Feeding disorders include problems gathering food and getting ready to suck, chew, or swallow food. Feeding disorders can result from various etiologies such as a complex medical history (e.g, prematurity, syndromes, GERD), structural anomaly (e.g., cleft palate/lip), difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), and sensory difficulties.Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia (dis-FAY-juh), can occur at different stages in the swallowing process. There are 3 phases in the swallowing process which include the following:

  • 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

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