Infant Feeding Disorders Program

Helping Infants Reach Milestones Faster — So They Go Home Sooner

The Eating Challenge

Learn About Dr. Jadcherla's Role: A Personal Chef for High-Risk Infants

Infant Feeding Disorders Program

The Infant Feeding Disorders Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is dedicated to improving the quality of life for infants through the development of personalized, feeding management strategies based on clinical and transitional research. Our advanced care optimizes the outcomes for infants with feeding disorders, allowing them to go home sooner, while lowering readmission rates.

Oral feeding is often difficult for babies hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and current techniques used to evaluate neonatal feeding disorders are largely subjective. In response to this growing difficulty, our physician-scientists are using innovative approaches to find and treat the cause of feeding difficulty in developing infants. Our program is the only one of its kind, testing the sensory-motor aspects of reflexes in premature infants in activity or sleep, and in health or in disease. The crib-side research efforts lead us to define newer clinical and translational strategies in these vulnerable infants.

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Program Overview

Our team approach is comprehensive and family centered.

Our program cares for babies between newborn and 6 months of age that are presently inpatients, or have recently been released from other NICUs and demonstrate the following conditions:

  • Born prematurely

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)

  • Acid reflux (GERD)

  • Suspected gastrointestinal motility problems

  • Swallowing problems

  • Perinatal neurological illness

Based on an initial inpatient feeding consultation, a baby can become part of Nationwide Children’s feeding disorders study, to diagnose his or her feeding problems. Results of this study determine the next steps, which may include:

  • Feeding consultation

  • Pharyngoesophageal motility

  • Esophageal motility

  • Esophageal pH and impedance

  • Evaluation and management of swallowing problems

The program coordinates experts from various divisions of the hospital, including:

Our Approach

We help infants reach milestones faster. So they go home sooner.

For every baby diagnosed with a feeding disorder, the ultimate goal is full oral feeds. The first step toward that goal is a multi-modal diagnostic study, with a feeding evaluation and radiologic and motility studies. The second step is the development of a rational, therapeutic strategy, with help from a team of specialists–an occupational therapist, nutritionist, neonatologist, nurse and patient care assistant–working together with the family.

Our experts work to prevent, predict, diagnose and treat feeding-related disorders for high-risk infants admitted to the NICU. Most importantly, the program strives to prevent future developmental issues, allowing premature babies to “catch up” faster.

We designed our new Feeding Enhancement Program to streamline the feeding process for premature babies and help them learn to feed sooner and with fewer complications. Weekly “feeding rounds” in our main campus NICUs incorporate parents, as our team evaluates each baby’s feeding capabilities, closely follows milestones, identifies risk factors that may delay feeding skills, and addresses any anxieties about feeding the baby.

Our Team

Our team approach is comprehensive and family centered. Based on your baby's individual feeding-related disorder, the program may also coordinate expert care from cardiology, clinical nutrition and lactation, occupational and physical therapy, gastroenterology, sleep medicine, and radiology.

Sudarshan R. Jadcherla, MD

Nursing Team
Erika Osborn, NNP – Clinical Leader
Patty Luzader, RN – Clinical Research Coordinator
Kailyn Marcano, MSN, RN - Clinical Research Coordinator
Toni Plumb, RN - Clinical Research Coordinator

Research Team
Alexis Alexander – Research Assistant
Enas Alshaikh, PhD – Biostatistician
Roseanna Helmick – Senior Research Associate
Minna Njeh – Research Assistant
Zakia Sultana – Research Associate

Resources for Providers

To make a referral, call the Physician Direct Connect Line toll free at (877) 355-0221, for physician consults and to coordinate a patient transport, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Refer a Patient

Referral resources at your fingertips. Because when your patient needs a pediatric specialist, everything matters.

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Neonatal and Infant Feeding Disorders Fellowship

The Neonatal and Infant Feeding Disorders Fellowship is a one-year, advanced program targeted to understanding the mechanisms of developmental gastrointestinal motility and neonatal and infant feeding disorders.