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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Feeding Your Child

Your child's feeding time is a special time for sharing, interacting, and bonding. Children requiring oxygen often are difficult to feed and meals may take longer.

Feed your child in a quiet, relaxed environment. Your child may need frequent breaks during the meal. Position your child so that he or she is comfortable. Be patient and your child will soon establish a pattern for meals.

You may need to feed your child smaller, more frequent meals in order to allow him or her to get enough calories and rest. Talk to your child's doctor and dietitian about a prescribed diet.

Timing is important. If your child receives breathing treatments, chest physiotherapy (CPT), and/or suctioning, do the treatments approximately 30 minutes before a meal. This will allow your child time to recover and settle down before eating.

For infants, it is very important that you plan to feed him or her several times before you go home from the hospital. Work with your child's nurse or healthcare provider to establish a feeding schedule. Holding and interacting with your child during mealtime is crucial--particularly if your child is getting some of his or her feedings through a nasogastric tube. As the person interacting and monitoring your baby at home, it is important to establish a relationship as soon as possible.

Infants on oxygen need to be burped more often than other babies. They tend to suck more air into their tummies when eating. If your baby eats in a hurry, he or she may not finish the meal or may throw up. Burping also gives your child a chance to rest.