Infant Feeding Difficulty

About Infant Feeding Difficulty

Feeding your infant can be a joy and time for bonding, but for some parents it is not always easy. This can be for a variety of reasons and is in fact quite common. Between 25%-50% of children can have trouble feeding, or for developmentally delayed infants this can be as high as 80%-90%.

When our infant doesn’t feed correctly or regularly, we naturally become anxious about their health. Seeking help from a specialist who can identify and treat the cause will ensure they continue to thrive.

Examination and Diagnosis

Dr McIntyre will assess your infant’s growth, their feeding habits, routines and outputs to determine what is “normal” feeding behavior for your child. Whether your baby is breastmilk or formula fed, ensuring nutritional and hydrational adequacy of their food intake is key. In some instances, feeding difficulty can be due to an underlying feeding or swallowing disorder which will require follow up tests to assess the strength and movement of muscles. In other cases, feeding difficulties can be associated with medical conditions such as cleft palate, food allergies or reflux which once diagnosed can be treated to resolve feeding difficulty.


Dr McIntyre works with a multi-disciplinary referral network of paediatric dietitians, ENT or ear, nose and throat specialists, and respiratory paediatricians, as well as an experienced allied health team to holistically treat your child. In some extreme instances of feeding difficulties where children are undernourished, a nasogastric tube may need to be inserted to feed your infant or child. For more information on this procedure, click here.


Most feeding disorders will resolve with time and correct management. By starting at the source and understanding your infants feeding routines – including adjusting for premature births, engaging lactation consultants for breastfeeding mothers, conducting physiological tests, and so on – Dr McIntyre has over a decade’s experience in developing treatment solutions in this area.

Things You Can Do

Most feeding difficulties are not related to a physical disorder or underlying condition. These simple actions can help:

  • Remove distractions
  • Position your child and yourself comfortably
  • Stay calm regardless of how well the child feeds

Promoting good health in our children

“Working closely with children and their families, it's immensely satisfying to be able to make a difference to their lives by managing their medical conditions with care and compassion.”

Dr Emma McIntyre