What Is Pediatric Feeding Disorder?

Impaired oral intake that is not age-appropriate, and is associated with medical, nutritional, feeding skill, and/or psychosocial dysfunction.

— Goday et al., 2019

Red Flags That May Indicate Your Child Needs an Evaluation

Are you or your child experiencing any of the following?

  • Feeling stress and worry about whether your child is eating appropriately or growing well
  • Crying or fussing at mealtimes
  • Frequently vomiting or spitting up
  • Arching away from the bottle or breast
  • Coughing, gagging, or increased congestion with eating or drinking
  • Taking longer than 20-30 minutes to eat
  • Difficulty breathing during eating
  • Falling asleep during eating
  • Frequently spitting out of food or liquid
  • Pocketing food or overstuffing mouth with food
  • Eating a limited diet
  • Arguing with a partner or child about what your child eats


Should I Seek Help?

We believe that if a parent is concerned, that is enough of a reason to reach out for help.

Some next steps:


Learn the basics of the responsive feeding approach to mealtimes.


eval blocks

The Infant and Child Feeding Questionnaire from Feeding Matters can help you decide whether your child might need a professional evaluation.

Provided by


Occupational Therapist

Search our provider directory here to find the right person to help your family.


Black, M. M., & Aboud, F. E. (2011). Responsive feeding is embedded in a theoretical framework of responsive parenting. The Journal of Nutrition, 141(3), 490–494.

Cormack, J., Rowell, K., & Postăvaru, G. I. (2020). Self-Determination Theory as a Theoretical Framework for a Responsive Approach to Child Feeding. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 52(6), 646–651.

Daniels, L. A. (2019). Feeding Practices and Parenting: A Pathway to Child Health and Family Happiness. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 74(Suppl2), 29–42.

Goday, P. S., Huh, S. Y., Silverman, A., Lukens, C. T., Dodrill, P., Cohen, S. S., … Phalen, J. A. (2019). Pediatric Feeding Disorder: Consensus Definition and Conceptual Framework. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 68(1), 124–129.

Henton, P. A. (2018). A Call to Reexamine Quality of Life Through Relationship-Based Feeding. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(3), 7203347010p1.

Klein, M. D. (2019). Anxious Eaters, Anxious Mealtimes Practical and Compassionate Strategies for Mealtime Peace. Archway Publishing.

Morris, S.E. (2003). Becoming a Mealtime Partner.

Pediatrics, A. A. of. (n.d.). Is Your Baby Hungry or Full? Responsive Feeding Explained – Retrieved September 20, 2020, from

Satter, E. (1995). Feeding dynamics: Helping children to eat well. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 9(4), 178–184.