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Advice for children who struggle with lumpy foods

Why do some children struggle to move on to lumpy food?

There are a number of reasons why children struggle to accept lumpy or textured food. These include:

Development

This means they are just not ready. Children need to be offered food which is appropriate for their level of general development. This might not be the same as their actual age. If you child has taken more time to achieve skills such as sitting up and rolling, they will take more time to move on with food textures.

Sensory

This means they don’t like how lumps feel in their mouth. This maybe because they have had some difficult experiences around their mouths when they were younger such as being born prematurely, having reflux. For some children this is part of a wider sensory issue.

Chewing

This means children try to swallow lumps without chewing them. Sometimes this is connected to a sensory issue, whereas other children may need help to learn how to do a chewing movement.

How can the Speech and Language Therapist help me?

The speech and language therapist will assess your child and explore with you why your child might be having difficulties with lumps or textures.

How will the Speech and Language Therapist help?

This will depend on why your child is having difficulty:

If it is developmental

The speech and language therapist will offer advice on the most appropriate textures for your child’s stage of development. They can also offer advice on foods that might help your child progress.

If it is sensory

We will explore textures that your child can tolerate as it is always important to keep mealtimes positive.  We can also help you to work with your child to increase their tolerance of textures in and around their mouth.

If it a chewing problem

We can provide specific advice to help on how you can help your child practice chewing.  This may include suggesting changes to the way you feed your child and offering textures designed to help your child build the skills needed for chewing.  For example, placing food into the side of your child’s mouth, instead of the front, can help develop a chewing pattern.  Another thing we often suggest is the use of bite and dissolve textures, such as Wotsits or Organix carrot stick crisps, these help children feel different textures in their mouth but don’t need chewing.

Top Tips!

  • Try to keep mealtimes positive
  • Allow your child time to touch, smell and explore foods without pressure to eat them
  • Don’t hide foods you want your child to eat in other foods
  • You could try offering more challenging foods at a snack time so it doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t eat them
  • Don’t offer a challenging food then take it away and give a preferred food
  • Be aware mixed textures can be challenging.

 

Contact us

Clinical Lead for Paediatric Dysphagia (Feeding and Swallowing): Jane Shaw

Sheffield Children’s Hospital

0114 271 7452

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SL197

Resource Type: Article

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S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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