Warning signs of eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties

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What to expect

Warning signs of eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties in babies and children

Warning, drinking and swallowing difficulties will present with different symptoms in babies and children than in adults. This difference is due to the fact that babies and children are still developing in their eating, drinking and swallowing skills and also that their anatomical structures are not fully developed like adults.

ing the development of eating drinking and swallowing, if a child presents with any of the following warning signs, you should seek advice from a speech and language therapist.

ing signs

ning signs for babies and younger children include:

  • Choking or coughing during or after feeding, this may indicate a poor coordination in their suck, swallow and breathing sequence.
  • Lacking alertness or irritability during feeding.
  • Recurring chest infections or pneumonia.
  • Stiffening or arching of the body whilst feeding.
  • Spitting up frequently during feeding.
  • Taking longer than 30 minutes for a feed.
  • Refusing or having trouble accepting new textures.
  • Taking a long time to finish feeding.
  • Excessive leakage of liquid or food from the mouth.
  • Throwing up, gagging or coughing during or after eating and drinking.
  • Holding food in the mouth for excessive periods of time.
  • Hoarse, gurgly or breathy voice quality.

should I do if my child is experiencing any of the above problems?

your baby or child is experiencing any of the above problems you should seek advice as soon as possible. If left untreated eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties can cause other medical and health problems, it is important that your child is assessed in order to rule out any eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. If your baby or child does have an eating, drinking or swallowing difficulty then we are able to provide you with an individualised treatment plan to support and overcome any difficulties your child is experiencing. We can offer specialist advice and support for parents regarding feeding for babies and children.

If you would like to arrange an initial assessment with one of our speech and language therapists then please contact us by emailing office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 0885 643.

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Next steps

To speak to a Speech and Language Therapist or to book an appointment, call us on 0161 883 0111 or email office@slt.co.uk


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