Neonatal - Infant Feeding

The Neonatal and Infant Feeder Program is designed to improve an infant’s quality of life. The program’s emphasis is placed on parent and caregiver education and the development of personalized feeding management strategies.

Teaching medically fragile newborns to meet nutritional needs through oral intake is fundamental for a lifetime of positive eating experiences. Developing appropriate pathways to feeding skills early on is important to maximize potential for oral feeding development. The ultimate goal of our Neonatal and Infant Feeder Program is to safely meet each infant’s feeding potential, while working to reduce caregiver stress and anxiety, in order to produce long-term pleasurable feeding experiences.

Inpatient Services Include:

  • Pre-admission screening by nurse liaison upon referral
  • Comprehensive interdisciplinary evaluation upon admission
  • Referrals for diagnostic studies as needed which may include: modified barium swallow studies, radiologic motility testing, allergy testing
  • A structured feeding program custom-tailored to your child’s needs
  • Developmentally-based, infant-driven perspective
  • Development of family-centered goals
  • Hands-on family and caregiver education and training
  • Feeding therapy with staff members who have advanced training and expertise in feeding techniques and strategies

Characteristics of a Feeding Disorder

We treat children with feeding disorders, gastrointestinal issues and congenital anomalies including, but not limited to:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Prematurity
  • Cleft lip and/or palate
  • Oral and/or pharyngeal dysphagia
  • Aversion to food textures
  • Food refusal (sensory or behavioral)
  • Difficulty advancing to age-appropriate food textures
  • Gagging, coughing or choking
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis
  • Short gut syndrome/Gastroeschesis
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux disorders
  • Children who have experienced multiple surgeries resulting in a feeding or swallowing disorder
  • Children who have not made adequate progress in outpatient programs

Feeding Therapy

Feeding therapy is coordinated with the patient’s family, referring physician and our inpatient multidisciplinary team. Feeding therapy, during feeding and/or non-feeding times, may focus on some or all of the following:

  • Appropriate selection of infant specific bottles and nipples
  • Recommendations for nutrition, positioning and use of compensatory strategies to optimize the bottle and/or breastfeeding experience for both the caregiver and infant
  • Diet modifications to ensure safety and advancement in textures, volume and/or variety of foods accepted
  • Exploring the infant’s sensory preferences for development of strategies to meet sensory needs
  • Feeding team comprised of professionals trained in the Beckman Oral Motor Program, Vital Stim and SOS Approach to Feeding

Read an inspiring patient story of toddler, Xander's journey to thrive in Good Shepherd's inpatient feeding program.


Good Shepherd RehabilitationHospital Pediatric Unit
2855 Schoenersville Rd.
Bethlehem, PA 18017

Phone: 610-807-4200

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