Stories about: Center for Airway Disorders

Answers to parents’ biggest questions about feeding and swallowing concerns

Baby transitions from bottle to solid foods

Most kids have experienced challenges with food at some point, whether that means eschewing veggies or refusing anything but chicken nuggets and pizza. But for children with airway disorders and other conditions that affect chewing or swallowing, mealtime isn’t just frustrating. It can be uncomfortable — and even dangerous.

If your child is experiencing difficulty drinking or eating, or is aspirating, your first step should be to make an appointment for a clinical evaluation, says Kathryn Davidson, a speech-language pathologist in the Feeding and Swallowing Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Depending on the results, your child’s clinician will likely recommend certain strategies to make mealtime more palatable. Here, Davidson answers some questions for parents of kids with feeding and swallowing challenges.

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Solving the mystery of a shapeshifting neck tumor

Jaedin, who had a cervical teratoma, is now 10 years old. He is pictured with a remote-controlled race car this past Christmas.
Jaedin, 10 years old, holds the control for a remote-controlled race car, Christmas 2017.

Amanda Brown couldn’t shake an uneasy intuition that something just seemed “off” throughout her second pregnancy. During a scheduled caesarian section at her local hospital in North Carolina, her instinct proved to be true.

“I had given birth to my first son by C-section so I knew what to expect,” Amanda says. “But this time around, as the surgeons totally stalled in the middle of the delivery, I thought to myself, ‘it doesn’t take this long to pull a baby out.’”

When her son Jaedin was finally delivered, Amanda and her husband were shocked by their first sight of him.

“Jaedin had a huge mass on the left side of his neck that looked like it was growing out of his ear,” Amanda says. “The doctors told us they didn’t know what the mass was and that they would have to take him to a nearby children’s hospital right away.”

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Taking on the world: Lonnie Lu’s experience with laryngeal cleft

laryngeal cleft repair
Lonnie Lu and her mom at Boston Children’s Center for Airway Disorders.

Not every little girl gets a visit from a Disney princess on her birthday, but Lonnie Lu received just such a surprise when Princess Elena stopped by her party last month. Her admiration may go beyond a love of colorful dresses. Minus one evil sorceress and an enchanted kingdom, the character’s tale of strength and resilience might as well be Lonnie Lu’s story, too.

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An ocean away: Care for laryngeal cleft brings Clara to Boston

clara laryngeal cleft repair

My husband, Duncan, and I were living in London, England, when Clara was born. Although my pregnancy had started out like any other, I later developed severe polyhydramnios, an accumulation of amniotic fluid that can sometimes indicate the presence of certain congenital issues.

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