Does your child seem to choke on the food they are eating more often than not? Have you heard them choking but you know they are not eating anything so how can this be? Maybe they cough a lot while eating. If you have answered yes to any of these questions then they may be suffering with “Dysphagia”. Dysphagia which means difficulty swallowing, can be pretty scary at times.
The two types of dysphagia include:
Oral– problems with using their lips, tongue and mouth to control liquids and foods
- Pharyngeal– refers to issues in the throat during swallowing liquids and foods
As soon as our youngest was old enough to start eating solids we noticed he seemed to always choke on his food. It was actually pretty weird because he would do okay on crunchy food but had a hard time with liquids and soft textures. There would also be times that I would hear him coughing and choking, knowing that he wasn’t eating anything and I would come a running to him to make sure he was okay, wondering how could this be?
After bringing up my concerns with his doctor he was scheduled for a Modified Barium Swallow. It was actually a pretty neat process. It consisted of him eating different textured foods and drinks while they used an x-ray to see how his mouth, tongue and esophagus was handling the food and drink. The test didn’t take long and our son didn’t seem to mind it at all. We didn’t think they had found anything wrong but was told that he actually has mild dysphagia at the oral stage and also has a delayed swallow reflux. Now I started to understand why all this was going on when he would eat and drink. I asked them why does he also have a hard time when he’s not eating anything and they said he could be choking on his saliva.
Their recommendations were for him to take smaller bites, chew thoroughly and swallow before taking another bite. This is probably easier for an adult with dysphagia to do but with a baby or toddler we as parents have to make sure that their food is cut up super small and make sure they aren’t trying to shove a whole bunch of crackers in their mouth at one time like my little guy likes to do.
Now that we know he’s got dysphagia and delayed swallow reflex we have been taking measures to make sure his food is cut smaller and he swallows in between his bites. Things have been going much better while he eats and now this momma doesn’t have to worry so much.
“This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. I’m by no means a doctor but a parent sharing their personal experiences.”