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Parental feeding concerns of infants and young children with oesophageal atresia

Aim: Feeding problems have been described in young children with oesophageal atresia (OA). The primary aim of this study was to determine the specific concerns of parents and carers of infants and young children with OA regarding introducing solids and moving up to family foods.

Methods: A questionnaire was developed for parents and carers of infants and children with OA, aged 12 months to 6 years. Questionnaires were completed by 20 parents attending a multidisciplinary OA clinic between June 2016 and June 2017. Demographics and parental concern regarding feeding milestones were collected. The Montreal Children's Hospital Feeding Scale was completed.

Results: The majority of children (95%) had type C OA. Eleven (55%) parents agreed/strongly agreed that they were concerned about their child's feeding prior to the introduction of solids and about moving to more textured solids. The most common concern was choking and food impaction for both time points. Twelve (60%) parents agreed/strongly agreed that the majority of mealtimes in their child's first 1-2 years of life were stressful. Thirteen (65%) parents reported avoiding particular foods due to their child's OA. The majority of children (n = 17) had no feeding difficulty according to an objective scale, and the rest had minor difficulty.

Conclusions: Parental concern around feeding still exists in infants and children without a severe feeding difficulty. Multidisciplinary involvement, including a dietitian and speech pathologist, from an early age is important for infants and children with OA.

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Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health
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