Feeding & Swallowing Therapy

As young children begin the transition from puree baby foods to table foods, preferences are quickly developed. Temperatures, colors, and textures may influence whether a child will try and like new foods. Many parents consider their child to be a so called “picky eater”. However, certain behaviors during meals should raise these questions.

Is this a picky eater situation or is this a problem eater situation? Could this be an avoidant restrictive food intake disorder or swallowing disorder?


Signs that this is more than picky eating.

  • Ongoing poor weight gain or weight loss
  • Ongoing choking, gagging or coughing during meals, gagging while trying or at the sight or smell of certain foods
  • Ongoing problems with vomiting
  • More than one incident of nasal reflux
  • History of a traumatic choking incident
  • History of eating and breathing coordination problems, with ongoing respiratory issues
  • Parents reporting child as being “picky” at 2 years old or older at well child checks
  • Inability to transition to baby food purees by 10 months of age
  • Inability to accept any table food solids by 12 months of age
  • Inability to transition from breast or bottle to a cup by 16 months of age
  • Has not weaned off baby foods by 16 months of age
  • Aversion or avoidance of all foods in specific texture or nutrition group
  • Food range of less than 20 foods, especially if foods are being dropped over time with no new foods replacing those lost
  • An infant who cries and/or arches at most meals
  • Melas are battles, cooking several different meals

Does my child need Feeding or Swallowing Therapy?

If you are worried about your child being more than a “picky eater” consulting a speech language pathologist who is trained in feeding and swallowing disorders is the first step. The feeding specialist will be able to determine if your child is going through a typical phase or recommend further evaluation and intervention.