The term “feeding difficulties” is broad, and the severity and complexity of specific difficulties can vary tremendously based on each child’s individual needs. Feeding difficulties can manifest as refusal, selectivity, or low intake of food. The causes are multifactorial, spanning behavioral and underlying biological/medical conditions. Some of the challenges that lead to feeding difficulties in children include–

  • sensory processing problems
  • poor attachment
  • difficulty coordinating suck/swallow
  • poor suction
  • selective eating
  • restricted food intake
  • tongue tie
  • oral-motor impairments that can lead to aspiration and fear of choking.

The identification of feeding difficulties in young children is hampered by the lack of a globally accepted definition or system for classifying those difficulties. However, screening for and identifying feeding difficulties in children at the appropriate developmental stages is critical to providing support and early intervention that can result in better nutritional and socioemotional outcomes for children and their families.

Use the resources in this section to help identify feeding difficulties and better understand their causes and effects and strengthen support to children in need.

We found 24 resource(s)
Your Baby's Developmental Milestones
Guideline/Guidance published by UNICEF in
Caregivers can use "Your Baby's Developmental Milestones" to understand and recognize their child's social, emotional, linguistic, cognitive, and physical milestones in the first 1,000 days.
The Child Nutrition Program: Community Resource Manual
Guideline/Guidance published by Holt International in
This manual provides key information to communities on various nutritional and health considerations and needs of children, including a chapter on "Special Health Care Needs" for children with disabilities.
Child Nutrition Program: Community Flipbook
Information, Education and Communication Materials published by Holt International in
This flipbook is intended to support education for families on proper nutrition and health practices by providing a storyline based in six categories.
SPOON's Feeding and Nutrition Package for Vulnerable Children
Brief published by SPOON in
This brief describes the SPOON's Feeding and Nutrition Package, which is for organizations that serve children with disabilities or children outside family care.
Resource Library for Identifying Feeding Difficulties in Infants, Screening Children for Feeding Difficulties, and Positioning Children for Mealtimes
Resource Library published by SPOON in
This library provides resources for identifying feeding difficulties in infants and children and overcoming positioning challenges during feeding.
Feeding the Child with Cerebral Palsy
Guideline/Guidance published by Physiopedia in
This website provides information and a speech therapist's perspective on feeding and assessing feeding difficulties in children with Cerebral Palsy.
Responsive Care and Early Learning Addendum for IYCF Counseling
Training Material published by USAID Advancing Nutrition in
This package of counseling materials contains materials on the care and feeding for children with feeding difficulties and seeking help if a caregiver is concerned about a child's development.
Online Course: Introduction to Nutrition and Feeding for Children
eLearning published by SPOON in
This course provides an introduction to the topics of nutrition, feeding, and healthy growth for infants, young children, and children with disabilities.