Some babies and toddlers (and even older children) may have problems sucking, drinking and/or eating. This may be the result of slower development, or some interference in the development, of the strength and coordination of the muscles of the mouth. You might notice a baby who tires easily while feeding, or who seems to lose lots of fluid from around a teat. Toddlers may also have problems tolerating tastes and the feel of different foods in their mouth. Sometimes there may be parts of the oral mechanism for feeding that are not performing as they should.
A speech pathologist will assess the reflexes needed for swallowing, the strength of the oral muscles, how well those muscles work together, and whether or not particular foods or drinks are more difficult to manage than others.
Feeding difficulties are often improved by showing families how to position their child for feeding, how to stimulate the muscles to work together, and by designing the way to best introduce different foods and fluids to the child, based on his or her individual set of strengths and weaknesses.