How pediatric feeding therapy is helping children eat solid foods

A mother said when her son was six months old, mealtimes quickly turned into a nightmare, until her pediatrician told her about feeding therapy.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 12:09 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - When Nolan Milligan was six months old, his mother, Katelyn, said he was hesitant to try solid foods.

“We started giving him tastes of what we had, but we noticed that once it got in his mouth, he was gagging,” said Katelyn Milligan, Nolan’s mother. “He was not able to swallow it.”

She said mealtimes quickly turned into a nightmare until her pediatrician told her about feeding therapy, and they did it weekly for two-and-a-half months.

“There was a huge difference. He went from gagging on anything we put into his mouth to eating basically everything that he’s supposed to for his age,” explained Milligan.

Megan Dewberry, a Speech-Language Pathologist/Certified Lactation Counselor with Baton Rouge General, works with children like Nolan to get them more comfortable with food.

“With Nolan and other little ones, we go through, and we start with play,” said Dewberry. “We have to have a positive experience with the food itself.”

She said they work at exposing Nolan to new foods. They do exercises like filling up boxes with pieces of fruit and dumping them out.

“It’s definitely worth your time to intervene early so that you can overcome those little obstacles before they become big problems as they get older,” added Milligan.

Now Nolan is eating the same table foods as his family.

His mother said he got to celebrate his first birthday last week, and she said it was a sweet moment for him to smash his cake and eat it.

Milligan is telling moms to follow their instincts.

“As a mom, we know our babies, and we know what they should be doing or what they’re capable of,” said Milligan.

Dewberry said you should get help anytime feeding is perpetually stressful for the child and the parent.

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