Some children have trouble swallowing. This is called dysphagia (dis FAY geh ah). Children with dysphagia need to have their food and drink changed so they can safely
eat and drink.
If your child has dysphagia, you may need to thicken the liquids he or she drinks. Thickened liquids move more slowly than thin liquids. This gives your child extra time
to control the liquid while swallowing. Thickened liquids may help to protect the airway.
If your child is under the age of 12 months, it is recommended that you use infant cereal to thicken liquids. DO NOT use infant cereal in breast milk. Breast milk breaks down the cereal and it does not remain thickened. If you have questions, talk to your child’s doctor.
Use measuring spoons to figure amounts. Do not use regular kitchen spoons.
3 ounce bottle = 4 ½ teaspoons infant cereal (1 ½ tablespoons)
4 ounce bottle = 6 teaspoons infant cereal (2 tablespoons)
6 ounce bottle = 9 teaspoons infant cereal (3 tablespoons)
3 ounce bottle = 7 ½ teaspoons infant cereal (2 ½ Tablespoons)
4 ounce bottle = 10 teaspoons infant cereal (3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon)
6 ounce bottle = 15 teaspoons infant cereal (5 Tablespoons)
Examples of liquids that are naturally the thickness of nectar are:
If your child is over the age of 12 months and is not at risk for allergies, you may try the following natural ways to thicken:
Use these recommendations once you are familiar with using infant cereal or artificial thickener.
Talk with your child’s doctor about how to thicken liquid medicines.
Some foods melt to a thin liquid and must be considered a thin liquid (such as popsicles, ice cream and Jell-o).
Speak with your child’s doctor or registered dietitian if you have questions about how these changes may affect the amount of liquid and how many calories your child is getting.
Do not use artificial thickeners unless your child is over 12 months of age corrected. (If you have questions about corrected age, ask your child’s nurse or doctor.)
Follow manufacturer’s thickening instructions on the can or packet of thickener. See
the end of this Helping Hand for a list of thickeners, how and where to purchase, and
Where can I buy artificial thickeners?
Several name-brand thickeners can be found on the market. Follow each manufacturer’s directions exactly. You can get artificial thickeners at your local pharmacy. You can also order the thickener online or by phone. Containers of juice, milk and water pre-thickened
to either nectar or honey consistencies are available also.
**This product can also be used with breastmilk as long as your child is over 12 months of age corrected. This product should not be used for any child under the age of 12 years with a history of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
Thik & Clear
**This product can also be used with breast milk as long as your child is over 12 months of age corrected.
**There are other commercially available products used to thicken liquids. We recommend that you discuss any other product not listed above with your physician to determine the risks and benefits of that product.
HH-IV-105 10/13, Revised 10/16 Copyright 2013, Nationwide Children's Hospital