What is craniofacial feeding management?

The Craniofacial Feeding Management team solves feeding problems in children with craniofacial disorders that change how the jaws and mouth work.

Most feeding problems relate to cleft lip and palate. We also help patients with small jaws, airway problems and other conditions that affect feeding.

Managing feeding problems early in your child’s life helps them gain weight and thrive.

Why choose Seattle Children’s for help managing feeding?

For more than 30 years, our team has identified, evaluated and managed a broad range of feeding problems in children with craniofacial conditions.

We are part of the Craniofacial Center, which has experts in every field your child needs. More than 50 specialists work together as a team to diagnose and care for our patients.

Services We Provide

Your child’s craniofacial pediatrician and nurse will evaluate your baby for problems with feeding or weight gain.

They will recommend a feeding plan with follow-up steps. If needed, the doctor will consult others on our Craniofacial Feeding Management team.

Our services include teaching parents new ways to feed their baby and using video X-rays to understand what happens when a baby is feeding.

Feeding instruction

Sometimes information is all that is needed to improve a feeding problem. We can help you learn about special bottles and show you other ways to feed your baby.

See tips on feeding babies with cleft lip and palate.

Feeding evaluation

Some babies benefit from a clinical feeding evaluation. A nurse or infant feeding specialist watches your baby feed and suggests ways to improve feeding. Changes might include holding your baby upright or supporting their cheek or jaw while feeding.

The nurse or feeding therapist may also listen with a stethoscope. This helps us understand how your baby swallows and how their swallowing coordinates with breathing.

Swallow study

Some babies need a swallow study using a moving X-ray. This is called a videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS). It helps us understand how your child is swallowing and what might be causing problems.

It also shows if milk is going into your baby’s lungs (aspirating). A speech pathologist assists with the study.

Who is on the Feeding Management team?

Our team includes craniofacial pediatricians, nurses, infant feeding specialists, dietitians and speech language pathologists. An infant feeding specialist may be an occupational therapist or physical therapist.

Read more about the Craniofacial Center’s team approach.

Contact Us

If your child needs help with feeding or gaining weight, call your craniofacial pediatrician. Your doctor will coordinate care from the Feeding Management team.

To make an appointment, you can call us directly at 206-987-2208.