Paediatric feeding disorder (PFD) is a relatively new diagnosis for children that struggle with eating and are not meeting expectations for feeding for their age. Children may have previously been labelled as fussy, picky, faddy or a problem eater/ feeder have often been overlooked for underlying causes to their challenges with eating or feeding with emphasis on the parent role. The development of this new diagnosis is significant as it highlights the importance of a whole team approach and acknowledges the significant and chronic impact that feeding difficulties can have on children and their family.
For a diagnosis of PFD to be considered the feeding difficulties must be related with one or more of the following areas:
|This could be a structural or functional body issue that makes the process of chewing, swallowing or absorbing food difficult or challenging.
|Any restriction to the amount, quality, and variety of food. This could potentially lead to malnutrition or dehydration.
|When adjustments are required for texture, feeding position, feeding utensils or communication to ensure safe and efficient eating
|Behavioural, social, or environmental factors that make feeding/eating challenging. These can include food dislikes, stress or distress about food or children who are very restrictive with food choices.
What does that mean? What could PFD look like?
There is no one size fits all for a PFD diagnosis. It may present as a toddler who only eats purees, a child who eats minimal or no fruits/vegetables/meats or a child that will only eat foods that have a particular texture i.e., soft, or crunchy. Children with very restrictive food preferences (less than 20) may also be considered for assessment and potential diagnosis.
If any of the above statements resonate with you, you can complete the Feeding Matters questionnaire by clicking the following link: https://questionnaire.feedingmatters.org/questionnaire
The questionnaire takes about 5 minutes to complete and outlines typical feeding behaviours and assists in identifying any areas of concerns. You can share the outcomes of this questionnaire with one of our dietitians at your first appointment.
How can Optimum Intake Dietitians help?
Dietitians are trained to assess growth, nutritional needs, and intake. At Optimum Intake, our paediatric dietitians are skilled in completing individualised assessments to assist your child and family to meet their unique nutritional goals.
Our paediatric team have also undertaken extensive training in paediatric feeding therapy and are able work collaboratively with you and your child on increasing the variety and quantity of foods consumed, as well as provide support to reduce the stress and distress that can be present around food and mealtimes.
Importantly, we believe in a team approach to client care and continually work with GP’s, paediatricians, and other allied health providers to facilitate optimum care for your little one.
Further information about how we can support your child can be found on our Child Nutrition page.
If your child could benefit from support with their eating, please contact our admin team to book an appointment today on 0499 008 451 or visit the ‘contact us’ page.