For some babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, eating doesn’t come naturally. Any infant that fails to eat orally is considered to have feeding difficulty. It’s these babies that are most at risk for lifelong feeding issues and assisted feeding methods.
Feeding difficulties can arise from a combination of gastrointestinal, esophageal, behavioral, neurological, structural, cardiorespiratory and metabolic origins. Using crib-side feeding studies, investigators at Nationwide Children's are identifying the mechanisms of feeding difficulties in neonates and young infants. These studies help transform babies into oral feeders before they leave the hospital, sparing them a lifetime of tube-assisted feedings.
Nationwide Children's is home to the only program in the world taking a multi-organ perspective to understand development of feeding disorders.