Your Baby Is Just A Lazy Eater

I’ll be the first to admit, I am so tired of parents being told their infant will “grow out of it“ when it comes to feeding challenges. We all know in our heart of hearts one does not simply “grow out” of oral dysfunction. Babies gagging or even choking on bottles, their parents being told they are “lazy eaters,” (I don’t even know what that is! Eating is reflexive as an infant), “your baby doesn’t like to eat,” “it’s just a slight tie,” (cue the biggest eye roll ever!!), “welcome to motherhood! It’s normal for babies to cry all day for hours upon end!” 

All of these are so cringe worthy!  While we know some of these behaviors are unfortunately common, it does not make them normal! We should NEVER ignore the instinct and wisdom of a mother. If the mother is concerned, we are concerned. Period. 

Make it your motto to tell parents- “If you are concerned, I am concerned.” In the end, you are the professional and if the parent is concerned we should make it our mission to validate the parents concern and then explain why it’s not an issue that impacts feeding OR if it is an issue impacting feeding, how we plan to address it. Regardless, we care and should never be dismissive of their concerns! 

All the excessive crying, choking, gagging, chronic coughing, reflux, etc.- it’s not normal. It’s our job to help the parents and caregivers involved in feeding a child. 

And we are here to help YOU the professional learn to be a competent and confident feeding therapist so that parents who are desperate to successfully feed their babies can finally find hope and…you got it, successfully feed their babies (and actually enjoy feeding time!). 

That’s what Feed The Peds® in all about. Training YOU to be a confident and effective feeding therapist so that you can go out and change the world one baby at a time. 

So where do you start as a therapist? 

A great first step is learning how to identify babies with oral dysfunction early on, learn how to assess those babies AND create a treatment plan to get them back on track. Ultimately, we then need to know how to treat those babies, too. (Hello…Feed The Peds®!)

And let’s get one thing super clear. If a baby has oral dysfunction coming out the womb, they may learn to compensate, but will never truly grow out of it. As a child/infant gets older, the dysfunction often moves or changes how it appears in the body. It may no longer be gagging on a bottle, reflux, or spit up – it may later become picky and/or selective eating, mouth breathing, enlarged tonsils, ADHD symptoms, poor sleep, PE Tubes in the ears, or TMJ issues just to name a few!

We need to assure these parents they are not bad parents, their babies are not broken or lazy eaters, and their gut instinct was right as we come alongside them and support their child. 

You’ll find that part of your job as you work on feeding goals is to also coach the parents and remind them of their inner wisdom and strength. They may have lost it along the way when other professionals dismissed their concerns and/or gaslit them, but now you can assure them that mama truly does know best and you’re here to ensure their journey is a much better one from here on. 

So the next time you see that mama walk through your door and she looks frazzled, worn down, confused, hurt, and apprehensive- offer her a chair and reassure her she is in the right place. Tell her, “Hi my name is _______, I’m a feeding therapist and I’m here to help. Your instincts were good and you’re in the right place.”

And then watch as a sigh of relief washes over that exhausted parent. 

But first, you gotta own your identity as a pediatric feeding therapist, build that skillset, get mentored by a team of pediatric feeding SLP and OT experts AND connect with others on the same journey as you. This my friends is what you can find inside Feed The Peds®.

Doors to Feed The Peds® open right now (closing May 10th at midnight EST). Join us and become the competent and confident pediatric feeding therapist you’ve always dreamed of becoming! We can’t wait to see you inside!