Halloween is here! A holiday filled with two words: costumes and CANDY! This is a time when little ones (big and small) dress up for trick-or-treating to fill their bags and bellies with candy. For most of us, we don’t think twice about what candy we take from the bowl at the front door. But for some, this may be “tricky” to pick a treat for the “picky eater” child, or maybe the child that does not eat by mouth at all. Did you know that 25% of all children have a feeding or swallowing disorder?
Feeding and eating is a developmental skills that begins day one of life. As a role of a Speech-Language Pathologist working in pediatrics at GBMC, we share the opportunity to help establish successful feeding skills in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for our premature infants. Premature infants (Preemies) may not receive the same positive “first” experiences with feeding as full term infants do. This can lead to negative feeding habits later in life. According to the research (Hawdon et al., 2000), 40% of children referred to outpatient specialty clinics due to concerns with feeding or growth are former Preemies.
We must build a foundation for positive experiences with feedings and eating habits that go well beyond just breastfeeding or bottle, but skills that can last a lifetime. It is a critical time for our infants when they are in the NICU to grow and develop. GBMC is proud to announce a new training that is evidenced based and has been implemented across the globe as a standard practice to provide the best care possible our NICU infants and families. Infant-Driven Feeding training has begun here at GBMC to promote positive feeding exercises that is driven by the infant’s feeding cues. We are excited for the success it will bring to our families and infants! Our infants are dreaming about the candy and yummy treats in their future!
For more information about the program check out InfantDrivenFeeding.com
P.S. A helpful tip for Trick-or-Treat night, hand out non-food items such as bubbles for those children that cannot eat the candy/treats. Follow the Teal-Pumpkin Project, by placing/painting a teal pumpkin at your door so that for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, can have a treat keeping Halloween a fun, and positive experience!