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Why is my child not chewing food?

Tuesday, 22 April 2003
Answered by: Satish Saluja
Consultant Neonatologist,
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital,
New Delhi
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Q. My son who is 3 years 7 months old does not know how to chew food. Due to this I cannot give him any solid food and end up giving him semi-solid food. The doctors whom I have consulted say that I should leave him without food for a few days and only then he will learn to eat solid food. But I find it difficult to do so, more so because his body resistance is bad and he has been falling sick quite often. Now he has started going to school and he comes back without eating anything except drinking milk. Some doctors say that I should not worry about his habit and that he will outgrow it, but I am worried. Please guide me as to what I should do?

A.  Your child may be having weakness or incoordination of muscles of chewing and swallowing, because of which he is able to take the liquids and cannot chew his solid food very well. If he is still taking milk feeds by bottle you should stop that and it may solve the problem to some extent. Otherwise get in touch with your paediatrician and an occupational therapist who would examine and if required suggest you some exercises for muscles of chewing and swallowing.

A.  Your child may be having weakness or incoordination of muscles of chewing and swallowing, because of which he is able to take the liquids and cannot chew his solid food very well. If he is still taking milk feeds by bottle you should stop that and it may solve the problem to some extent. Otherwise get in touch with your paediatrician and an occupational therapist who would examine and if required suggest you some exercises for muscles of chewing and swallowing.

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