Infant and Child Feeding Clinic

Brisbane Infant and Child Feeding Clinic and Fussy Eating Clinic BROCHURE

Brisbane Feeding Clinic 

About Our Infant & Feeding Difficulties Clinic:

Feeding Difficulties can be a real concern for parents. Feeding our children is one of the most important jobs a parent can do! The constant worry your child is getting enough nutrition to grow and to be healthy can be very stressful. Constant battles every meal time can lead to both parents and children dreading mealtimes! Children frequently miss out socially if they don’t want to eat or can’t eat. It makes going to birthday parties, picnics, restaurants or family events very stressful.

Give us a call because we can help! Click our ENQUIRE BUTTON above and ask us a question or request a booking.

It is Important to find Therapists with real experience in the Feeding Area

Our Centre provides multi-disciplinary diagnostic assessment and therapy services because we know there are often complex issues at hand.  Services are available for babies and children. You will be talking to speech pathologists with extensive feeding experience at the clinic. Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD leads the team.

Dr McMahon has:
  1. Obtained noteworthy experience as the Director of Speech Pathology at a major city children’s hospital working in leading feeding clinics – neonatal units to outpatient clinics.
  2. Experience in the assessment and treatment of newborns to school age children (breast, bottle, transition to solid, sensory concerns)
  3. Extensive experience with many underlying issues causing feeding difficulties – Autism, fussy eating, Sensory issues, PEG and nasogastric feeding (tube feeding), medical conditions, reflux, premature births
  4. Was a lecturer at University including in the area of feeding difficulties
  5. Has completed & published orginal research in the areas of feeding development and feeding difficulties
  6. Supervises PhD and Masters students completing research in the areas of feeding difficulties in children
  7. Her high standing is demonstrated by the fact that she is a frequent invited speak at professional conferences in the areas of feeding difficulties (e.g., RISA conferences).

What therapists will I see?

We have Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Child Psychologist on site with extremely close links with Dietitians and Paediatricians and specialists (Ear, Nose and Throat specialists, Gastroenterologists, Respiratory and Pulmonary Specialists, lactation consultants). This ensures we provide a wholistic approach. The first session is frequently a joint session with the Occupational Therapist and Speech Pathologist. Alternatively a family will first see either the Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist and team meetings are then held to assist in treatment programming. Issues such as the presence of lip and/or tongue-tie will be assessed and managed from a team perspective.

Who Can We HELP:

We work with children from newborn to 18 years that have feeding and eating concerns. Our goal is your goal. Ensuring  a child is taking in adequate nutrition for growth and learning in an unstressful environment is the aim. Some of the children we see are under weight. Some have weight appropriate for their age and some are over weight. However if eating meals is stressful for the whole family support for eating may be required. Children might look like they are a good weight but help may be needed if there are gaps in their nutrition (e.g., limited protein).  What ever the problem, the key factor is to determine whether your child is consuming the quantity, range of foods and textures needed to obtain all their nutritional requirements.

We can help with:
  • Babies who are having difficulties achieving growth milestones
  • Difficulties breast and/or  bottle feeding
  • Infants having difficulties co-ordinating their breathing and sucking and swallowing (e.g, coughing, choking, milk loss, continually pulling off & difficulties attaching)
  • Children failing to thrive (FTT) – dangerously too low a weight for them to maintain health and growth
  • Babies and children that gag and/or vomit excessively during breast/ bottle feeding and eating solid foods
  • Toddlers that are “stuck” on smooth /puree foods and refusing lumps in their food – poor transition to solid stages of eating
  • Challenging behaviours during mealtimes and causing stress for themselves and their parents
  • Mealtimes that are taking longer than 30 minutes or children that will only graze and not eat “meal-time” meals
  • Fussy Eaters – children that are picky on what they will eat and have a limited range of foods they will accept
  • Children with sensory difficulties and do not like the feel of food on their hands or face. They may only want white foods for example. Some will only want foods presented in “special ways” (e.,g toast cut in triangles but not squares).
  • Difficulties weaning from breast or bottle feeding. Some children will only breast feed making it difficult for people other than Mum to mind the baby. This can be difficult for mothers to get to appointments or to return to work
  • Poor chewing skills and motor movement problems
  • We see children with medically complex concerns that are impacting on their feeding skills –  respiratory, heart issues, children with cancers
  • Tube weaning – naso-gastric and PEG weaning
  • Babies and children with medical, physical or neurological conditions affecting their feeding (eg. Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, specific genetic conditions)
  • Children with Autism with limited food chooses and difficult eating routines
  • Babies and Children with a history of Reflux or allergies

Individual or Group  Services for children with feeding issues. Contact us for details about our individual and group  feeding therapy.

We can provide either individual or group services. We use a range of approaches including SOS and structured approaches. This decision is made on a case by case basis in conjunction with the family. 

Not in Brisbane? Ask about our Telemedicine Options for Feeding Difficulties.

Call us as we can do intensive feeding blocks and/or Skype support for families!


Feeding Milestones of Children 0 – 36 months:

When asked about a child’s milestones, parents often think about when they sat, crawled or walked. Learning to eat however also follows milestone steps. Cognitive development of the brain is closely linked to feeding skill development.

There are developmental steps that

  1. Relate to the child’s understanding and involvement in the feeding process, AND
  2. Steps that relate to the muscle movements and development over time to allow them to try and chew new foods and textures.



What should my child be eating at 0 to 3 Months:

3 month bottle feeding

Help for Bottle & Breast Feeding Difficulties

Child’s Role: To begin to organise themselves to make feeding accessible. Babies first establish sleep patterns & periods of alertness. The child will determine HOW MUCH feed they will take.

Parent’s Role: To read the babies hunger cues and help them to organise themselves in to sleep and eat patterns.  Parent’s determine WHAT the child is fed (breast, bottle, combination of these).

What should my child be eating at 4 to 7 Months:

Child’s Role: Give and take in the feeding interaction begins as parent’s learn to read the babies needs correctly, the baby in response learns to respond to the parent’s behaviours – e.g., children recognises it dinner time as the carer sets up highchairs or prepares food in the kitchen. To learn about how spoons feel in the mouth and how to take food off the spoon. Babies are still in control of HOW much they will take. Babies need for food is triggered by CALORIE set points – they know nothing about volume i.e., they may not finish the last mouthful in the bowl as they do not see finishing the bowl as the “goal”!

Parent’s Role: Determine WHEN and WHAT solids are introduced during this period. Reading babies cues for spoon presentation timing and “had enough” cues.


fussy eater

Call for Help with Difficuties with Transitioning to Spoon or Finger foods or Gagging on Lumpy Foods

What should my child be eating at 8 to 14 Months:

Child’s Role: This is when babies often start crawling and extending their physical distance from their parents. Their role is to explore the world and to manage their anxiety of becoming more independent. Children will control HOW MUCH and WHETHER to eat. A sense of “self” is emerging at this age and hence they can begin to establish that they can indicate “I don’t want it”. Taste buds are also developing and changing at this age so they may become less interested in baby foods.

Parent’s Role: Encourage their new interest in independence including trying to self-feed and exploration of foods (messy play and eating with food). WHILE this is happening parents need to provide structure or feeding routines and establish safe boundaries as the child wants to explore new foods.  Parent controls WHAT and WHERE the child eats. Establish a happy eating environment where the child is keen to try to feed themselves.  It is OK to dual feed with you also having a spoon. This is important if you need to suppport their nutritional needs. Co-feeding can be fun and a great social experience.

 What should my child be eating at 16 to 18 Months:

Child’s Role: Willingness to try new tastes and textures and to understand the changes in their taste perceptions. Increased desire to feed themselves.

Parent’s Role:  Continue to slowly vary textures and range of foods and range of tastes to give the child varied food experiences.

 What should my child be eating at 18 to 30 Months:

Child’s Role: To manage their own feelings towards foods and manage non-ideal feeding experiences in order to reduce gag and not worry about it if they do. At about 2 years of age children are becoming more aware of their environment and hence “fears” of new foods can emerge – they may show a preference for familiar or preferred foods. This happens because their cognitive development, their speech and language has a boom and their sensory skills are also having a boost – they are learning that they can “think” and “express” what they want or don’t want.

Parent’s Role:  To avoid power struggles from developing by maintaining a positive interaction. To understand the child may not be being naughty for not eating but that they are trying to manage all the new thoughts and sensations around the mealtime experience. Parents need to coach and use words about the foods so the child begins to understand about the new foods. In this way the child can “learn” about them because the parent’s role is more like a coach telling them the things they are doing good. The “coach” encourages their willingness to try to eat eat foods offered and to maintain routines to help the child have boundaries.

Have any feeding Questions?

Click our ENQUIRE button above and ask a question. A qualified Speech Pathologist will personally reply within 24 hours. Click our BOOK APPOINTMENT button below if you would like to stop being stressed about feeding and meals for you child.