Feeding disorders include problems gathering food and getting ready to suck, chew, or swallow it. For example, a child who cannot pick up food and get it to her mouth or cannot completely close her lips to keep food from falling out of her mouth may have a feeding disorder.
Swallowing disorders , also called dysphagia (dis-FAY-juh), can occur at different stages in the swallowing process:
- Oral phase- sucking, chewing, and moving food or liquid into the throat
- Pharyngeal phase- starting the swallow, squeezing food down the throat, and closing off the airway to prevent food or liquid from entering the airway ( aspiration ) or to prevent choking
- Esophageal phase- relaxing and tightening the openings at the top and bottom of the feeding tube in the throat ( esophagus ) and squeezing food through the esophagus into the stomach