination to swallow the baby foods fed by spoon. Never cut the holes in the nipple of the feeding bottle, as cutting the holes increases the chances of choking and hampering your baby’s oral development, speech skills, and future feeding.
4. Hold Kid Upright For 1 Hour Post Eating
In many cases, kids with dysphagia also suffer from the symptoms of GERD. So, addressing GERD can help alleviate the discomfort of this swallowing disorder. For this, make sure you hold your baby or tell your child to stay upright for at least one hour after having the food. Go for medications that help minimize the production of stomach acid and promote easy movement of food in the digestive track.
5. Oral Exercises
Children or babies with dysphagia may have oral aversion, which usually occur due to being on a ventilator or undergoing an oral surgery. To beat the eating difficulties due to dysphagia, encourage and teach your growing little one to do certain effective oral exercises. For this purpose, give your child or baby safe toys to chew. Provide things to a baby older than 4-months soft foods that have different textures, taste, and temperatures. Let your child to play with these foods and get messy during the meals.
Now that you know these five effective techniques to tackle dysphagia in kids, follow all of them to alleviate your child’s discomfort due to this eating disorder.